Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday September 08 2005

Yes, I am giving serious thought to cranking up Brian’s Education Blog and Brian’s Culture Blog again (see here for how to read the old ruins), while keeping this totally ego driven Brian’s Whatever Blog going on a less dutiful basis.

Here, I have the feeling that I jump about too much to suit most potential readers.  People wanting culture don’t get enough of it.  People not wanting culture get too much of it.  Etc.  If I shove all my cultural stuff on a specialist Culture Blog, that takes care of that problem.  A bloke recently told me, at one of my Friday meetings, that he misses my Education Blog, which he used to read constantly, but not my Culture Blog, which he found too highbrow.  There must surely have been quite a few for whom it was the other way around.  Dividing everything up is probably the right answer, for me.

I notice that Alice in Texas has divided into Serious Alice in Texas and Everyday Alice in Texas, for much the same reasons.  Comments Kim du Toit: “What if I want to read both?” Comments me (or I would if Alice’s comments system didn’t put me off): Read both.

These thoughts began to come together in my head as I was reading this posting, and the comments attached to it, about Bruce Springsteen.  I learned quite a lot about Springsteen’s background and inspiration from reading this stuff, and linking to it from Brian’s Culture Blog would have made perfect sense.  Linking to it from here probably achieves far less.

Of course, you could say the same about Blognor Regis, where I found this Springsteen posting.  Should that likewise bifurcate into Mark’s Bicycling Blog and Mark’s Everything Else Blog.  It might make sense.

I keep on seeing things that it would make sense to link to and to quote from in a specialist Eucation Blog (such as this posting or this ), or Culture Blog (such as this, or, come to think of it, this), but which it hardly makes any sense to link to and quote from here.  When I run a specialist blog, I feel that I am, so to speak, helping to administer the blogosphere, directing the traffic.  Here, I am just some mad Great Aunt careering about in an Austin Seven, shouting out the window at the proper drivers.

When I was doing my old Education and Culture blogs, I definitely did post things out of a sense of duty – which a lot of bloggers say you should never do – but I was often provoked by this sense of duty into posting quite interesting things, and (especially with Culture) into learning quite interesting things.

Also, specialist blogs put you firmly into a global community of people you have never met and whose dinner parties you will never attend, but with whom you have a definite something in common.  This personal blog, on the other hand, feels more bound into my personal little network here in London.  Maybe I’m wrong about all this, but this is how it feels.

I have the feeling that if I got those old blogs going again, I would pretty quickly get a lot of my old readers back, but that here, I am starting again from scratch.

When I write about classical music here, I feel that I may be imposing, like a dinner party bore.  But at my Culture Blog, well, what did you expect?

Yes, this is making more and more sense the more I think about it.  If this has been a somewhat disorderly piece of writing – with good points but all in a mixed up order – this is because I kept thinking of more things.

If I do decide to do this, don’t expect it to happen immediately.  First, I have to tweak this blog until it is more exactly as I want it.  Only then will I clone it twice, and change the picture at the top and the colours, but leave all else as is.

Sorry about the comment failure, I closed comments on the old blog to avoid spam.

Multiple blogs do make for more user-friendly consistency, I think, but they also mean more blogging, for those of us who feel duty-bound to keep posting at a certain frequency. I’m sure you won’t have a problem though.

Posted by Alice Bachini on 08 September 2005

The Volokh Conspiracy lets you do a sort of tracking thing if you want to only read certain authors.

It’s work for the reader to set up, though.

Posted by Natalie Solent on 09 September 2005

I would rather you didn’t set up or re-set up your old blogs.  That is because I would like there to be just the one place where I could pick up on everything you’ve written.  A sort of Brian Central, if you will.  There really is no danger of you turning into a dinner party bore because I can scroll past what I find the less interesting articles.

That, of course, is true for me and not necessarily others.  Others may be interested in your thoughts on education and nothing else.  But there are probably options there.  I think it is possible to create a sub-set blog ie a blog with just your education articles and, likewise, a sub-set feed.

It is, though, a tricky question.  I have been constantly wrestling with it for three years now.  Maybe, it is just one of those things that will just get solved one day.  Maybe, the multiple blog problem will be solved at exactly the same time as the multiple remote control problem.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on 09 September 2005

I wasn’t clear in my previous comment. I meant that, using the same sort of set up as the Volokh Conspiracy uses to select by author, you could offer the option of select by subject - i.e. culture or education. Or both.

Which is the same as what Patrick said, I think.

The reader should only have to make the selection once, BTW. From then on the system remembers.

Posted by Natalie Solent on 09 September 2005

Thanks for all this folks.

I am (see next post) out for all of Friday.  I will reply later.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 09 September 2005

I agree with Patrick! Up the fence sitters!

As it is I know I already miss out on quality Micklethwait material that you post to the CNE blogs, spreading yourself about even more might mean we miss out on even more juicy stuff. Then again, I did used to read both Brian’s culture and education blogs even if I did skim over some of the more high falutin’ classical music posts.

As for your comments about Blognor Regis, I’m touch that you’re still checking me out even after the summer slowdown. Glad you liked that Bruce Springsteen post, I thought it was one of my better ones too.

In so far as a Mark’s Bicycle Blog would go; hmm, well there are already proper cycling news web sites and blogs geared towards the hardcore fan and I couldn’t ever hope to compete with them. What I prefer to do instead is, perhaps, write about some of the big events in “my own unique style” towards the fairweather fan or someone who doesn’t know what I’m on about but might see it and say, “hey there’s a whole big world of great sport and tremendous physical fitness out there that I never knew about because all I ever see on TV is football the whole bleeding time”. More spreading the good news rather then preaching to the converted you might say. And if people walk on by then they walk on by.

Posted by Mark Holland on 09 September 2005

I’m for everything in one place - I prefer not to have to look in too many places to be sure I’m not missing anything interesting; skipping the bits I don’t find interesting is no great hardship.

You can always go for some kind of subject-related archives for people who just want to read about particular things.

Posted by Alan Little on 09 September 2005

I used to read only your culture blog. I prefer this one. I think most people read blogs for the personality so a more general topic blog is better.

I have thought about starting a second blog for politics because I know some of my regular readers are uncomfortable with my opinions on some issues and that makes me feel inhibited but I decided against it, mostly because I don’t want to try to keep up with two blogs but also because I don’t want to divide myself into poltical me and non-political me. My blog is mostly non-political but when it’s not people will just have to live with that.

Posted by Lynn S on 11 September 2005

Lots more education writing, please.

I don’t care where.

Thank you.

Posted by Catherine Johnson on 02 November 2005
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