Blogging About Blogging: Speak Your Brains!

Pipe, hat and pint.

Bad news: this is a blog post about blog posting. There’ll be a post that’s actually about beer later today. If you choose to read on, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

We’ve been reflecting lately on our tendency to self-censor. We used to shelve posts quite frequently, finished and illustrated, because, at the last minute, we found ourselves anticipating a bad-tempered response and couldn’t be bothered to face it.

But we’ve decided to change tack as our skin has got thicker, and as we’ve realised that, however carefully we tread, we still manage to wind people up anyway. Because they like being wound-up.

We’ve also been rethinking the purpose of blogging: we increasingly use it to get thoughts and ideas off our chests — to put them into words, as part of the process of digestion, almost more for our own benefit than anyone else’s.

Sometimes, we even find ourselves disagreeing with what we’ve written 10 minutes after its gone live.

Being told off for snobbery, CAMRA-bashing, ‘craft’-bashing, anti-local sentiments, anti-corporate sentiments, pretentiousness, factual errors, failing to chime with someone else’s 30-year-old memory, being too young, being too old, having poor palates, lack of support for pubs, naming names, not naming names, and a million other offences, is all part of the fun.

(It doesn’t always feel like fun when an excessively blunt comment pops up at breakfast-time or just before bed, mind.)

It’s a good way to learn (Cunningham’s Law) and also helps us form more solid, less ‘floaty’ opinions, or to change our view altogether in response to convincing arguments.

More rants, please

We’ve seen a few other bloggers lately present something they’ve written as ‘a rant’ when, in fact, it’s nothing of the sort, but rather a perfectly reasonable statements of what they are feeling and thinking at that moment, open to challenge and debate.

Posts like that liven up the conversation and get people talking. They reveal unresolved tensions and help us understand the prejudices of others. If we let them.

Let’s have more half-baked opinions.

Who’s click-baiting?

There’s a fine line between speaking your brains and being wilfully attention-seeking, and we’ve seen the accusation of ‘click-baiting‘ bandied about a few times in the beer blogoshire.

We’d define it as:

  • Using deliberately controversial headlines and link text to lure readers to an otherwise rather boring blog post.
  • Stating a point of view that you do not hold — that no reasonable person could hold — for the sake of winding people up. (Trolling, basically.)

That is, Huffington Post, Upworthy, Buzzfeed behaviour.

Not a beer blogger stating a slightly unusual preference for Stella Artois, or holding a non-mainstream opinion about pub companies.

Revisiting a hot-button comments-and-clicks-guaranteed topic such as BrewDog, or the price of craft beer isn’t (necessarily) click-baiting either. These are unresolved issues and people who have something new to say about them shouldn’t feel bad about saying it.

A final note on Twitter

Twitter is killing blogging, goes the argument, because people dash-off a quick 140 characters rather than write a full post; or reply on Twitter rather than commenting.

The latter we think is a non-issue, and the former increasingly baffles us, because quite a bit of what we write these days is prompted by what we read on Twitter. This, for example, demands a post, and it’s going to get one later this week.

Our standing page on blogging etiquette is here, if you want more of this kind of thing for some mad reason.

8 thoughts on “Blogging About Blogging: Speak Your Brains!”

  1. If the title is a “The Day Today” reference then you are clearly the best beer blog out there.

  2. If someone is a dick, just IP block them. Its a shame you have posts that you don’t feel able to put up for fear of being hounded by certain tiresome trolls.

  3. I’d say Twitter has certainly changed blogging by hoovering up a lot of the more ephemeral posts, or posts that are basically just a link to something else. Blog posts are probably, on average, fewer, longer and more considered than they were five years ago.

    Being in the position where you actually know some of your commenters rather than just ranting into the ether does tend to exercise something of a moderating influence.

    While not being clickbait, in the sense that they are genuinely felt, there are some posts, such as Martyn Cornell’s recent one on pubs and planning, where the blogger must think “well, this is going to stir things up a bit” before pressing the button.

  4. I’m happy to under-bake my opinions for you.

    Seriously, though, dissent can sometimes be cathartic. Just because someone doesn’t like what you say, doesn’t mean they don’t need to hear it.

  5. Love opinionated posts and blogs from this site, the more the merrier, seems like the internet is full of “offended” people these days

  6. Say what you want to say, it’s the only good reason for blogging. It’s also a self-correcting system – if everything you put up starts getting torn apart by old farts or BD fanboys, you may find you don’t want to write quite the same things any more! I can’t see that happening here, though – unlike some blogs, you manage to combine enthusiasm with a wide variety of subjects & a general equanimity in discussing them. (A very under-rated virtue, equanimity. Don’t drive angry, like the man said.)

  7. Pingback: MR | Fourth Edition, August 2014 | Drunken Speculation

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