Thursday, March 30, 2006


Thursday Thoughts: Is blogging the ultimate waste of time?

Some people won't listen I've been pondering alot about the future of this blog of mine lately and whether there's any real point in continuing it much further. This doesn't stem from any disillusionment with my own opinions and I can assure you it's nothing to do with "stress" either, rather it's a disillusionment with blogging in general.

I've never been a big blogging enthusiast it's fair to say. What I mean by that is, I'm not one of those people who views it as being the future replacement of journalism. 'The next wave' etc and all those other worn out, tired cliches. I originally started this blog because I had immersed myself in the 'blogosphere' and I felt that the Irish blogosphere needed more Irish nationalist voices. I would say my views are alot more moderate than those of other republicans so I felt the blog had a purpose - to offer an alternative nationalist view. Now almost 16 months after its inception, I find myself wondering what is the purpose of this blog?

The Irish blogosphere recently lost a very good nationalist blog - Res Publica - when its owner Deaglan declared that its job had been done. Not many people understood what he meant but I think I understand. The purpose of his site was similar to my own - put out another view, express an opinion, challenge mindsets. He did that and so he put the blog to rest a year after he created it. I can respect that.

Another thing that has played on my mind of late are comments left by Dubliner, Observer and Paul from the N.Irish Magyar which were pretty illuminating for me. Dubliner had this to say:

"UI, as my cynical eye sees it, Northern Blogging is the Ultimate Waste of Time: (a) You can’t persuade people to change their sense of national identity, and (b) You can’t persuade people to change political outlooks that are, in actuality, purely a function of that sense of national identity. These aspects are formed by deep-rooted emotion, and not by rational argument. Ergo, rational argument is a futile tool to apply to the purpose of changing locked minds; and since there is no other tool to apply, the entire process is the Ultimate Waste of Time. In fact, most aspects of NI local politics are also filtered through that mental lockout mechanism, so the inevitable result is a continuation of the ‘normal abnormality’: stagnation, intransigence, and lockout/lockdown. They’re all royally fucked and there isn’t a damn thing you can do to change that."

I find it hard to argue with any of that. So if I'm in agreement with him, am I wasting my time by continuing this site? Observer made a similar point:

"Most Irish people, with enough interest to comment on blog sites, are pretty well stuck with particular mindsets and really want to engage in intellectual fencing rather than open debate (myself included). You can't afford to take it too personally, or expect to bring people to their senses (especially when most of them were never there in the first place)."

Paul likewise touched on this area:

"The vast majority of NI political bloggers are not interested in debate but solely in putting their pov across- and it's not even that important if they feel that other people are reading it or not. As long as they feel they've readdressed some perceived imbalance or injustice then they're happy. If I'm honest that was also my main motivation in replying to comments from the likes of people like "billy" etc here and elsewhere. Completely pointless and ultimately an utter waste of time."

All good points. So I have to ask myself - am I wasting my time with this site? A lone voice crying out in the wind? It seems alot of people that I come across have their hands on their ears so to speak. As Dubliner put it, their minds are locked. Blogging doesn't seem an appropriate medium to reach out to those people whose minds are open, who are willing to see both sides to every story. I just checked my first post on United Irelander and it was pretty brief:

"Welcome to my blog which I hope will provide interesting debate. I will do my best to keep things interesting and thoughtful. Enjoy!"

I'd like to think I've done well in that respect. If I did end this blog I'd be proud of what I've accomplished here. My passion for politics remains strong but my passion for blogging has waned big time. I remember having a discussion with Pete Baker of Slugger O'Toole one time where I used an analogy that being a blogger was alot like being a pamphleteer. You distribute your piece and while some people take it on board, most just tear it up and throw it in the garbage. There's only so much that lone pamphleteer can do.

And yet, when I think about ending this blog I'm filled with a sense of sadness. It's something that I've worked hard on which is doing better than it ever why end it now?

I wish this post could end with some conclusive message but alas it will not. If it came across somewhat muddled it's because that's how I'm feeling right now towards blogging. I've had aspirations in the past to write for a newspaper but it's not something I've seriously pursued. I don't think putting this site down on a CV would help my cause. Writing professionally is probably beyond me but that doesn't leave many alternatives. In the past I used to take the view that if I can engage and challenge just one person while blogging then the blog will be doing its job. Now I'm not so sure that that one person can be found in the blogosphere.

I have big plans for April here on United Irelander. I hope to have the Easter Rising feature heavily. Whether that will be one last hurrah for this site however remains to be seen.

A man can only be a lone voice for so long. Soon his voice will become hoarse and his heart will become weary. I don't want that to happen to me. But how can I reach out to people whose hands are clasped firmly around their ears?


<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

© 2008 United Irelander.