5 Jul 2008, Comments Off on Welcome to my balcony

Welcome to my balcony

Author: Helen

This post is mainly for people who have come here via this article. Hello! Have an armchair. This time of year I’d recommend a nice glass of red, or perhaps a hot Milo, but the Bombay Sapphire is also highly recommended. You can have a chat to the wonderful commenters who come here and enrich my life. Well, we do get a few who come up and say rude things and flounce away, but our atmosphere up here is usually pretty good. People who make seriously rude or ad hominem comments may get disemvowelled, or chucked off the balcony (deleted). (Don’t worry, I keep the green wheelie bin in a strategic spot so they don’t break any bones, but just get wheeled away; we’re fairly kind.) You’ll notice this is primarily a feminist blog, and the “f” word does tend to upset some people. If you’re new to feminism, I’d suggest following this link and doing some reading before commenting.

The virtual location of this blog is an upper-story balcony in a Victorian terrace house in Kensington. The blog name was inspired by this guy, because I thought the image of someone watching from a balcony was a perfect simile for a blogger like me, who isn’t a player. We watch, think, and write.

As the tagline says, I’m an opinionated mother of two and IT worker, so unlike many other bloggers, I’m not a professional writer, academic, economist or other flavour of public intellectual or policymaker. I also post over at the group political blog Road to Surfdom, which has been going since, I think, 2002. The Balcony has been going since 2003. I’ve never totalled up how many thousands of words I’ve written, but it’s quite a lot. It’s been a blast, and I’ve met so many interesting people.

New to blogs? Look to your right: that long, long list of links? That’s a blogroll. A blogroll is where you put links to your own regular reads and/or blogs you think other people should know about. As a blog reading newbie, you can discover your own favourites this way. Once you’ve found a blog which really appeals to you, you use their blogroll to find others which are like minded… and then their blogrolls. You’ll notice that there are blogs to interest you no matter what your passions are. You’ll notice, too, that some of the commenters’ names are links; those links will take you to their blogs.

I should point out that I can never, ever get all the blogs which I think are worthwhile onto my roll, because I’m neurotic about it getting too long. It’s a conflict I always have. I should point out, too, that my server space and blogging software have been given to me by the kind and wonderful David Tiley of Barista and Screenhub, and his friend Sam of Spinach7.

The AGE article I linked to finally portrayed blogs from the point of view of someone who has valuable insight and knowledge of the genre, being a blogger herself. There’s a lot of rubbish written in the dead-tree media about blogging. On the one hand, there’s an obsession with comparing it with journalism (thus setting up a frame in which blogging can never seem worthwhile). Political blogging isn’t journalism. It’s not “breaking news”. Personal blogging isn’t simply a series of trivial comments about “what I had for breakfast”. Blogging is writing. That writing may tend more towards personal, literary, academic, political, parenting, food or craft, but it’s all writing. That is what we practice and we have a lot of fun on the way.

Another glass of red?

Comments (0)

  • It was a nice surprise to read the positive article about blogging in the age and even pleasanter to see you get a mention. Good to know we mightn’t all be so mad after all 🙂

  • blue milk says:

    Oh yay for you.. and us!

  • Ariel says:

    I just read the article and popped over to say so. Very nice post in honour of the piece – and I found out something new about you by reading it (didn’t know you were in IT).

    Yeah, I thought it was a great article about blogging, and captured some of the things I really like about it.

  • Caroline says:

    Yes, indeed. Well said, well done Helen.

  • Helen says:

    Thank youse all. I can’t begin to say how much intelligent commenters contribute to a blog.

    Caroline, I hope you’ll bring Beelzebublog back one day. I don’t have a Google ID (one more to add to my 1,999 password and user IDs – groan) so Im not reading the private one. As always, scratches for Luke! 😉

  • “I can’t begin to say how much intelligent commenters contribute to a blog.”

    And other commentors I hope.

    I’d be curious to see what spikes – if any – there have been in page views? And where they are from. That barista bloke should be across the metrics area like an octopus on a couch. I’m just curious to see to what extent a very substantial balanced article in a widespread MSM print guide that hangs around for a week influences online viewing.

    To some extent its a neat study to see what happened after Thursday. I’m assuming that by next thursday most people will have thrown out the old GG. And if anyone was inspired to have a squiz they would have done it by then.

    On the other hand – it’s probably a bad week for this sort of thing – I seem to remember its school holidays and that effects daily paper readership and also presumably net access.

  • Anastasiya says:

    I’m happy for you Helen

    Any plans to add a contact email address for the blog?

  • Helen says:

    Hmm, I did have one ages ago, but I must have deleted it somewhere along the line. I’ll add it next time I’m poking around in the right hand links section.

    FX, I agree with you. Sadly, when I moved to WordPress, I ditched the hit counter – that is, I didn’t add one on the new platform – as I felt it kind of detracts from the bloggy experience, looking at your hit counter and starting to obsess about the numbers. When I said intelligent commenters, I suppose I meant good-faith comments, whether they agree with me or no. 🙂

  • Amanda says:

    Ooh goodness, I couldn’t imagine blogging without a stat counter. Not to obsess over the numbers — they are small and constant which suits me to a T — but I like to see where people are visiting from, what Gooogle searches etc.

    Good article, and well said Helen!

  • Bwca says:

    Youse are the Blogistocracy.

  • david tiley says:

    The kindness we showed you has been richly rewarded. Thank you.

  • genevieve says:

    Helen, that was a wonderful article and it was refreshing to see bloggers quoted extensively throughout.

    And I had no idea Elissa B. was a blogger, so I’ve just nipped over there to tell her ‘jolly good show’.

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