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14 April 2005

Me, My Blog & I - The Road Ahead

Welcome to the final segment of Me, My Blog & I. In my earlier 2 parts, I talked about how I got to what I am today as far as the blog is concerned (Me, My Blog & I - The Road Up To Now) and what is the current status of my blog (Me, My Blog & I - Crossroads).

I do apologise if this last segment took so long but it is the hardest to write in order for it to make all 3 parts make sense as one. I breezed through the first two only to find myself painted into a corner with the third. Almost like an author who couldn't create the ending to his novel.

Before I start this proper, perhaps I need to address some of the issues left behind in Part 2 before I can move on.

Re: 1) The Thought Tweaker (TT)Earlier, I mentioned that all the author do is write whatever he/she is interested in. I also further mentioned that the extreme TT does not make any sense and here's where KnightOfPentacles come in with his earlier comment pointing out my error. In a nutshell, he was right to question what is wrong being an extreme TT? After all, shouldn't a blog be a place where we express our very own thoughts? If this is not extreme Thought Tweaking, then what is?

So to KnightOfPentacles, you are right on this one. Perhaps a re-adjustment of the Matrix is in order. I guess this boils down to my failure to express my original thoughts clearly and accurately. Maybe if I cite myself as an example, then perhaps it would shed a bit more light as to what was I really trying to say?

For those who have been following me since day 1 and those who have taken the time to track through my archives, I thank you for reading. You would have realised that all I did was write about football, football and more football. I wrote my own pre-game outlook, post-game analysis, draw charts and update tables. The works, the bacon bits, the sour cream, the spring onions, all in.

While I can say that my readership was never a zero, those that followed my footie stuff were already there when I was doing it via emailing list, way before I discovered blogging. What bugs me is that discounting those on my mailing list (who were my friends anyway), my readership these 18 months at Blog-City yielded nobody. Like I said, there were passer-bys here and there but none really did stay for long.

I will come back to this later but anyone knows what I am saying so far?

So looking back, I guess the term The Thought Tweaker was wrongly used. Perhaps The Topic Academic (TA) would have been more appropriate?

Let's define the TA. The Topic Academic is one who write about his pet topic extensively with a lot of energy put in it. The Extreme TA is one who write his/her thoughts on a certain pet topic with such intensity that he/she ignores if any of his/her readers would be able to understand/appreciate it, resulting in the author isolating him/herself as his/her readers are gradually turned away.

Now here's the single arguement that would shred this to pieces in an instant. With the cyberspace so vast, there will always be somebody out there who would be interested in your topic, no matter how isolating it may be. Very likely, on the same token of the vastness of the cyberspace, that these "somebody" may never have the opportunity to chance upon your blog.

Take mine for example. As I have said, nobody really comes to my blog as I wrote, wrote and wrote football for the past 18 months. Now I ask myself this, does that mean that I am the only one in the world that is interested in football? Of course not!

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let's move on.

Where Do I Want To Go?

1.1) The Topic Academic (TA)
I am definitely going to carry on writing about football in the future. However, there is a few things that I would like to change and that is to tone it down a notch and also to make an effort to accommodate more people by covering topics that are more general in nature. I think I am (or I have since began last month) to write about life itself and the journey that it takes me. I would also like to write a bit of my experience as an expat in Ch1na, posting photos whenever I can so that everyone can get to know the place where I ply my trade better.

Dave Barry is an writer whom I modeled my writing after. I have always subscribed to the old saying "Laughter Is The Best Medicine". As such, I have always try to make it a point to make my pieces as light-hearted as possible (this would be the exception though). Why? Perhaps it is in the self-serving interest that it makes me happy to know that my article brought a smile to the face of somebody out there. So I guess, if anyone out there who enjoyed reading my piece, drop me a note to let me know. It will motivate me to do better and do more.

On the same token, for those whose writing has had me in stitches like mrbrown, Sheena, WonkyTong, AhDokBoy, Silly Celly and several others, I thank you too.

2) The News Reader (NR)
This is something that I probably would like to avoid. I don't see the point of rehashing the news on your own blog, while adding insult to injury by not putting any personal views into it. The media out there are already doing an excellent job and so whatever the NR is doing is kinda of redundant right?

So for me, if got nothing to say, I rather shut up and write about something else. Replicating something wholesale and putting it up on your blog is a bit like plagiarism. Yes? No? Besides, the media won't thank you for helping them rebroadcast.

In short, you will see me quoting the news and/or media only if I had something to add to it.

The thing is, that I am (or at least I wish to be) a purist at heart and I strongly feel that a blog must have the soul of the author in it.

3) The Bean Counter (BC)
As the saying goes,

"Build the perfect mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door."

That was my "mission statement" when I started Blog-City. I wrote sundry and all about football, with my thoughts in it so as to make it unique. I was hoping to get people to know me through football and to differentiate from the usual editorials on Soccernet, Soccerway, Goal, etc. I do get visitor hits here and there (about 2000 in the past 12 months). I know it's quite pathetic but I was ok with it even though I am not sure how many were accounted by my friends from the old emailing list days. What hit me hardest is the less-than 10 comments in the entire year that was most humbling and demoralising. As I have mentioned in the earlier part of the trilogy(!), it is akin to facing the thunderous silence after shouting your lungs off at the echo valley.

Bean CounterI guess it was naive of me to assume that if I keep on bulldozing my writing, people will eventually hop onto my train of thought and I could bring them to places that I would want them to go with me. While I am not saying that I should only be writing what other people wants to read, what I am really saying that perhaps I should adopt a more embracing approach that could engage the audience-at-large. I would still want to write about my stuff and what's on my mind but perhaps I should also leave room to accommodate participation.

Here's my new mission statement.

"Your audience is your friend. Put a smile on it."

Again, I don't advocate whoring yourself for the sake of attracting hits although I must admit writing solely on your own stamina can only take you so far. It is like the first tankful of gas when you collect the rental car. For me, the audience's response in my fuel to keep me going. It is the sustenance that prevents me from starving. However, I need to remind myself to not to lose my own identity.

As Anna has mentioned in my comments in Part 2,

"I don't really know where to place myself on your 3 categories. Definitely a conscious low for BC. I told myself not to get carried away with number counts. Of course, it's nice to have people affirm your writing. But if I base my writing on what pple want to hear, then I may not write truthfully. Besides, I'm not about to become an ace journalist with a target audience. (I don't even know who my target audience is.)
 
My objective of blogging is having an outlet for my offbeat humor, a community to share thoughts, and trying my hands at writing."

For me, I take a similar yet somewhat different approach. Granted that I too want this to be a place where I can share my thoughts but I also want it to be more engaging as my way of saying thanks to those who read my blog. In other words, this may be my house, but I still want my guest to feel comfortable and welcomed.

One final word. So now I have said how I want to approach my blogging but that doesn't mean that the alternative methods are bad and/or wrong. It simply means that the alternatives are just not my style. I may take it at the next crossroad but for now, this is my new locale in the matrix. 50% TA, 25% NR, 25% BC.

Footnote 1 --> I believe that there are as many be folks who agree with me as well as folks who thinks otherwise. I would like to hear what you have to say and hopefully, I can learn something from it.

Footnote 2 --> To the following people, thanks for your input. --> KnightOfPentacles, WonkyTong and Ah 9.

Quick Link: Me, My Blog & I - The Road Up To Now (Part 1 of 3)

Quick Link: Me, My Blog & I - Crossroads (Part 2 of 3)

Image Credit: http://www.ephrononmedia.com

- Voxeros

1. a reader left...
Thursday, 14 April 2005 3:11 am
I still don't know what category my blog belongs in, but it's good to know I can make you laugh. =D

And BTW, I'm a CHIJ girl too.

Merenwen
2. a reader left...
Thursday, 14 April 2005 7:09 am
Frankly, I don't think it's possible to category your writings or thoughts so easily into TA, NR or BC.

When I have something to write, I just write it down. Don't really think about TA, or BC. After that, I read through the piece, will not publish yet. Sometimes, if a piece is too controversial or too one-sided, I may sit on it for a day or two. Basically, give it more thought to see if it will be misread.

Sometimes, you may be compulsed to write something, but realized that the writings don't make much sense.

anna
3. JayWalk left...
Thursday, 14 April 2005 1:26 pm
Sheena: IJ Toa Payoh indeed! Your blog is one of the funny ones except for the occasional rant. You are one funny cookie.

Anna: You know what, you may be right. Perhaps I was just trying to put some logic into the traits of a blog. Everything also must have logic. Typical bloke thing hor?

And also guess what? Isn't this one of those blog where you felt compulsed to write it but realised that the writings don't make much sense?

Well, I think I am just going to leave it up there and hopefully someone would be able to get it?

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