Blogging

OK This is going to be very media oriented, a meta post about blogging.

Should I be blogging?

One answer to this, http://codebetter.com/blogs/jeremy.miller/archive/2008/01/25/should-i-blog.aspx, just a quick Googling away.  Yeah I should blog.

So #lovelyGF and I are still pursuing the argument about what I should be blogging; sometimes I’m inflammatory, sweary, ranty, bloodyminded and polemical, you only have to look at Femininist, and Covering Up to see that this is the case.  Sometimes I put very personal things on, (Dad), and these things can be very difficult.  Sometimes I’m just pushing things out so they’re not in my way, sometimes I push them out because I think  they might help someone else even if it is too late for me.

#lovelyGF worries that I’m damaging my career, future career.

There’s a few things happening here, in my opinion.

One is that we self-censor to buy the future.  Another is that we self censor for fear that common sense won’t prevail.  (See #iamspartacus, plenty of people have done this now, including professional people that I respect and I *know* are looked at by their bosses, and whose careers WILL be affected.)

Another thing is that I’m always pushed for time, and I’m a rubbish content generator. I’m really interested in generating content as such, I have things to say, but up until now they have mostly been private, but I can’t play in social media without giving, so for example I took all my Facebook Pictures down some time ago, but I can share some publically if I want, so I posted one, my graduation handshake.

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By the way, Tempest probably have copyright to this.  Do I give a bugger about this?  Well yes, on the one hand; I think Copyright laws are increasingly draconian and punitive beyond reason, but the principle that people essentially should be acknowledged for their creative work isn’t a bad principle, it’s just mis-applied.  That’s the general case.

In detail, no I don’t give a bugger about this, because Tempest have far too much control over photography in school and Uni, we couldn’t possibly have got this shot, and it’s a photo of ME for crying out loud, and it cost me another £15 on top of the artificially posed graduation photo, for which I should have asserted myself more.  Oh well.  There’s always a PhD.  Anyway, I’m not putting it on the web for monetary purposes and while this doesn’t excuse copyright violation, they can just get over it.  Photo’s of me are MINE, I’m the owner of the image of my own face.  I have rights to my person.

But apart from all that, I’m rather proud of this moment, so I’m just showing people, not sticking it to Tempest, who are actually lovely lovely people.

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Anyway, point is, should I be self censoring just in case?

I don’t think so no.  Femininist in particular is a piece of creative writing, there are many truths in it, but the point about it is that it written creatively.  I’ma great fan of Charlie Brooker even though I don’t always agree with the sentiment, in fact I consider myself to be well, let’s face it, not stupid, but I often have to decode what Mr Brooker has said.  He always write creatively though, taking risks about how he is saying what he is saying, (I think he failed here, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/15/charlie-brooker-twitter-terror-conviction because I think he missed the target), and thus sometimes he is going to say quite controversial things and say them in a controversial way.

He is not alone in  this approach, Jeremy Clarkson does this to a lesser extent, let’s pass over his daft approach on Top Gear, it’s funny, mostly, but he has the approach of saying something quite absurd or right wing and then examining it.  I think he’s a lefty, as am I.  Never mind all the self-aggrandisement.  (ahem!  his not mine).

Point is that we seem to be in a divide.  If you write for a newspaper, if you’re a journalist, if you’re been trained, you can write any amount of absurd, challenging, controversial things without fear of career ruination.  It seems that if you do the same and you’re not specially trained, you might be at risk of losing your potential career.

Now, although I disagree with#lovelyGF about this, the source of my disagreement is that I think that there should not be one rule for the rich, well, in this context, trained, and one rule for the practising.  (Right, let’s get this out of the way, rules of libel still apply, and don’t slag off your employer in public, because well, that’s a bit daft, and Sons take note, don’t slag off your teachers in text like this because you’re not mature enough to understand what you’re doing yet and you shouldn’t bully them on-line, teachers have enough problems as it is.)

So there is a danger that someone might not like what you said.  It’s a level playing field, I might not like what some else said.  (I tend to only right to people to encourage them though, no point in being negative, though I do like to argue about things, because I might be missing their point, even if I disagree, I might learn something).

So what is conclusion here?

From my point of view, we can be mice, leave commentary and controversy up to the “experts” or we can own the blogosphere, which is in my opinion the greatest thing to happen to ‘net navigation since the browser was invented.  I dunno about the content, but I get a hell of a lot out of blogs.  All anyone gets out of this blog is opinion and commentary I think, but I need a meaningful presence on the web and this is it.  Caution, it might occasionally be NSFW, and might include a swearword or two. But only if I’m being polemical.

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I was asked the other day if wearing skirts made me more or less accessible educationally.  Was it too peculiar for students and too distracting?

The answer, with experience, much experience, is a resounding MORE ACCESSIBLE.

Yeah I have to own a room, and be confident beyond compare when I do it.  And yeah I like doing girl stuff in clothing, but I make a real effort not to be in drag, because that would be a distraction, and if you’ve now read the polemical entry, you’ll see that it would miss the point entirely.

Why more accessible?  Partly because it is clear to students that I’m not too conservative, so that whatever they bring is ok, what is important is the intellectual work and achievement.    I’ve been harangued by Student Unions to do it more, “because students will know they can be whoever they are going to be at this institution…”  and harangued by departments to do it less, (A mail to me sent via someone else because out new marketing manager in Bangor was scared that I would scare prospective parents off when giving a tour, when in fact I had never worn a skirt when doing that, precisely because it would interfere with the message, come here and get your kid educated.  I feel that the fallout from that, I did get to the bottom of it, was that students volunteers were required to wear “uniform”, and that I will never work in my beloved department again, stuff it, a skirt is narrowmindedness filter).

Point is, I tend to divide the world into those that look below the waist first thing and those who pay attention when I’m talking.

Since I have made good and impressive business contacts while doing this, I think it’s the right way to go.

And yes, I do provide greater accessibility, because after only a minute of talking to me about technical things, people know that I know what I’m talking about.  In Bangor I led a peer workshop, I initiated, set it up, ran it.  Passed it on the next year.  People came because of what I and my compatriots knew, not because of what we were wearing or not.

Flip side, parents at my kids school, primary school have sometime yelled at me out of their cars, and effectively given their children to be bigots, which they have done.  Nowadays the boys generally cope with it by being HUGE and telling people who try and rag on them to take it up with me if they’ve got the balls.  They haven’t.

Actually, that’s generally a lesson, people haven’t got the balls to really have a go abut it, but they will be sly, treat me as if I’m deaf or blind, and Goddess knows get really aggressive if challenged.

Anyway.  There it is.

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Award for Best Overall Performance

Award for Best Overall Performance

Oh, my camera is hopeless, but here is me getting an award from Pete Wraith (Great teacher, really great teacher),  at Graduation for being the best in my class.

I worked hard.  I still left some things until too late, but so much less than ever before.

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