Last weekend was the tenth anniversary of blogger. I've only been around for six of those but it has felt like a good part of my life so many happy returns to it.
Initially, once it gathered pace, blogs were the subject of ridicule from the press and other media. All that poor writing which will never replace our proper journalism and diarying, they seemed to say. Now all good journalists seem to have a blog as well, accepting that they can do some things better in this forum than on their paper's website or in print.
There is bad writing. Just like fashion is faster than architecture, because it is easier to mirror or direct a changing culture with cloth than concrete, blogs are faster than pieces that need to be sub-edited. You can remove errors from weblogs. The print media has to apologise. Anyway all writers occasionally put disappointing writing out there. Your mojo can go awol. The trick, imho, is to keep the standard of average posts reasonably high, so you don't lose readers, and sometimes to excel. Well you'd tell me if it went wrong wouldn't you? I know you would. I watch the feedjit stats. I read the comments.
I also, and don't tell too many folk, have a friendly editor who emails me, rather than comments, if I've blooped. No names, but backstairs staff are appreciated.
Blogging is cathartic for those of us who like writing whether anyone reads or not. The existence of a small posse of followers, and a wider group locally who tell me what they think of what I said, makes it a useful exercise in communication, information and vulnerability. Judging by the way the labels exercise is proceeding (not even half way through yet) it also appears to be my lot to try and be funny relatively often. Reading all six years has been OK. I've been surprised how few howlers there are and some of the writing has made me pleased I did it. Not that sentence but you can't win 'em all. Another blog thing is that you tend to plough on rather than correct. Most of the good writing started somewhere else first.
The critics soon gave up slagging blogs and moved to Facebook, which also took over the world and now they write articles saying 'Why on earth does anyone Tweet?' Whatever next? Well whatever does come next you can guarantee that the knee-jerk will be to rubbish it and then, like the wasp that I watched a spider wrap then consume yesterday, way to go spidey, it will become part of the system.
Happy birthday blogger. And thanks, a long time ago, to Seb Apostol, who told me about it. He was an early adopter but left when something else became cooler.