x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Everyone's a blogger

Observing life These days, everyone I know seems to have a blog. They are blogging about their cooking, their travels, their babies and their riveting social schedule of experimental theatre, ukelele classes and politics seminars.

These days, everyone I know seems to have a blog. They are blogging about their cooking, their travels, their babies and their riveting social schedule of experimental theatre, ukelele classes and politics seminars. I quite like the idea of having a blog. But what on earth is there left to blog about? How many more obscure challenges remain that can be recorded in minute detail - and then turned into a lucrative book deal. Kayaking the Amazon with only an iPhone as a guide? Cooking the whole of Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess using only a camp fire and a spatula? The fact that I don't want to do either of those things is neither here nor there. As a writer, isn't it almost par for the course that you have a blog in which you waffle on about something?

Even non-writers are at it. My friend back home does a classic 9-5 job, for which she earns a fortune sorting spreadsheets and ordering office supplies. Or at least that's what her boss thinks she does. In fact, she is blogging frantically about all the dates she goes on, the goings-on in her office and her opinions on current affairs. It is compulsive reading. Perhaps it's the voyeuristic insight into someone else's life. Or perhaps it's because her life as a kind of cerebral Bridget Jones is actually rather fascinating. Either way, she has managed to acquire several hundred readers who regularly comment, offering helpful advice on her romantic dilemmas. Another friend, and slightly less successful blogger, who recently became a mother, started one on behalf of her baby. "Today I managed some puréed carrots and played with my mummy," it read. Someone must have had a quiet word with her because it is, thankfully, no longer.

I am a big fan of the blog, of its ability to connect people and to unleash latent creativity. And yet I can't quite bring myself to write one. The best, I find, are by people who have something to say. One of my favourites is by a woman going through a messy divorce. It is hilarious, poignant and insightful. Another is by a woman who is struggling with infertility (both these bloggers now have book deals). It may be rather morbid, but at least they have something important to impart about their experiences, and from which others can learn. I'm not wishing either of those situations upon myself, but unless you have something really meaty to share, why do it? If I want my family to know what I'm up to, I can pick up the telephone.

And then there's the name, which is the ultimate deal breaker. An unimaginative name tends to reflect the content - something I would do well to remember next time I try to Google "good names for blogs".