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Less is more. (More or less)

If only blog pages had a ‘red button’ where you could choose to interact with, in the same way that you can with your digital TV, ‘coz I think then today I’d choose to have a menu which says: ‘Press YELLOW for the short three paragraph – couple of pictures – a few quirky links that you’ve come to expect – type blog entry’, and one that says ‘Press GREEN for the long rambling blog entry’.

But you navigated your way here now and are reading this, so (and as always in these moments), the usual disclaimer applies : I’m not forcing you to read this.

Red -> Yellow -> The Short Version

Do you live in or near Newcastle? Just wondered, because in the last week of July I’ll be with the BBC on Tour 2005 team between the 24th and 27th of July. It’s a ‘come and see the BBC at work’ type thing that is touring round the country, and I’ve volunteered to help out with the one taking place in Gateshead. And no, I’m not just doing it for the free BBC News t-shirts that we all get issued with – honest.

Have a look at the full schedule here to see where else we’ll be going from the end of June to mid-August, but it takes in seven events around the following locations in the the UK :- Portsmouth, London, Harrogate, Gateshead, Leicester, Edinburgh and Holyhead.

May I also wish huge congratulations first to eBuyer.com who have invented time travel! Yesterday they sent me an email (dated 21/06/05) telling me that my new mouse that I’ve ordered will be delivered ‘as promised’ by 20/06/05 – only it still hasn’t arrived by the time I’d left this morning.

I also need to mention my latest ’50p person’, a very nice chap – a Canadian, and a complete stranger by the name of Scott Blair, who’s over on his travels Calgary in Canada, and he sent me an email a few weeks ago asking me if I’d like to meet up with him when he was in London, as he’d like to give me 50p, and meet someone who (according to Audioscrobbler) had very similar tastes in music to him.

But for that you have to have press ‘Green’ and read the long version …

Red -> Green -> The Rambling Version

517 Scott BlairScott spots me the moment I come through the barriers at the tube where we’ve agreed to meet. He approaches me, I realise it’s him, say “Hi”, and we’re off and running and chatting straight away as if we’ve know each other for ages. After you’ve done it a few times, meeting complete strangers off of the internet starts to becomes second nature.

Scott first contacted me out of the blue after he’s seen that my Audioscrobbler profile was quite similar to his, i.e. we both like a lot of cheesy eightes pop music (it suits my mood sometimes, ok!) so we have plenty in common.

We do the 50p thing and photo, and Scott offically becomes contributor (517), and he picks The Spoons “Nova heart” as his song, a classic eighties pop hit by a Canadian band.

We head for nearest Starbucks, where I note with some elation that they’ve now got pink coloured cardboard sleeves to hold your coffee in. The pink colour reminded me of the vivid shade that you might get in an iPod bus-shelter ad, and as my ‘pod was out on the table where we’d been comparing my ‘pod Photo with his Creative Zen it seemed rude not to take a photo. This according to Scott was “A very Geoff thing to do”. He has a point.

I also generally take a lot of stick for being a bit of a stick-man … well at least I used to be a ‘lanky git’ as I used to descibe myself, but Scott is now officially the thinnest person I know! It was quite nice to meet someone leaner than myself for once!

So we’re chatting, and chatting and talking about a whole manner of things, until we got to the point that has then set my head of thinking too much today, although I didn’t actually realise that it was bothering me until much later when I was sat quietly in a train carriage on the way home in the evening, and my brain started working overtime.

Whilst talking – Scott started to enthuse about several things that he’d read on my website. Things that I’d even forgotten that I’d written about, but also some blog entries which I do remember, and it suddenly occured to me that people know more things about myself than I do.

“The week when you got your new job last year” he said “was completely enthralling!”.

Eh? Enthralling. Was it .. was it really? I chuckled about it at the time, but it obviously made a good read (to Scott anyway), to the point where seven months on he was able to quote parts of what I’d written back to me, and I sat thinking “Oh … my .. god.. “. I didn’t know whether to be honoured or embarassed. Or both? (That original entry is archived here by the way).

It also reminded me of the time back in January 2004 (during the 50p thing), when I totally went off on one about something non-iPod related, and was the first clue in my mind that I might have to carry on with my daily ramblings after I’d finished collecting the money. I’ve gone and put it in the archives now and you can read it here if you want – especially for all those who took the piss in the comments section yesterday about my musical tastes, as it discusses completely why a ‘bad’ song can actually make your day.

This then led to a basic struggle in my mind, the base question always coming back to: Why do bloggers blog? What’s the whole point of it? Are we turning into a nation of self-obsessed “look at me” types as more and more people get online with the blogging fad. The news website ran a ‘why do we blog’ story recently, featuring Mr. Womble Porn himself, Tom – who says that he enjoys writing about his job.

But I look at my blog and I think that sometimes I write complete bollocks.

Yesterdays entry was dull, wasn’t it? I even said so in the comments afterwards that I thought it was. Have I now just got caught into the trap of thinking “Must…blog… daily…” and so therefore write something even if I haven’t got anything to say.

Then I started to analyse why I kept blogging post-50p thing, and figured it was probably due to the notoriety that it got me. And I got a kick out of that. But recently I’ve now started to get to a point where I think “I need to mention that”, or “I must take a picture of that and blog it”, when actually – quite frankly – the world doesn’t need that at all, does it? I don’t know, and I started to go mad thinking about it too much.

I was also worried that it was turning into too much of a link site – it’s all to easy to spot stories on the news website at work and for me to say “Found a great link here…” when you’re all perfectly capable of having a look on the news site yourself and finding all the interesting stuff.

I’m quite fascinated if people really think it’s stupid, or interesting, of whether they think I’m a complete idiot – yes I’m being paranoid. One of the guys at work (Tim) who I know will read this, will often make a sarcastic comment about something I’ve written when he sees me, but he keeps on doing it, so I’m thinking “Well hang on, you’re obviously finding it interesting enough to keep going back to all the time for you to be in a position to make a smart comment about it”, and recently he even asked me to help him put up some content on his free webspace that he’s got!

Also … is it a bit clique? Log at my blog-roll on the right there – I know most of those people, but I wouldn’t say that I read their blogs everyday, I would say I would look every two to three days, and then make a concerted effort to check them out all at least once a week. But here I am, blabbing on and having a done a post every day now for a very long time and people do seem to be looking everyday. Or is it because you’ve got used to me writing something everyday that you all come back looking everyday to see what nonsense I’ve been crapping on about this time?

And so on … and so on … the whole ethos of blogging is bothering me today, and I needed to get it off my chest and out of my system. I can’t but help think sometimes that less is more, and I shouldn’t get wound up all the time about writing everything and anything that crosses my mind.

I’m also a bit pissed off now that this blog isn’t anonymous because there are one or two things that I’d dearly love to get off my chest right now about certain people, but those people are ones that I know read this blog! (There, that’s made you paranoid now hasn’t it?) Grrr.

Final thought : I lay down the guantlet to all those who I’ve blog-rolled up there on right, to post a comment saying why you blog. I’d like to know why you do it, because I’m not sure that I’ve got any idea.

21 responses to “Less is more. (More or less)”

  1. Johnny Alpha says:

    Now it’s less anonymous it’s also more boring, as you can’t tell all the juicy stuff!

  2. pixeldiva says:

    I rambled about it a bit here recently.

    The longer version is that I started blogging because I was off work, unable to leave the house without a wheelchair, in a lot of pain and getting next to no help from the NHS or my employer. I had a lot of time on my hands, and a lot of stuff to get off my chest.

    I kept blogging partly because I was the only person writing about my particular condition from the point of view of someone living with it, rather than a pile of dry medical info, and partly because I enjoyed the feedback I got from other people who liked the other stuff I wrote and weren’t bothered or put off by the medical stuff, and bit by bit, I just kept going… and as I changed, it changed…

    … and now, five and a bit years on, it’s something I just do. It’s part of who I am, for better or worse.

  3. Stefan says:

    I’m not on the blogroll (yet? πŸ˜‰ ), but I’ll comment anyway. I blog because… well… just because I can, I suppose.

    I used to blog regularly on my since deceased website and I made a fair number of friends through that. At some point everyone went over to LiveJournal and I went along. I still have that LiveJournal, and I still use it for personal stuff I write for those friends, but I’ve gone back to “real” blogging now, even if not terribly regular so far.

    Some of the stuff I write on my new blog (or plan to write there) are things that wouldn’t really fit on my LiveJournal – and I’ll be off to the UK for a year in about two and a half months’ time, and the blog seems like a good way of letting my friends at uni and my family know what’s going on in my life. Sort of saves me the trouble of writing a couple of emails every now and again, ’cause I’m lazy like that… πŸ˜‰

  4. I blog because it’s just about the only personal way I can be a self-generating media node πŸ˜‰ and still get an audience. Of course I could just tap away on the keyboard at home and leave it on my machine so that no-one can read it, but then that would deprive me of the audience that I crave. πŸ˜‰

    Seriously, the mere fact that I blog has led to me getting laid (which is always a good thing!) and workmates occasionally commenting that I can actually write. Which is good. Plus it’s a good creative outlet.

    What’s not so good is the fact I am forever tied to my blog, and I run out of stories very quickly. Plus I had dreams of quickly becoming an A-list blogger a la Tom Coates or Choco’n’Vodka and being invited to San Francisco, but that hasn’t quite happened yet…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mate, ur a ledge…u got a way of communicating with us which seems different to the rest….keep it up mate gd job!

  6. Jono says:

    I don’t blog because I write for a living anyway. Or rather, that’s what I tell the people who pay me. It would seem too much like bringing the job home, and I do enough of that already. Besides, nothing interesting ever happens to me. Apart from that one time…

    Oh, and BDB, it’s a Self-facilitating media node. Far more wanky.

  7. zuzula says:

    I write for a living too but I love blogging – it’s so refreshing to escape the restraints of writing for a particular audience/in a particular style and being able to say whatever you want. I started it originally because I realised I was being lame and not keeping in touch with my friends as often as I should. So I set up the blog and said, if you want to know what I’m up to and/or take the piss out of me for it, then this is the place to come to!

    I never use my real name or talk about where i work – and if I was ever unmasked on it i’d shut it down straight away. My friends respect that I don’t want to be named, and as for the people who are strictly blog buddies only… they just know me as zuzula and god knows what they must think of me! But that’s part of the fun, for me!

  8. Interesting assignment for us on the blog-roll. Why do I blog? I really DON’T KNOW. Like some of the others here, I also write for a living (advertising copy). But I make damn certain that those who hire me DO NOT see my blog… because (i) sometimes I may want to rant about them; and (ii) also because I don’t take the time to make the writing pretty and don’t want to embarrass myself with crap writing that might be full of grammos and typos.

    I started the blog to keep family & friends posted on my trip to England and Italy in May, which was great and they loved it. So now, why do I continue it since the trip is over? I have no idea… and sometimes I feel like my blog is very very boring…like life in Hawaii just can’t be that interesting. I do get lots of comments from ‘readers’ to the contrary. So my ego gets just enough massaging to continue it. But just in case it is actually really dull, I also post lots of pictures… (according to Mr. Marshall here, too many and I make them too big.) I decided however, to refuse to be self-conscious about it and just post whatevah’s. Whatevah’s strike my fancy to post.

    The strange thing about blogging too is this..it affects your real-life interactions with people! For example, I called my mom yesterday and almost had nothing to tell her. We usually can talk for hours but were strangely left with nothing to say. Why? She’d read about everything already I’d done in the last few days on my blog! Now that was weird.

    But back to Geoff…I was one of the “strangers” Geoff met over the Internet. And he’s someone I can now consider a good (real-life) friend.

    But how do you know you’ll like a person you have met online? How do you get from Point A (blog) to Point B (real life friend)? I think you can judge a HUGE amount from their blog. It can help you “thin-slice” or make an instant intuitive judgment about someone. So.. I think it was from reading through G’s blog a year or more ago (long before I met him) which made me realize just what kind of person he was… offbeat certainly but also very thoughtful and intelligent. In particular, for me, it was when I looked at all the little charts and such that he’d made about trains being late and how much time of his life he had wasted waiting for them. Actually, it was reading through this nonsense in depth that made me realize that I knew I’d probably like Geoff in person. Anyone who would take the time to chart all this bizarre minutiae HAD to be interesting! If a little geeky. Right? πŸ™‚

    Acck, I see I have reeelly rambled on, hopefully not overloading the comments section.

  9. Johnny Alpha says:

    Hey Geoff. You seem like an Uber techno dude. You need one of these for work:

    http://www.daskeyboard.com/

  10. Kathleen says:

    I don’t blog, I don’t know you..yes you do ramble but people would stop coming if they don’t like it!! Theres been plenty of people who’ve taken a break from blogging recently.. DONt be tempted.. il have to go bak to uni sooner or later and obviously I need something to do while I’m meant to be studying!

    So Geoff what about these hydrogen buses?? Know theyre not tube trains but I’m no-where near London so want to hear about them…Have u seen any?

  11. Amy says:

    Canadians ROCK, or didn’t you know that yet?! πŸ˜‰

    (Amy, the iPod contibutor who didn’t have sufficient funds in her PayPal account to cover the ENTIRE pence, as she is Canadian and does not have a clue what the pence is in Canadian currency. Kris DID clear that up didn’t she??)

  12. Wayne says:

    hey it’s Friday already, and there’s no entry since Wednesday! Geoff, get your act together and blog something!
    [big winky smile]

  13. Neil says:

    I’ve been thinking about the whole blog thing myself recently too. I sometimes think I don’t blog enough and when I do, it’s stuff about me that interests ME.

    Should I be writing for an audience? Do people EXPECT me to write stuff and do they expect different content? I think, Geoff, that people now expect blog entries as good as your every day on here and you’ve managed to get an audience from somewhere (see comment 12).

    Sometimes I feel obliged to blog just to keep it going so people don’t lose interest in me, which probably means I’m a secret attention seeker who worries people don’t have an interest in me. I’ve always been kind of anonymous on the internet.

    Neil (Not In The Current Climate)

  14. Kate says:

    Hi Geoff, I found your site by accident – I was actually looking for a tube map at the time and got hooked with all the wacky and wonderful alternatives you had on your site.

    Your blog is great, I try and log on at work in my lunch hour (or during the day when no-one is in! he he)…. its almost like sneaking a peak at someone elses life, makes your own seem less boring because you realise that there are loads of other people out there who do the same things as you. The fact you blog the obvious and day to day makes you more human and funny…. don’t give it up, it makes my day at work more fun!
    Thank you.

  15. Ebuyer. Used to be good. Now seem to be having a few probs.

    Herewith the text of an email dated 22nd June promising delivery no less than 5 days in the past:

    Dear Dominic Sayers,

    The following items have been dispatched for delivery and should be with you on your chosen delivery date (Fri 17th Jun 2005)

    4 x Lazer Beam UV – (actual colour not shown)
    1 x Logitech ClickSmart 420
    1 x Uv Reactive Acrylic Atx Case In Orange
    2 x Liquid Neon Tube 12 Inch Blue
    1 x Relisys RDAB100 DAB Radio
    1 x Connect3d ATI DVI-I to VGA Converter dongle
    1 x Imation Cd-r 700mb 80 Minute 52 Speed 100pack Spindle
    2 x Acer AL1715S 17" TFT 450:1 8ms ‘Slim Format’ – Silver & Black – 3 Year on Site Warranty
    2 x Ebuyer 256MB PC133 168pin Extra Value SDRAM

    So I didn’t get to build my new orange PC last weekend. Chiz chiz.

  16. Scott says:

    Re: why do people blog, Don’t know the answer but know why I read this one. I’ve read these pages almost everyday since about the end of the 50p thing (think I originally found it from a link from goingunderground when I was looking for a tube map), although I don’t know Geoff, don’t live anywhere near London (although do visit quite a lot) nor work for the BBC etc etc….

    I read it because I’m genuinely fascinated by what on earth he’s gonna do/rant about next. It always livens up a dull lunch hour. I guess it helps I’m a techie as well and it’s a pretty good source of finding out new/interesting type stuff. πŸ™‚

    P.S it’s probably about time I donated my 50p to the pot so how should I send it, me not being local like???

  17. Ben French says:

    As a blog-reader not blog-writer I obviously cannot comment on why bloggers blog.

    However, the reason I have become a geofftech-obsessive is that all sorts of fantastically random things appear on the site. I first came on the site looking for the guy who had more front than Brighton in trying to get a free i-pod from strangers donations. Needless to say, I was quickly sold on the idea and me and my girlfriend both donated, despite not knowing Geoff in any way (I think being a spurs fan swung it to be honest!).

    Since then it’s become habit (check e-mails, check geofftech…). I love the fact that so many odd links and topics can be found in one place (where else would you find a part of the site devoted to the art of posting a banana, where another part of the site devotes itself to the worshipping of Fox’s biscuits)

    Keep up the good work!

  18. geofftech says:

    ~humbled~ !

    time to play some LOOOUD music to vent some emotion…

    and Kris – what a suprise … the longest comment out of everyone!

  19. Scott Blair says:

    I fear it may have been my excessive enthusiasm for Geoff’s blog that got him stewing over the whole thing.

    After reading the blog for about a year, and getting a big kick out of it, I couldn’t pass up the chance to meet him in person and talk about things that are of common interest (of which it seems there is a lot) and contribute my own 50p. I tend to remember useless information, so it may have freaked him out that I knew so much about him from his writing. It’s not that he is anyone particularly amazing (he certainly doesn’t see himself that way), but is a normal guy who does interesting things and always seems to have quirky observations to make. And he has great taste in music πŸ™‚

    Suffice it to say, that out of the three weeks I spent in Britain, the 2 hours I spent talking with him were just about the most fun I had.

    Geoff, don’t think about this too hard. Just write what and when you like, and we who enjoy it will continue to do so.

  20. Rianne says:

    Hi Geoff, I came across your site when I was looking for a thesis subject last november and I thought about doing something tube related. Although my current thesis subject is something different altogether, I’ve checked your blog almost daily since. It takes my mind off my thesis for a short time. I love your ramblings and all the ordinary daily life things. Keep writing whatever you like and I will probably keep reading it!

  21. Jon Allen says:

    I don’t blog, but I have exchanged a few emails with Geoff,
    and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before we do meet.
    It does feel a bit like a clique, I read a number of blogs
    on your blog roll ( well on going underground) anyway
    and feel like I know a tiny bit about these other people.
    Keep up the blogging. I can’t imagine ever starting a blog,
    god knows I spend enough time infront of a PC anyway.

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