Some “idiot blogger”

He can’t recall now what provoked this outburst; but he won’t forget the comment. Pop-star had thought highly of this top rating financial analyst and journalist until then, but he did not like this derogatory comment on Sunday morning television.  He certainly wouldn’t be subscribing to his newsletter now. Bloggers at least read the articles analysts write, and spread their views. Not all bloggers are ill-informed nor the content abusive. Indeed there are today among the many thousand blogs competing for attention around the globe, some that are professional to the point that they are rivaling the print media.

This blog is not one of those. Rather it is one of the majority; a phenomenon of the internet hat is empowering the voiceless masses to develop literary and other artistic skills to share with readers of similar interest.  Everyone through the social media, and blogging, can now express an opinion, and contribute to debate on issues of national, or local importance. It can become an absorbing interest for retirees.

How did Pop-star get into blogging?

Pop-star is his sobriquet. When grandchildren started arriving, he was renamed Pop or Poppy – a snappy name, friendly too. As teenagers the eldest boys, to their amusement, changed the appellation to Pop-star. He suspects  they didn’t think too highly of his star qualities. Never mind, the new title stuck.

In this post, Pop-star briefly relates the story of his somewhat tortuous journey down the blogging pathway in the hope that it may spark an interest for others  in the post Work era of their life.

He wasn’t entirely a computer novice. He had learned how to save brokerage by buying and selling his shares online, and to research his investments. He also did his own research on the internet. Whilst recovering from oesophageal surgery, and obeying orders to stay indoors, he opened a Twitter account to follow the news as it unfolded. He started to add his own short comments, and make small contributions to public debates. The next step was to use Facebook to find out a little more about people in the news. It also proved wonderful for staying in touch with distant relatives.

Twitter limits comment to 140 characters. Not nearly enough to elaborate on issues. When he came across WordPress he thought “why not give blogging a go”? He looked at other blogs. Many were just spectacular. Could he at his age manage something like that? It wasn’t too expensive. He had long wanted to share with others his insights into life, and finance.

It hasn’t been easy. Even the basics were unfamiliar. He had to work out the differences between pages and posts, what META meant, and learn the jargon. Words like widget, and Avatar. He had difficulty trying to add media to his posts. It frustrated him when something he was working on just disappeared. He wasn’t sure whether he had committed some unpardonable sin, whether it was his computer freezing, or a problem with the server. Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was automatic feedback to clarify problems, and rectify them.

He was an inexperienced writer, but he was aware of some of the pitfalls to avoid. How do you find original expressions to replace cliches?  He struggled to avoid using the words and expressions of others and to always add original comment to the reports of others.

He had to research before he wrote, and make sure that his sources were reasonably reliable but still does not always format his references into a complete bibliography. Instead he provides links to his major sources.

He had a dilemma deciding on topics. Should he persist with topics that interested him even if they were of limited interest to others? Did it worry him when there were few readers, and fewer comments, let alone positive feed-back.

Then there were questions of style. If it was a technical topic, how could he avoid jargon readers wouldn’t understand, and add enough explanation in the text? He does not like pomposity and verbosity but found he was tending to do a bit of pontificating himself.

No matter how often he re-read his posts it seems he always found errors of one kind or another, or text that could be better expressed. It was a challenge to his ego to get it as right as he could and he is still striving to improve.

Perhaps this is the reason he has become obsessive about his blogging. It perturbs MPS (Mrs Pop-star) how much time he is spending on his computer, and in the interest of marital harmony he must do something about it. With so much to write about it won’t be easy. Once he embarks on a post, he can’t rest until it is complete and finally posted.

Even if no one reads his blog, he thinks he will keep going while his health permits. All his life he has read the words of others. This is his opportunity to express his own ideas and thoughts. It gives him something to think and talk about, instead of repeating stories everyone has heard before. He has a new role in life, and a feeling of relevance. He is contributing to public thought and debate.

It is a bit like having a baby; hours of labour but new life (of a sort ) at the end. Mind you he is not necessarily proud of what he has written. He is a bit embarrassed to confess that he is just another “idiot blogger”.

He likes what another WordPress blogger said about writing when life was coming to an end. He/she said they would just write faster.

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