Life's a bastard...but sometimes it lets up

The life and times of an ordinary Dublin girl. Follow her journey as she finds out working from home really ISN'T about watching Oprah all day and that perhaps men aren't really all bastards.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Rules

DURING my mindless web-surfing one of the days last week I came across this article here about the 'rules' of blogging and it pissed me off royally.

It was by this guy JimEstill who is CEO of Synnex Canada and a blogger himself.

At this juncture I'd like to point out that no, I'm not a CEO of some billion dollar corporation, nor am I a computer expert, nor do I really know the first thing about blogging other than how to (inexpertly) write a post and yes, this guy is highly successful in his field, probably hugely well known (I've never heard of him) while I'm just some shmuck journalist from Dublin. So with that established, let me continue.

There are rules for blogging now?! Fucking RULES?!

One of the rules is something like 'stick to a theme' but I have to ask: why? Who made you King of the World? This blog is a mish-mash of information about my life, things I'm interested in, things in the news, articles on WeightWatchers, a little bit of everything. And if I want to write a serious article about something, I will, and I'm not going to worry about going outside my 'theme'. Since when did blogs have rules? Since when did blogs turn from something to have fun with and enjoy doing, to something that has rules and boundaries and limitations?

As regular readers will know, I work with a young woman with Dystonia, Jenny McCann at who due to various reasons doesn't post as regularly as others and doesn't have a particular theme but when she does manage to blog (about whatever takes her fancy), has an absolute blast. But now, according to this guy, I've to turn around to her and say 'nah, sorry, you're not doing it properly, you're not following the RULES man, you've to stop blogging'. Is he serious?

Another of his pearls of wisdom is 'only start blogging if you like to write' and again, I have to ask..says who? Says fucking who? What about photoblogs, or technical blogs which don't contain many articles per se, but which link to new developments in technology or IT? What about blogs such as The Community at Large which provides links to new games, funny videos, news clips etc and isn't text heavy but which is still a favourite of many as can be seen by the Irish Blog Award it picked up? The word 'only' confines us all there, making out that only certain blogs are worthy. Nonsense.

When I tell people about blogs and blogging, I tell them that their offering can be about anything they like, literallly anything, and in any format because they're doing it for themselves, not anyone else. When you start imposing rules on something as fundamentally free as blogging, then in my opinion we may as well all give up and start writing blurbs for corporate websites and be done with it.

You may perhaps think I'm going a bit overboard here and getting het up for nothing, but I really do feel strongly about this and it's been a bug bear of mine for a long time that the only people who are seen to have a credible opinion or 'right' to say anything about blogs are techie-like people or business people, when in fact we all, no matter our background or experience, have that right. Pandering to the the notion that 'we're not worthy' only serves to allow people like this guy to impose HIS 'rules' on us and suck the life out of blogging. I may not know what an RSS feed is, or what trackback is, or how to import files, or write HTML code and I might not know how to increase my readership by 10,000 a week but you know what - I don't really care. I blog for me, I blog to make myself happy, I blog to entertain, to infuriate, to express myself, to get things off my chest. What I don't do, is blog by numbers.

I want to point to a sentence from the website which explains what their site is all about and why they started it up which states: " focusing on helping people have their own voice on the web and organizing the world's information from the personal perspective" which I think says it all. "Helping people have their own voice on the web" there it is, plain and simple. Their own voice, not some 'expert' voice or a constricted voice or Jim Estill's voice, but their own.

Of course I understand that blogging can't be a total free-for-all in that for example, a blog featuring child pornography should never be condoned, but once bloggers don't break the law and extend the same common courtesies and manners to their readers that they do in all other walks of life, then there should be no limitations, no boundaries, no rules.

As a journalist, I feel very strongly about freedom of speech and freedom to express oneself and I believe, wholeheartedly, that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to be creative and that imposing rules on blogging is a dangerous road to go down, one that I want no hand, act or part in.

So, I urge you all to reject rules for your blog, change your theme at will, write randomly, post pictures, post once a day, once a month, once a year, whatever, don't worry about stats or readership or what others think of you. Blog for you, because you get a kick out of it, because it does something for you.

Don't blog for The Man.


At 11:31 p.m., Blogger parnellpr said...

Sod rules. I started blogging so I could talk about what I wanted 2. In short couldn't agree with you more.

At 11:45 p.m., Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

You said it Kaz and it had to be said. The rule is there are no rules. Otherwise, I'm leaving this whole blogging lark for good.


At 2:20 a.m., Blogger Ace said...

Thank you for being real! Fight rules. In this society, we need to fight it. Thank you for being a minister of anarchy!

At 5:51 a.m., Blogger Amanda said...

i read his rules and a couple of them are good,(like responding to comments, that's a good idea) but just as ideas not as fecking RULES. his last line about 'am i less mysterious now' just made me feel sorry for him, the silly fool.

At 2:06 p.m., Blogger KnackeredKaz said...

Thanks guys. The minute I pressed send on this post I thought 'uh oh' now all the bloggers of the world are going to unite and tell me to eff off, cos they love The Rules or something! So phew, I'm glad other people agree with me a little.

Ace, welcome to the blog, I don't think I'm a Minister of Anarchy, but hey, I kinda like it so I might make that my title from now on!

Amanada, yes, I too thought the idea of responding to comments and also being 'legal' were good ideas, but just that, ideas or guidelines not rules. It was even the title of his post that got to me The Ten CARDINAL rules of blogging...Cardinal! Like cardinal sin or something! And I just thought: who do you think you are?!

But thanks for the responses kids, I feel better for getting it off my chest!

Now, I expect all of you to go back to your own blogs and write something or post something totally different to what you usually post, to give two fingers to The Man...and that's an order! (Joke joke!!)

At 4:40 p.m., Blogger Cat said...

Crikey, missus, I know not to cross you!!! Only joking, completely agree with everything you say - in fact, surely blogging is truly the antithesis of rules? The only one I'm breaking is using my work's facilities for non-work purposes!

At 4:59 p.m., Blogger Pure Cork Boy said...

All you women getting all worked up and excited over something some gobshite of a man said... somethings never change! :-)

At 11:56 p.m., Blogger Rick O'Shea said...

Kaz fights "the man"! I likes it... Not too hugely fond of any kind of rules so I didn't actually read them... Sorry.

Still on your side though!



At 9:30 a.m., Blogger monty said...

Kaz, when any of us see him we'll tuck a piece of toilet paper in his belt and set fire to it.
It's one of the rules for bloggers...apparently.

At 2:08 p.m., Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

More thoughts on this. It's time you took this idea to a whole new level of philosophical discourse. Fiona (of MM fame) has an excellent article in Irishelections blog. See my blog for link and comment.

At 7:32 p.m., Blogger Cancer Sucks! said...

As a Canadian, I know of this wanker Jim Estill. We should apprise Twenty Major and Enerald Bile of his article. Let them have a go at this puck-slapping, maple-eating and moose-mounting chowderhead.

At 12:13 p.m., Blogger The Swearing Lady said...

Ah, bless him. I don't think he was about to print off copies of his rules and send them to every Blogger or LiveJournal account, like.

And just to be a complete arsepain, if the point of blogging is to write what you feel like writing, can he not blog about blogging? Unt ze rules that must be obeyed at oll times vithout qvestion!

And if a fella met a fella in a field of beans, would a fella tell a fella what a fella means?

I try to have a theme. It is "random crap".

At 1:51 a.m., Anonymous Louis XIV said...

Now Kaz,
since you're (probably) not holding out for universal popularity it shouldn't unsettle you bigtime if some folks think different. I didn't read those "rules", decided that reading your post was enough to decide I'm not going to waste any time on that.
Good job. You can sit down now and continue. Please. :o)

At 8:17 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kaz,
I've read the rules and decided to continue ignoring them. I guess all that success has gone to his head. He has a good article on procrastination though, might read it tomorrow heh heh...

At 10:44 a.m., Blogger badgerdaddy said...

First-time visitor, how lovely to be here, and more besides.

Just wanted to chip in and say DAMN THE MAN! FIGHT THE POWER!

Ta for that.

At 4:59 a.m., Blogger Jim Estill said...

Good comments all. Valid points. I have no defense - I was wrong. I appreciate all for taking me on. This is the beauty of the internet.

At 1:17 p.m., Blogger KnackeredKaz said...

So it appears that last commenter there really is Jim Estill! Though it could be a hoax, I know nothing about technology.

Anyway, if it is the real you, fair play Jim for coming on and saying hello and you're welcome.

I'm glad that you can see some valid points have been made and I would like to say again, that some of your 'rules' were interesting and helpful, but just as tips or guidelines, it was the word 'rules' that really annoyed me and others I guess.

You have another article on your site something like 'seven tips for travelling' or something and it gives people tips and ideas as to how to pass time in airports, pack efficiently etc taken from your own experience, and I found this article very interesting and not at all condescending. I guess it's cos you billed it as 'tips for travelling' not 'rules'.

Though, I guess the moral of the story is,like Swearing Lady said above, if you want to blog about rules, then I guess that's your right and no one can stop you!

I just won't be following them myself. Good luck though and hope to see you on the site again!


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