I’ve recently been considering the future of this blog. I enjoy writing but recently been wondering whether The Plastic Mancunian is a suitable outlet for my random scribbling.
Six years after my first post, I have been asking myself:
Should I continue sharing my thoughts with the world?
Should I just keep them private and locked in a file on my computer?
What do I get out of blogging?
What is good about writing a blog?
What will happen if I suddenly stop and consign this blog to Blogger Heaven (or Blogger Hell)?
In order to help clarify the situation, I have decided to consider the pros and cons of blogging.
Unfortunately for you, dear reader, I have also decided to share my thoughts on the subject with you.
Without further ado, here is a list of ten pros and ten cons of blogging as seen through my eyes. I will start with the cons:
(1) Upsetting people
While I don’t consider myself to be a controversial blogger, I often worry about whether my words may offend sensitive people who may find my posts distasteful. I am a fairly sensitive person myself so if I genuinely upset somebody I wouldn’t like it.
Initially, I was hoping to remain completely anonymous but having been discovered by a very determined work colleague, my anonymity vanished and I embraced a more open approach, gradually revealing more about myself. Mrs PM knew about my blog, of course, but now more and more people are aware of its existence. While some may consider this a good thing, it can be a bad thing particularly in the case of the next con.
(3) Being too honest
Over the years I have opened up a little more, prompting one or two people to say:
“I didn’t know you felt like that!”
I’m not convinced that's a good thing.
(4) Keyboard warriors
I have had the occasional skirmish with a keyboard warrior, an anonymous dickhead who cannot produce a cogent argument, opting instead to hurl insults and vitriol in my general direction. A belligerent part of me wants to combat these people – but the sensitive soul within, the man who hates conflict, abhors taking these people on.
(5) Am I a weirdo?
In many of my posts, I portray myself as a bit of a weirdo and I imagine a lot of people find this an amusing diversion. While The Plastic Mancunian might come across as an arse, the real me is not (well I don’t think so). I hope that people don’t really think I am peculiar – but I do run the risk of that sometimes.
Apart from the odd keyboard warrior, I have not been openly criticised on my blog. However, I cannot rule out that possibility and I wonder whether I can cope with that. I think I can, particularly if that criticism is constructive. Other more sensitive bloggers may not be able to accept such criticism and opening your writing up for the world to comment on may expose you to such disapproving comments.
I have always been a little paranoid. Metaphorically speaking I have a constant companion that I have called Captain Paranoia, who spends his time whispering in my ear, exposing my worst fears. He sometimes tells me that I am wasting my time writing this blog, that nobody reads it and the few people that do hate it. There have been times in the past six years when I have considered just packing it in, asking myself whether it is all worth it.
(8) Writers block
Sometimes I struggle to think of something to write about and when I do I feel guilty about not posting. Every writer has suffered from this affliction and when it strikes it can make blogging life difficult.
(9) Getting noticed
I discovered early on in my blogging career that in order to attract readers, you have to do a fair amount of work that does not involve writing, such as exposing your blog on certain websites, mentioning your blog on social media etc. I didn’t really expect this to happen which leads me nicely onto my next con.
(10) Blogging can be time consuming
I have to find time to write blog posts, juggling with work commitments, family life etc. It is not just a case of finding time to write; I have to get noticed too this can consume a lot more time than I have available sometimes.
All of that sounds a bit negative, but being a Libran, I can balance that with positivity. Here are the pros of blogging:
(1) Outlet for creativity
I have a vivid imagination and my brain is a muddle of disembodied thoughts just wanting to escape. Blogging allows me to make those thoughts tangible, no matter how strange or weird, and I get immense satisfaction at being able to see those thoughts on the internet from anywhere I happen to be.
While I may not be a good writer, I actually enjoy the process of putting pen to paper. As far as I am concerned, the greatest writers are world class footballers, while I am merely an amateur who plays in a local league for nothing more than the love of the game.
Blogging is a great hobby. Writing a blog is one good way of bringing together my other interests such as music, travelling, photography, reading etc. by simply allowing me the pleasure of writing about things I am passionate about and sharing them with anybody who is willing to read about them.
(4) Global appeal
Writing in solitude and saving your work to your own personal computer consigns it to a black hole that nobody will ever find. By publishing my rambling words on the internet, I am exposing them to the entire world. I have had comments from many places, such as Australia, America, Russia and Europe as well as lurkers who often visit my blog but do not actually leave comments, content just to read my nonsense. I love that.
(5) Footprint on the internet
Whether I like it or not, my work is out there for anyone with an internet connection to see. I have a tiny footprint that will be available for people to see for quite a few years yet – hopefully.
I have always wanted to write a book. Since I started blogging, I have enough material to actually produce one, should I wish to do so. I have printed four blog post compilations – and that only covers up to the middle of 2010. There is a lot of material left, certainly enough to be a little more selective about my favourite posts and produce something that is a little more substantial.
(7) Weapon against procrastination
I struggle with procrastination. Nevertheless, I actually force myself to write a minimum of four posts a month, even if that means giving something up to do so. My ambition is to write a novel and blogging proves to me that there is something inside of me that can force myself to actually get on with it if I really want to.
Writing requires research and research fuels learning. While I don’t write about educational topics on the whole, I have occasionally had to ask my good friend Mr Google for details about random topics and actually learned something new as part of the process.
(9) Letting off steam
Regular readers will know that I like to get on my soapbox and make the world a better place. A lot of the time it is my poor work colleagues, friends and family – and that includes the cats – who have to suffer. Blogging has given me a new outlet to let off steam. Sadly that means that you, dear reader, have to endure my insane bluster. The good news is that you can remove it with a quick click of your mouse.
Even if nobody ever reads my words again, I have a record of my thoughts and deeds that is six years old. I know that I can read those words and reminisce about what was going through my head at the time. As well as that, the blog provides a crude diary, reminding me of past travels and experiences since those dim and distant days of the year 2008.
And finally ...
Over to you, dear reader:
What do you consider the pros and cons of blogging?
Do you agree with my list?
Why do you blog?