Well here we are. I put up this basic portfolio 18 months-ish ago now, because I wanted to get some of my clippings online – and the ever-evangelical Stef Lewandowski had just done a session for us on setting up a photography ‘folio for free (thanks again Stef). I hadn’t come across WordPress; I was struck by how easy it was to use and just threw some of my better articles up there. It’s since grown a bit, but it’s always been static – a repository; a colourful online CV.
Since then I’ve commissioned countless articles on social media, I’ve gradually grown to understand how it all fits together and through my work for 4Talent, I’m slotting together a social presence across Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. I’ve built a (very simple!) Facebook application using Dapper, and I’ve even started semi-dabbling in Twitter: my workmates Nick and Antonio just won’t let me hear the end of it. They’re developing an exciting online young entrepreneurship project for Channel 4 so I’m forever surrounded by talk of social media: ‘Facebook is dead, it’s all about Twitter – although I’m getting Twitter fatigue now too…’
All in all, I’m immersed in all of this day in, day out. But while I’ve pushed hard to get 4Talent out across as many platforms as possible, I’ve just never put my hand to blogging.
I’ve been planning the 4Talent blog in my head for far too long, toying with ideas for how to feed into it from our team across the UK – London, Birmingham, Belfast, Glasgow – big-name guest bloggers, production diaries, embedded video from our events, all nicely plugged into everything else we do. There’s so much we could put on there, that it’s hard knowing where to start: and with the whole team stretched with all the other projects we do, it’s equally hard lumping more responsibilities into the mix. I guess I’m of the opinion that blogging well takes time, thought and planning. This is a pretty rambling post, and let’s just say it’s not the first draft.
I think part of it comes down to how I write. I build things gradually; I agonise over turns of phrase and don’t like putting anything out there unless it’s polished. That’s part of the reason why every other ‘blog post’ on here – to date at least – has been an article, pure and simple. Just another version of my article – tagged, categorised, interactive yes, but it’s a field in which I’m comfortable.
It was actually commissioning Pete Ashton of Created in Birmingham fame to write an in-depth piece about the art of successful blogging for our soon-to-be relaunched 4Talent magazine that set the wheels in motion for me. He wasn’t comfortable writing in print – he’s a blogger. The lack of immediacy; the lack of cross-linking; searchability; tangential information at your fingertips to link to as the fancy takes you. The fact that the magazine, a polished labour of love though it’ll be, won’t actually hit the streets until late May makes the irony of a blogger writing about blogging in a bi-annual magazine all the more obvious.
So for me, it made sense to launch the 4Talent blog in earnest by serialising Pete’s posts, and getting a conversation going online around it about what blogging means – both to bloggers and to those who perceive themselves as non-bloggers; although as technology becomes so much easier to use, that distinction isn’t really clear anymore. The first one’s gone up today: we’ll put up one a week until the magazine comes out.
All of which, in a chain reaction, gives me some kind of reason to start blogging here as well – hopefully not for the last time.