Getting over a blogging breakdown

Dear Blog, 

I’m sorry I’ve been away; it’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I have had very little to say for myself and you, Blog, are partly to blame for that.
You see, when I first hooked up with you and gave you your name, I also saddled you with a mission statement – the rather ponderous
Thoughts on changing times for journalism and newspapers that still sits just beneath your title today (although that may change soon). And lately I haven’t had many thoughts about journalism or newspapers, at least not any that would stand sharing.

Because recently, Blog, I have found it increasingly hard to negotiate the choppy waters of ‘changing times’; I have, if you like, lost my compass. I have striven to be optimistic about newspapers and the future but sometimes the words rang very hollow indeed.

Like, I’m interested in data journalism, visualisations and applications but I don’t think it’s the sole rock on which a business should be founded. I’m interested in apps but I think probably mobile web is just as important if less headline-grabbing, I’m interested in story-telling yet I’m bored of big reads – but if you hit me with nothing but headlines and push Slow Journalism off the page, I feel superficial and guilty that I don’t care enough to read 3,000 words of deathless prose.

So I’m afraid I’ve been ignoring you, Blog, but if it makes you feel better, you aren’t the only one. I deserted my other online playgrounds too – even the BFF ones like Twitter, and Google Reader, and Delicious. Not only did I have nothing to say, I didn’t want to hear anything interesting from anyone else either. Because it might not make a difference to how I felt, and that would mean that the estrangement was probably going to become permanent. 

What changed things was, randomly, a delayed hair appointment. I was stuck in a coffee shop with wifi, waiting for the clock hands to move, when I logged onto Twitter and instead of my recent lurking, I gatecrashed a conversation between Nigel Barlow, Jo Wadsworth and Andy Dickinson. The subject interested me, and within a few tweets the conversation had grown to include thoughts from Glyn Mottishead, Sue Llewellyn, Sam Shepherd and Mary Hamilton

It grew into a really interesting debate – the type of thing you’d like to move into the real world and accompany with some ale – and it reminded me how valuable my online networks people and conversations are to me. It reminded me, Blog, that I started you so I could have conversations with myself and others about journo stuff I was trying out, and thoughts or half-baked ideas I’d had; I realised that going dark was just another way of sulking because the Utopia I had in mind when I started blogging in 2008 hadn’t panned out. 

The Panning Out is still going on, and it’s going to continue for a long time – in fact, it’s never going to stop. It will just move on to the next thing, and the changes will keep happening. The trick is not to start longing for and end to change, I guess, because newspapers and journalism stopped changing for a long time and that is, in part, what’s led to the current crisis. 

Anyway, Blog, that’s all I wanted to say. I’m sorry I stopped talking to you, and I hope we can move on from our brief falling out. If it makes you feel better, I had a catch up with my mate Neil MacDonald earlier and he revealed, unprompted, that he’d had a blogging crisis and had ground to a halt. I see he’s over it now though. I’m not quite, but I think I’m getting there. 

Love always, 

Enhanced by Zemanta

13 thoughts on “Getting over a blogging breakdown

  1. This made me laugh because I've abandoned my own Twitter of late and that conversation is the first journalism related thing I've talked about in ages, and I too dived in because the subject interests me (and because it's a subject that hasn't been hashed and rehashed to within an inch of its life, which may in fact be more pertinent…)


  2. Another “me too”. I recently and very publicly abandoned the freelancing blog attached to this moniker, partly because my anonymity had been eroded but also because I felt I'd simply run out of things to say.

    While I still gas away with abandon on Twitter, I too have ducked out of all the heavy conversations on there about the future of journalism (like the one you joined in with this morning) – it often seems as if nothing new is being said and I doubt I can contribute anything useful and original to the loop of chatter.

    I hope, like you, I'll find that mojo again. We'll see…



  3. Yep, Sam, the same debates bubble on and there are times when you wish someone could say “I've finally solved that one! What else ya got?” but the solutions are s-l-o-w arriving.
    Your project sounds interesting – I think, given Liverpool's several universities and vast student population, the whole question of What They Want is something we should do more research into.

    Andy, if I can ease my own guilt by transferring some of it to you, then my work here is done 😉


  4. @ Wordsmith_for_Hire to be fair, the divine Nelson in full on recline mode was – until today – the BEST thing I'd seen on Twitter for a bloody age.
    (Anyone who doesn't know you will wonder what on earth I'm referring to. I'll never tell…)


  5. Well, obviously the divine Nelson has his own blog at although he's far too busy covering for me on Inside the M60 to write much for it these days. I should never have tweeted that pic of him subbing yesterday's headlines as it's given him a swollen head (especially as he made it into at least half a dozen editions of

    Perhaps we need to move the “future of journalism” conversation into the arena of pet exploitation. They are, after all, cheaper than journo graduates…


  6. Alison I asked you about the possibility of an upcoming sequel to July's Hackday via Twitter.

    Would appreciate a reply perhaps via e-mail? If there is to be another I'd be interested in attending.

    'Wordsmith For Hire' – how great your counter-intuitiveness is! Honestly if you set up a blog, don't expect anonymity to last. It's like getting free onion rings in Wimpy; it happens on occasion if there's a kind waitress: Almost always it doesn't.

    If you attain success/recognition (presumably an aim of yours being 'for hire'?) then you might as well reveal yourself. If you aren't famous it's likely inconsequential anyhow.

    If partaking in this social media lark truly is an 'evolution of a town square' or whatever a public presence means disclosing identity to the public. Most writers enjoy recognition, or at least acknowledge it and the job correlate.

    Pete, editor at Dirty Garnet


  7. “Because recently, Blog, I have found it increasingly hard to negotiate the choppy waters of 'changing times'; I have, if you like, lost my compass. I have striven to be optimistic about newspapers and the future but sometimes the words rang very hollow indeed.”

    I can't even begin to say how this rings true to me. I sometimes remember our optimism back in 2008 and wonder what happened.

    I think, perhaps, we moved from dreaming and thinking about what the brave new world might look like, to (in our own different ways) trying to help make it happen.

    That is infinitely more frustrating position to be in as real world change always creates at a much much slower pace than your imagination. Sometimes observing too closely the gap between the two can drive you utterly crazy. Maybe that's another reason why you avoided conversations on the future of journalism – to make sure it didn't feel that the gap was widening any further?

    Or, at least, that's how I've occasionally felt and why (amongst other reasons) my blog is fallow and my tweets are links to other people's ideas and thoughts.

    That doesn't mean the passion isn't still there though. I am still fired up by the possibilities and I'm delighted you found a debate that inspired you.

    Maybe we need to find a new way to talk about these things…


  8. Alison, very nice post, very moving. I can relate: I publish the blog “Old Media and New Media Meet” about the need to merge old media values with the new tools, and I, too, am frustrated about the way things are going right now for my profession. But I still refuse to give in.

    I have included a quote and link to your post in my latest write up and added you to my Blogroll:

    Maybe we can exchange ideas. Don't get discouraged. We need “old-timers” like us who are also at home in new media.

    All the best.

    Tekla Szymanski


  9. I love the links on your blog, Jo, and I think exchanging information like that is increasingly taking over from long form blogging for lots of people.
    You hit the nail on the head with the frustration of planning change and making change – the latter takes infinitely longer and sometimes it's hard to see that things have been achieved.
    It's yet another reason why i miss real-world chats with you!

    Thanks Tekla! I was a little unsure about posting something so, well, personal but it's been great to have others sharing their thoughts on the subject too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s