As I’ve touched on before, I’ve a self-justifying preference for the intermittent, irregular, and the archive in my blog-reading and -writing.

A while ago, I heard a claim from a New York Times executive that half their traffic came from Google, and that, therefore, they loved Google. Despite suggestions to the contrary, they did not see the search-engine-cum-advertising-vehicle as a threat. But that traffic dynamic is the same for everyone, I think. So what you have done in the past resonates today with 50% of your readers. Better make sure it’s reasonably good because today’s story is no longer tomorrow’s chip-wrappers. At the very least, make sure it is useful to you.

Vicki Baker’s new blog, while republishing one of my more regrettable drunken episodes, nevertheless inspired me with how blogs can be used in a way that the great humanist and empiricist thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would have approved. She quotes Robert Darnton in the New York Review of Books:-

Time was when readers kept commonplace books. Whenever they came across a pithy passage, they copied it into a notebook under an appropriate heading, adding observations made in the course of daily life. Erasmus instructed them how to do it… The practice spread everywhere in early modern England, among ordinary readers as well as famous writers like Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, John Milton, and John Locke. It involved a special way of taking in the printed word. Unlike modern readers, who follow the flow of a narrative from beginning to end, early modern Englishmen read in fits and starts and jumped from book to book. They broke texts into fragments and assembled them into new patterns by transcribing them in different sections of their notebooks.”

In the end, that is more than enough justification to blog, and it was certainly partly how I conceived my first blog Not that I’m Biased (lost temporarily in a Blogspot vortex), and archived at the back end of this blog, for safety’s sake. I need to index those posts into a category and tag them perhaps, as they documented my thinking from 2004 to 2006-ish. By the way, I blushed a bit when I looked again at some of them last year. But they read now much better after the credit crunch ;-) .

Vicki’s a bit of a Kino fan too. And has blogged here more extensively than I have yet on the phenomenon that was Viktor Tsoi. I invite other bloggers to join the meme. Together we can defeat those evil machines!

As a footnote, Milton’s commonplace journal is currently on display at the British Library.

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