Post 1000

I was going to try to write something special for this thousandth post, but actually my head is full of writing that isn’t really appropriate. I’m currently working on something that won’t be out for a year, that I can’t seralise here, and that I can’t talk about yet. I’m also planning my post on Saturday’s Doctor Who for Mindless Ones and the post I’m going to do tomorrow here on the Surf’s Up album, and various other things of that nature. Nothing life-changing.

Then I thought about doing some grand summing-up of all my posts to date, perhaps paraphrasing Orwell and saying “Every line of serious work that I have written since 2008 has been written, directly or indirectly, against closed systems of thought and for freedom and openness, as I understand it.” — except that judging from the stats for the most popular posts on this blog, most readers either come to the blog looking for a jpeg of the Sgt Pepper album cover or they just like it when I swear.

I get very depressed when I think of that kind of thing. Assuming that each post took an average of two hours, that’s 2000 hours I’ve spent writing on here — eighty-three days out of the last four years, when to a first approximation I could just have written a single post, titled Batman, consisting of the words “pee po belly bum drawers” and a scan of a Beatles album cover, and I’d have had roughly 90% of the traffic I’ve had.

But the odd thing is, this blog *has* made a difference, usually when I’ve thought it hasn’t. A couple of people have told me that they’ve taken part in the AV campaign or No2ID because of things I’ve said here, even when those posts have been unpopular. One of the writers in the new collection of Faction Paradox stories out this month only became interested in Faction Paradox after reading one of my posts. A friend (I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about this publicly, so I’m being vague) has written a (wonderful) novel based around one of my non-fiction books. I’ve been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, appeared on Radio Ulster, and been quoted on the back of a collection of one of my favourite comics.

None of which is said to be self-aggrandising. I’m under no illusions about the importance or influence of this blog. To an extent I’ve actively sabotaged chances at becoming an ‘influential blogger’ by doing things like having a massively public stroppy falling out with Sunny Hundal and quitting Liberal Conspiracy, or turning down Rich Johnston’s offer to write for Bleeding Cool. Influence wouldn’t suit me, and the few times a large number of new readers have come to this blog have usually been those times I’ve been most stressed and felt like quitting.

But somehow, some of what I’ve written has actually mattered to some people. And so I suppose, since I feel obliged to try to say something pompous and so on for this post, I’ll say this: If you’re doing something because it’s what you genuinely think you should be doing, whether it’s writing, or activism, or playing music, or proving mathematical theorems, or *anything*… if you’re doing it not to make money, or for peer approval (even though those things are nice), it’ll matter to *someone*.

Sorry for this, anyway. No more posts along these lines until post 2000.

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13 Responses to Post 1000

  1. lucidfrenzy says:

    “most readers either come to the blog looking for a jpeg of the Sgt Pepper album cover or they just like it when I swear.’

    It’s like you’re reading my mind, man!

  2. Hal says:

    Well, I *liked* what you wrote at the end, Andrew – and c’mon I know you can be more pompous than that… (*joking*!) As for “influence” well it’s *over-rated*, consider some of the more popular sites and magazines out there like, say, uhrm, the world’s best-selling SF magazine SFX (I was going to make a snotty remark about Doctor Who Magazine but there are a few things I enjoy about it…apart from the Stalinist aspects or the things that drive me up the proverbial wall, that is) they aren’t to my mind (insert joke here) arguments for the infallibility or utility of popularity or “influence”. I guess what I’m trying to say is it’s uh “not the size that counts”. As you say your dedication and investment attracts people’s interest, no, you may not have a huge number of visitors – compared to some – but many of those you do have appreciate your work and have interesting opinions of their own which is better than attracting the attentions of dunderheads, no? If you’ll permit me to drivel on a little longer (sorry, you know brevity isn’t among my gifts – which suggests witlessness *is*. Bugger), just taking a spin around the web illustrates that *some* of those more popular sites harbour quite a lot of nastiness if you happen to speak out against a consensus view, it’s particularly odd to see that annoying term “troll” thrown around by those who actually seem definitively “trollish”. Be glad that you’ve created a pretty open-minded weblog that also has no time for such b.s. Woo-(as they say)Hoo!

    • Thanks. Probably the thing about this blog that I’m proudest of is that while there are relatively few comments, the ones that there are are mostly intelligent and civil, and that’s partly because of the way I moderate it (I block people relatively quickly if they are abusive to other commenters — my site, my rules) but also because the people who do stick around tend to be thoughtful people.

    • Tilt Araiza says:

      What are the Stalinist aspects of DWM?

  3. Hal says:

    Well, I was being a little naughty there just throwing out the word Stalinist (as far as I know there’ve been no DWM-directed purges :)) but those aspects basically the parotting of Moffat’s (and prior to him, RTD’s) views as if they are law and the explicit statement in editorial that any negative criticism is bad or odd (you can see why Moffat might say that, though it’s silly opposing views should be able to peacefully co-exist). That kind of stuff really gets me in a state of eye-rolling annoyance, I don’t think it’s healthy, and I don’t see the point of repressively and pre-emptively shutting down any criticism as that’s just petty. But as I said above, there’s interesting stuff too!

  4. plok says:

    It’s still a beautiful cover, isn’t it?

    “Sabotage” makes me think. To turn aside from the moves one might make in pursuit of being an influence, to turn aside from the moves one might make if all one did was calculate one’s career…maybe it isn’t virtue in and of itself, but I think, from my own personal experiences, that it does have odd compensations in that general area. Who will find tracks of influence that no one looks for, except the person who sabotages his chances of exploiting the ones that everybody does look for? Blogs are very interesting readership-attractors, the audience self-selects fast, and none of us knows exactly how they do it…very fringey stuff, but it’s cheap and it works in a hurry…and the world of influential supernodes in this net starts to look very dull by comparison. The knots in the net are only there to connect the ropes, maybe? But if you once become a knot then you think the ropes are only there to connect the knots…

    …Which is a pretty lousy theory of net-making, cute as it may be. So “influential blogger” probably only means anything different from “non-influential blogger” in that the named thing influence can be subjected to a process of capitalization…wherein the name is made more important than the thing it’s naming.

    None of us should really expect not to make some difference to someone somehow…hmm, unless “influential” is what we are? Perhaps some people do have their minds changed by something Piers Morgan or someone says, somehow, but it seems a bit like that game’s rigged against such outcomes just by the fact of people being in it…

    Oh crap, that really is the time!

    Damn.

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