I don’t often post about the work I do, having been jumped on from an enormously great height early on in my blogging career. Yesterday I was in Inverness presenting some work I’ve been involved in to the relevant SNH staff; this post isn’t about that work, before anyone gets excited, but is about some discussions en route. Five of us in a car from Perth, thanks to the rail strike (for once I had bought a ticket ahead of schedule 🙁 ), did prompt a certain amount of chatter.
The guys were discussing the problems of an internal newletter they were planning to produce. Once a month? Every 2 weeks? How long? Paper or email? Would people read it? “Why don’t you make it a blog?” said I. “Blog?” they chorused, as though I had just suggested circulating a manual on the internal workings of a micro chip. “The only people I know who read blogs don’t have enough work to do.”
Now, I should have known better. It is at this point I normally give up, shut up and retreat to my private bloggy world of nerds – as that is clearly what we all are in the minds of the world at large. But instead I launched into my sales pitch.
“If you set up a blog, you could post news as it becomes available. It wouldn’t be out of date by the time it’s printed. You wouldn’t have to wait until you have enough for a newsletter. You could have several contributors who could post items and it takes the onus off one person. You could start conversations via comments.”
“Noone has time to read blogs”
“So who’s going to read your newsletter then? If you introduce your readers to RSS feeds, they’ll know when something new is posted.”
“Have you ever read any of those things? You get so many rubbish comments.”
“You can always moderate or mark them as spam” I countered, knowing full well that a) they probably wouldn’t need to do this, b) they’d soon get bored of it and c) they would probably be surprised how much good feedback they could generate.
Anyhow, they soon got bored of me and moved on to other topics.
But it set me thinking and so I did some googling this morning. There doesn’t appear to be a marine environmental news blog in the UK. There is a very useful monthly news digest called SCENES, to which I used to subscribe until I decided to reduce the paper mountain. This hasn’t gone online yet, possibly because it is a small but useful source of income for its editor, possibly because of the fear of losing readers with the move away from a traditional publishing medium.
I will ask around but I think I might start my own marine environmental/conservation news blog.
And yes, I do waste time blogging when I should be working. And no, I didn’t tell the SNH guys about guineapigmum. The risk of ridicule is still too great!