Thursday, December 30, 2004

Blogging Reasons and Lessons

Everyone has their own reasons for blogging, although some may think that they don't - it's just that they're not very introspective. I suppose most people have the typical reasons for blogging, ranging from a personal diary replacement to a popularity-garnering scheme, a personal knowledge management tool to a public information service, and so on.

Since I'm quite a "different" kind of guy ("weirdo", as some say), I had other things in mind when I started this blog. Most basic of them is that I wanted to learn certain things about blogging, particularly "public" blogging.

Here are some of the reasons for this blog, as well as some fo the things I've learnt from this blog:

1. I wanted to prove to myself (and perhaps others) that a blog on something as mundane as life in an average institution in a "boring" country could actually be interesting, if the blogger is observant and writes well. I even came up with an extremely unattractive and unsophisticated title to add to the challenge, as you can see (ok I admit that Bill Clinton's autobiography title, My Life, is worse).

I think I've proven the point.

2. I wanted to find out how easy or difficult it is for a good blog to break into the blogging scene and become famous, and how meritocratic (not the Singapore hypocritic meritocracy) the blogosphere is.

I started off ambitious, hoping to break into the international blogging scene, but I soon figured that it was a lot easier to connect with a local reader. This was reinforced as my earliest loyal readers (commenters) were local. I'm thinking of people like Eddy (Bubblemunche), Gerome (Zenith), and Melissa.

It would take a lot more time and talent to reach international fame, and I suspect that I lack enough of the latter, and, who knows, death might keep me from having the former.

I don't consider this blog as famous, not even locally, I think found the answer I was looking for: it's really not that difficult to have a moderately sizable audience (I'm talking about over 100 unique visitors every day), provided that the blog is good.

But even if you have an interesting blog, you probably would need some help to get an audience, especially if you want to attain fame in a short time.

This blog owes a great deal to adri (popaghandi) who was probably the first to blogroll me. It helps that she's one of the top Singapore bloggers (you have to follow her blog for a while before you start to realise her magnetism, but by then it's too late to stop - La belle Dame sans merci Hath thee in thrall!).

I'm also indebted to well-known bloggers like re-minisce, mr miyagi, indian stallion, beautifuk, la idler who have either mentioned me or put me on their blogrolls. I even got hit by a link from mr brown, which almost tripled my daily hits for a couple of days. And I'm still secretly hoping to get hit by a xiaxue tsunami. By the way, I find xiaxue delightfully ravishing in her edited beauty. (They say that flattery can go a long way.)

There are many more of you I want to mention (ningx, claris, germaine, FF, fat fingers, dollie, etc. etc. etc.), but I realise I'd better stop or I'll never be done with this post (anyway many of you are on my blogroll).

3. I wanted to rant about some of the stupendously stupid things that go on in NP. Like how the homepage still sucks (they just put up a new one with frames) and they should hire someone who actually knows what's going on on the web. Or like how the NP Lifestyle Library is so freakin' hot in the afternoons. Nothing to do with hot babes - they use lousy airconditioning. Or how, when it pours, everyone gets wet on the top level of 56 - the newly-designed-and-constructed-multimilliondollar block 56. I really have lots more to rant about (being observant makes you notice all the warts), but I have a feeling that it wouldn't make a whit of difference, except that I may get into a lot of trouble (I know one guy from NP who got into trouble because of his blog).

4. I wanted a platform to pursue some of my extra-curricular academic interests. I'm interested in sociology and anthropology, and this blog has helped me to learn a lot about the sociological aspects of blogging. This blog is also my attempt at doing anthropological "fieldwork" - it's one thing to observe a community from a distance, it's quite another to learn by being a part of it.

Another of my interests is in the area of hermeneutics (basically the study of textual interpretation). This is why a few portions of my writings were deliberately vague (you probably didn't notice); I wanted to see how they were being interpreted. And your comments were crucial in my learning.

I still have a few other reasons, mostly minor ones, so I think I'll stop here. All that linking to your blogs has worn me out.

How's that for an excuse? =)

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