17 02 2008

Blogging is an enjoyable, if slightly odd experience. Rather like shouting into a dark room that people enter and leave invisibly, occasionally shouting back a comment. I think I know who some of my audience are, some of the time, but am not entirely certain. I know that most of my immediate family and at least one cousin are reading. I know some of my friends are reading, but I’m not entirely sure which ones or when. I also know that some complete strangers are reading, quite a lot in Ireland it seems.

My reasons for blogging are varied. I started toying with it a couple of years ago, but started more seriously about a year ago after I was selected by VSO. Partly it’s a narcissistic attempt at self publicity. Partly there is the ego flattery of fantasising that complete strangers might be hanging on my every word, waiting impatiently for the next instalment. And I found it useful reading other volunteers blogs before I went out to get an idea of what it is like to be a volunteer, I hope that my attempts have been useful at communicating my experience, not that there is a typical experience. I also want to raise awareness of some of the issues around international development. Finally I enjoy practising my writing, and hopefully occasionally making people laugh.

I have different approaches to writing a post. Occasionally I simply go straight to the website and write directly, but usually I start with an idea and then rough it out before getting a version I’m happy with at home before I head to somewhere that has internet and copy it up. I try to aim for different styles, subjects and lengths.

WordPress (the people who host my website) is quite interesting because it provides me with quite a lot of information, and combined with the Cluster-maps add-in I know how many people are reading my blog, where they are in the world and how they find me – all feeding my narcissism. This throws up some interesting information; I seem to have a lot of readers in Ireland for some reason, as well a few hot spots in the US, Europe and northern Nigeria. I would love to know if I have regular readers I’ve never met. There are one or two blogs I follow, and it will be strange if I meet Nigel and Jenny Horricks who are fellow VSOs in Ghana whose blog I started reading before I left and now I know people who know them. In fact my friends Ruth and Katherine borrowed their car to get to Mole.

The most common routes to my blog (and the most read posts) are searches for “Microsoft Access vs OpenOffice Base” and “China vs India”, although gratifyingly I do get quite a lot for “Tim Little Ghana” or “Tim in Tamale”, and I can see that one or two people have used Google to create an RSS feed of my page. I seem to average about 15 – 20 hits per day, but those aren’t necessarily different readers. Hopefully a few of the people looking for technical advice or a heated emerging superpower debate hang around and read some other bits.

I’m too lazy to be a proper writer though. I love composing articles in my head, considering what first sentence will grab the reader’s attention, how the post will flow and what the rhythm of the sentences will be. But I’m too lazy to apply myself. To sit down and spend time writing, rather than reading, watching a movie or even playing free cell. Blogging is the lazy man’s way to write.




4 responses

17 02 2008

Blogging is a load of fun.

18 02 2008
Penny Small

Got any other readers in Tunisia or is it just me?! I enjoy reading your stuff. Interesting to hear of the places and experiences, keep writing!

19 02 2008
Tim Little

As far as I’m aware you are, but the map only shows that my blog has been read in Tunisia between 10 and 100 times, not whether that was one person or several I’m afraid.

19 02 2008
June Little

hi Tim,
Now I know what cluster maps are ! I’m impressed by the extent of your readership – keep up the good work. This blog certainly gives us a vivid taste of a different culture/ lifestyle Thanks.

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