I’ve rather been thinking about what I was talking about yesterday, when I discussed the numbers game, ‘the Pistorius effect’. I’ve been thinking about how a blogger like me attracts new readers and then keeps them.
I realised that a lot of bloggers simply aren’t bloggers like me.
I guess that a lot of bloggers blog for reasons to do with exposure and business. They blog, in short, to optimise their earnings. I suppose, to some degree, I blog to empty my head of random thoughts, to have a good clear-out so that I can fully concentrate on the serious writing that I do for the majority of my working hours. I blog to share. I blog to get stuff off my chest, and, yes, I blog for flow. I blog to put myself in the public eye so that when I have stock to shift, I have an ongoing presence in the public consciousness. OK, perhaps it’s not a very big presence, but it’s there, and that’s fine by me.
My blog is not a huge business investment.
My feeling is that the bigger the investment, the narrower the opportunity to really express oneself.
My point, I think, is that if I was aiming to be popular, then I’m probably going about it all the wrong way. If I was aiming to be popular the last thing I’d do is air my uncensored opinions on the internet.
You see, it would be foolish of me to think that the vast majority of people are going to agree with me on any subject. I know this, because I know how strangely people look at me when I offer my opinions or when I question theirs in conversation.
I am not one of those people who finds it easy to nod and smile when I disagree with what someone is saying, even in polite company, and it has got me in trouble any number of times over the years, in all kinds of situations. Honestly, and I can’t believe I’m admitting this, it has got me thrown out of places. On one memorable occasion, my inability to shut up on the subject of the racist tenor of the conversation that was taking place over a lunch table got me ejected from the party. One of the women at that table was Asian. To this day, I have no idea why she stayed.
The thing is, I’m not going to espouse the majority view in order to make myself more acceptable to a broader audience. If you come here and you happen to agree with me, and that’s what you want from a blog, great. If you come here and you happen to disagree with me, and you enjoy the discourse, great; I totally respect that.
I’d just end up despising myself if I started to try to think like someone I’m not, and if I started to try to work out what people wanted to hear, and give it to them. That only reinforces belief in the things I don’t believe in. Of course, it’s patronising too, and totally dishonest on my part. I realise the haters are going to hate; let’s not pretend otherwise, but, so what?
I met Stewart Lee for the first time a couple of weeks ago. He was at college with the husband, who has spoken of him often over the years. The husband always liked Stewart, considered him to be an honest man of real integrity, a gentle, clever man. I thought so, too. Go and watch any of his work. There is a very good reason why he tends to play small venues and why he seldom works in television. Listen to him on any subject. Listen to him on the subject of those acts that play the bigger stadiums. He’s forthright on the subject, and apposite, and he puts it all rather better than I do.
All I’m doing is blogging. Some people live by their principles. Listen to one of them if for no other reason than because he’s also very, very funny.