August 23rd, 2006
Confessions of a sex addict, diaries of a housewife, true stories of life in Baghdad. Where will we find the time to read all the blogs that all the other people find the time to write?
I am just getting to grips with the business of creating pages and writing links on a new community website I am helping to create. Seems like I am making progress and I take a little comfort from watching the words grow. Then I learn my MP has started to write his blog and I feel completely inadequate again.
Admittedly parliament is on holiday which might create a little space in the average politician’s diary. But Mark Lazarowicz is a father of four and the extremely active MP for Edinburgh North and Leith. He has campaigned for a ceasefire in Lebanon and against the use of air guns in the UK. He vigorously supports just about every right-on cause you could mention and his climate change bill has recently gained support for a renewable energy scheme that might actually make a difference to quality of life in some of our more deprived inner city areas – as well as reducing carbon emissions in the UK.
Now, somehow, he finds time to write about big issues such as Lebanon and smaller ones like funding for his local adventure playground. In between he makes a few astute comments on the challenges facing the new leader of the Labour Group on Edinburgh City Council. Some days he finds time to post more than one blog.
And there was me thinking I would be doing well if I could manage one blog a month. That’s if I get over the self-consciousness about doing it at all.
There is something peculiar about the blog and the fact that so many of us are doing it. I can’t resolve the feeling that sharing all this information is both very generous and extremely self-indulgent; a great source of information and an extraordinary waste of time.
Who is reading all this stuff? I feel an odd tremor of excitement putting anything at all up on my website, equally reassured by the thought that no-one is likely to read it and stimulated by the possibility that someone might. I am fascinated by an infinity of reflections in the new media now being reflected back by the old media. So the Guardian newspaper carries a daily digest of bloggers commenting on the big news of the day and in turn directs us back to the Guardian online. Jon Snow not only reads the news, he sends viewers emails to remind them to tune into Chanel 4 news tonight – and you can catch his blogs and podcasts on the Chanel 4 website.
And of course it’s not just for the bigger names. There are people I have never heard of who become celebrities by launching their thoughts and deeds into the ether. As well as the truly gripping diaries of suffering in Baghdad or Kabul you can follow confessions of a sex-addict who has just acquired a new cult following (yes, cult) or learn from the US housewife who became a best-selling writer on the basis of her website offering advice on how to clean the house.
So I envy Mark for having the ability, energy and conviction that it takes to write a regular blog worth reading. But most of all for making the time to do it.