I daresay David McCann, Deputy Editor at Slugger O’Toole wont mind if I shamelessly rip off the title of his latest blog. First of all, shamelessly ripping off ideas is what Bloggers do. Secondly, I think he asks a very reasonable question. Thirdly, he makes good points. Lastly, I have no means of replying to the good and bad points he has made as I cancelled my Slugger account…a consequence of the lack of a straight forward response when I raised the question of whether their alleged cartoonist had depicted the Leader of a democratic party as a Nazi…Satire maybe. Charlie Hebdo…hardly.
So why do I do it? Well you havent asked but I will tell you anyway.
In case you dont know “Keeping An Eye on the Czar of Russia” is a tip of the hat to the infamous editorial in the Skibbereen Eagle,where the editor of a small town newspaper in West Cork comments on great world affairs. He had a high opinion of himself, didnt he? And thats what all Bloggers have in common with the man from the Skibbereen Eagle.
Bloggers are….complete No-Marks. I am a total No-Mark. It is 9.15am and my wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren have all gone to work and school and I am typing this on my ipad.
To be honest, I was always a No-Mark and when I went back to University aged 53 and graduated aged 57 (2009), there was no way I was ever going to get a real job that would in any way reflect my alleged new skills in History and Politics. To be even more honest, I didnt learn much at Queens University. I was a loose cannon who didnt take my tutors very seriously. They had the paperwork to back up their opinions and I didnt. But what do you think? Who knows more about Norn Iron Politics? Me or some uppity 30 year old PhD from London or Manchester?
Blogging is my revenge.
Blogging owes everything to the Baghdad Blogger. The Iraq War brought out all kinds of editorials telling us we are all “citizen journalists”. It is all complete bollox. And I should know. If you are unlucky enough to have found this Blog, consider yourself lucky that you have not yet found my other Blogs in cyberspace…History and Politics are not what defines me.
The Internet has changed from 1998. AOL begat Yahoo which begat MySpace which begat Live Journal which begat Blogspot which begat Word Press. Maybe Blogging was at its best seven or eight years ago.
David McCann makes seven points.
1 Seek out fellow bloggers, he says. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! ….Avoid fellow bloggers like the plague. They are totally useless wastes of space. And worse in the cases of Mick Fealty, Alan Meban and David McCann and indeed others, you will find that you LIKE them. Keep them at a distance and say nasty things about them ….that works best for me. Of course there ARE Bloggers I totally detest and I refuse to identify myself with them. The last thing Id want to do is be part of some quasi-official Norn Iron Bloggers Association….indeed there used to be something called a “Web Ring” but it had some kinda test where applicants had to write 300 words to join the magic circle. I couldnt be arsed.
I think its a matter of choosing Dignity over Networking. Avoid David, Alan, Brian, Gladys, Lyra, Harriet, Orna and the rest. Yes, there is a lot to be gained with all the mutual back-slapping. But it is not for me. Getting a gig talking Politics on “Costcutter Radio” or reviewing the newspapers on “Craigavon Hospital Radio” might lead to bigger gigs with Rick and Deirdre on “The View” (BBC) or with Nolan and Cawley (BBC Radio) but its not for me.
Much better to have a list of Enemies. I have a very long list of people that I wonder what they are up to. You might guess from the Archives that I am not overly fond of some of our most influential movers and shakers on the sidelines of our Politics.
2 Dont have an Agenda….says David McCann. Bollox. There are two types of Blogger ….some say they have an agenda and some SAY they dont. We all do. I am a republican, a socialist and a nationalist. And a member of SDLP. Allowing for Election Campaigns, I try not to spin.
3 David says…”Be Sincere”. Well I can “do” Sincerity or I can happily fake it. Sincerity gets you points with “readers” but it doesnt help you if you are more interested in “networking”
4 Media…to be honest, I dont bother much with the Media. Some (Alex Kane for example) have been kind to me. Some (William Cawley)….hmmmm. And one who thru disctretion I wont mention was so moved by conversing with me that she entered a convent. No Names. No Pack Drill.
5 Money….I have made $43 in seven years.
6 Be “Realistic”. Well I am not the Huffington Post. Id be surprised if this Blog is any way influential. SDLP colleagues occasionally say nice things. Some are patronising. But most have never heard of me. SDLP routinely complains that it has no Online Presence. I have lost count of the number of times, I have been in an audience where I have heard that. I have even sat in a SDLP audience, where an outsider talked about Blogging.
So dont expect Gratitude. Dont expect any more than a short “thanks but no thanks” rejection letter if you apply for a job with your chosen political party.
7 A Labour of Love? Hardly. Therapeutic? Yes, I think so.
But really its all about a Decision. Do you “network” with people or do you compile a list of enemies? There are simply people in Norn Iron….the FAUX LetsGetAlongerists ….who I simply cant stand. This Blog is primarily about them.
Of course, I am old and bitter. David McCann is young and naive. Will I ever let him forget that analysis of SDLP in South Belfast in 2013? No I wont. But I think I am doing him a favour. He had an excuse. The big thing about Blogging is DONT BLOG ALL YOU KNOW. Dont rush to publish. A Blogger hears things…little indiscretions…and it is best to store it in the “memory bank”. It is a jigsaw puzzle. Dont hold one piece of the puzzle and think it is the whole picture.
On the other hand, other things are less forgivable. No agenda David??? That head to head in East Belfast, Robinson and Long. Ooops I mean Gavin Robinson MP. No agenda…my arse!
Sinn Féin lose ten council seats and Alliance lose two seats and SDLP loses one. Westminster SF loses a seat, Saint Naomi loses a seat. SDLP doesnt lose a seat. But “managed decline” and possibly Nazi cartoons. No agenda David?