So it’s that time of year again when it feels like the only people still at work are shop assistants – bravely smiling on as the last-minute shoppers become ever-more frantic, soon using body-charges and rugby tackles on one another in place of the usual ‘excuse me pleases’ – and poor hacks like me who write for daily news services. Cue the sad fiddle music.
Well, since I’m still in the office (pretty much on my own, I don’t mind telling you) I thought I might as well pen one last blog entry for 2005. I write this in the full and certain knowledge that the only thing likely to read it is one of those automated spider thingies that search engines use to cache and categorise the flotsam and jetsam of the interweb. But here it is.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on my blog – well no, actually I should. I confess that this whole blog lark has been something of a learning curve for me. You see, until this blog (and since, as it happens) I wrote daily news for ComputerWire, as well as analysis pieces and longer features for Computer Business Review (CBR). As editor of CBR of course I also have all the usual responsibilities of a magazine editor – making tea, watering the office plants, that kind of thing.
While some are born bloggers and some achieve blogness, others still have blogs thrust upon them. I confess I was in the latter camp when a website revamp saw us add the ability to host blogs. I already had quite a lot on my plate, I reasoned, whereas my boss could clearly see how little time I actually spent doing anything, noticing for instance that every time he walked past I happened to be reading something on my computer. Imagine! But one person’s “time-wasting” is another’s “research”, right?
In the end we found a “compromise”: I would start a blog, and also keep doing the daily news for ComputerWire, longer analysis and feature pieces for CBR, and continuing of course my editorship of CBR, with the tea-making and plant watering that entails.
Quite how this was a compromise I am still unclear, but my boss assured me that it was a “win-win” situation for us both, that it was “truly a case of one plus one equalling three”, and that I at last would be able to “leverage the synergies of Web 2.0”. I thought this was all more like “getting shafted with a truck load more work”, but I held my tongue and started blogging.
Regular readers of this blog over the course of the year – if the plural is appropriate – will no doubt be unimpressed by its frequency, quality and content. At times I’ve been so busy with other writing and editing duties – sorry, “failing to effectively manage my own time” – that I’ve either not posted a blog or simply posted a straight news story to the blog. But as we all know, a blog isn’t supposed to be straight news, even worldwide exclusive super-scoop news. It’s supposed to be opinionated. Adding “I agree” right at the end of a dry news story still doesn’t turn the piece into an opinionated blog, and I should know.
Anyway, my New Year’s resolution is to try and make my blogs more opinionated, and to “better manage my time” so that I can improve the quality, frequency and content of my so far less-than-illustrious blog. The tea-making and office plant-watering that are such key elements of my role as editor of CBR may ultimately suffer. But as my boss points out, the plants are, after all, “cost centres” that have little “strategic value” and that could “in a near- to mid-term time-frame” be “transitioned out”. Something tells me I’ll find them in a skip on my return from the Christmas break – I can just sense it.
I also just heard that the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee, has just started a blog of his own. Tim – if you want any hints or tips, just drop me a line.
I leave you though with a Christmas message. The Peninsular Medical School at Exeter University studied a range of hangover cures from Aspirin to sucrose. They said borage held out some hope, but not a lot: “No compelling evidence exists to suggest that any complementary or conventional intervention is effective for treating or preventing alcohol hangover,” they wrote in the British Medical Journal. “The most effective way to avoid the symptoms of alcohol-induced hangover is thus to practise abstinence or moderation,” they added. But what are the chances of that at this time of year?
Anyway, here’s to a Merry Christmas and a festive New Year.
Damn – I’ve just realised that I don’t really voice an opinion in this blog, either. OK, in my opinion ‘urban 4x4s’ should all be blown up. Opinionated enough for you?