Category Archives: Blogs

Are blogger reviewers better than journalists?

I once read that any such question in the title of an article means that the answer is no. That’s true but only in the sense that the answer isn’t yes. I don’t think it’s even the right question but let me very quickly tell you why.

I was looking for a review of Naomi Wolf’s book Vagina and instead I found a bunch of highly politicised campaigns against Wolf and her pro-Assange stance. The newspapers hated her because they hated Assange and Wikileaks. I looked for blogger reviews but the book had only been pre-released to professional media bodies. Us bloggers had to wait. Even highly educated, rational and academic bloggers had to wait. It was these latter types that I wanted to tell me whether there was any merit to the book. Not the politicised journalists.

I decided then and there that book bloggers had no vested interests so were better than journalists.

I was then asked to review a restaurant’s new tasting menu and so were a few other bloggers and Bristol Bites who I don’t really consider a blogger but a professional foodie. She does it for a living. Some other bloggers did it mainly for fun and their reviews were more free and utterly uncensored. They were at times crass, badly spelled and just a poor reflection of blogging reviews.

At least that’s what my inner critic told me. Because with blogging, unlike with journalism at a newspaper or magazine where your livelihood depends on what you write, there is no one to judge what you should publish but yourself.

There’s no sub to check the spelling of the post you wrote in the spare couple of hours between sleep and work. There’s no editor to guide you in what’s acceptable and there’s no management to take the flak when you screw up. Bloggers probably haven’t read McNae’s media law and aren’t too fussed about being sued because hardly anyone is reading.

Why writing is better than thinking

Laptop full of stickers - I didn't add those!

I’ve known a few psychology students and graduates but only one has said something that I still remember over a decade later.

We were talking about the difference between thinking and writing and she pointed out that you write linearly. Linear order forces your writing into some kind of structure, but thinking, as Tony Buzan has written about, is more creative and less ordered.

I’ve found this distinction to be useful for me. When thinking about subjects I start off trying to find a solution and then my mind goes all over the place, just one more permutation of what Buddhists call monkey mind.

When writing, though, I can strive towards an end, and follow a path. There is an evolution of an idea, a progression and an actual conclusion. And most probably this helps provide some understanding. Often I don’t know where the topic has come from and how it relates to me until I’ve written through and reached the end.

I don’t rate thinking too much and prefer meditation or waiting for my intuition to kick in but writing seems to help draw both of these processes out.

My 3-year-old computer-hog doesn’t allow me too much access to a computer so I’m trying to get as much writing done as possible on my phone and then tidy it up later.

This post on One Man and his Blog got me thinking about why I blog (when I get around to it).

An allotment in front of St Mary Redcliffe, Ovagrown

There’s a woollen man sitting on top of a door of a house where poet Thomas Chatterton was born in 1752. The man is just sitting there.

A man on a house

The house is opposite St Mary Redcliffe and just next to Portwall Lane very close to Bristol Temple Meads train station. Cars pass constantly.

Reflected St Mary Redcliffe

In front of the house there are three plots. Two of them are dug up and one has overgrown cabbages and other vegetables.

vegetable plots

A plastic covered sheet of paper has a link to a blog ( and includes some pictures of previous produce.

paper in sheets

The blog was last updated in October 2011.

Wang, Tova – The politics of voter suppression

I reviewed the Politics of Voter Suppression and you can find the article on New Europe.

Barack Obama’s reelection to the presidency of the United States was fraught not only with worry about whether he would be chosen by the people or get enough votes in the electoral college but also whether fraud would somehow alter the legitimate results.

An electronic voting machine in Perry County, Pennsylvania, selected Romney when the voter chose Obama, automated telephone messages called robo-calls in their thousands told people that the election was on Wednesday rather than Tuesday; people queued for most of the day because manipulation of voting hours meant they were likely to miss out and many states falsely advertised for the requirement of a photo id where none was needed.

Many, if not all of the above, were intentional acts of voter suppression. From state to state and from legislation to personal acts of intimidation there have been myriad ways that political parties have suppressed votes throughout the US’ election history.

Read more on New Europe .

Publishing on Amazon Kindle

I have just added Ephemeral Digest to Amazon Kindle and will post a link once it’s available. For the moment the blog addition is pending approval but no matter the outcome, I thought other people may be interested in adding their own blogs.

You can add your site to Kindle Publishing via its RSS feed and Amazon will pay you for every subscriber that adds your feed. This is available to UK and US bloggers for now and the process of addition is very simple. See the following post.

You need to add a blog masthead:

And a blog screenshot:

Then add a few words describing the blog, provide your address and details. If you are a UK blogger you specify that you get paid by check (sic) rather than via bank account and it’s done.

My addition is not for profit but out of curiousity and for purposes of finding a way to reach a different audience. I can imagine that other bloggers with a high volume of output like my friend Judith (Leeswammes) would have an appreciative audience if they made their content available in such a structured way.

To start using Amazon Kindle Publishing for Blogs, visit the link below:

A dating site for bloggers

Mayhaps is a dating site for bloggers created by my best friend and supported by me. To prove that it’s genuine, the only profiles on there at the moment are ours. Read the following to see what it’s about and if you fancy then do sign up. It’s not only for dating, it’s for fun and meeting people too. It’s also a great idea.

By Graeme

A Dating Site For Bloggers –

Yep , makes sense. I must say I’ve looked at doing that myself , there are certain bloggers who have pretty large followings who write about their dating mishaps and misfortunes and people seem to lap it up.

I had to have a think about this as writing a dating blog and using twitter does sound like a good way to meet people, so why did I bother building

Given enough time, and thought, I think anything can be justified so here’s my attempt to do so about my own pet project. Mayhaps is something I have worked on for months; months of late nights and early mornings, building something that may never be used or appreciated by anyone. For once I get what those daft people on Dragons Den were banging on about when they applauded people’s passion for a fold-up toothbrush.

I love blogging and would love to meet someone through my blog. It would be ideal if I don’t meet someone in real life that I meet my life’s love via my blog and my writing. I just think it would be easier for someone to gauge what I was like, potentially,from a blog rther than a conventional dating site description.

I have written on my blog about a couple of dates and failed relationships and I can’t say I want to write exclusively about these things. There is so much more to life. I want to write about my baby goddaughter , or my allotment struggles, the martial arts I do or just a random night out with mates.

I like writing and don’t want to make my blog a product solely focusing on one aspect of my life.

I also wonder how much energy is required in becoming the subject of your blog. My blog covers things I do , I don’t do things for my blog. If I had to write about dates I would have to ensure I had dates and was dating rather than going on dates when I fancied the person. I would have to remain anonymous and I’ll bet it affects the way you date and see your dates. They’ve become a character in your story.

Now of course I am biased about my site (mayhaps!) . I want this site to do well, really well I hope. From people actually matching up well , meeting, things working, good stories occurring. I like to imagine all this from the blood, sweat and tears I have put, continue to put and hope I will continue to put into the site in the future. That of course keeps me biased.

Either way, site or no site, as a blogger I couldn’t write about one thing. I hope this site can accommodate both, those who want to write about dating, and those who don’t. It doesn’t matter so long as it’s what they want to write about.

Time will of course tell.

I’m only saying what you’re thinking, favourite blogs

Sometimes I can’t decide whether it’s Charlotte’s despairing but triumphant snarkiness that makes me love her blog or whether it’s her daughter Lil’s hardened and world weary glance. Just take a look at the photo of the two of at the about us page and see if you don’t become addicted to their life serial.

I love this blog and the recipes and tales of what Charlotte and Lil get up to. I love the photos of the little one even more. It’s ever so slightly moreish. Delightfully but also truthfully and not-so-fun-sometimes moreish.

Hard hitting journalism / blogging at its best

Abigail and the Future, favourite blogs

Abby is one of the mums on Twitter with a little one at about the same age as Mersina and she has been a great support for months now. I first discovered her blog and then her and then Theo, who turns one on January 27, and then the rest of her life.

She is articulate and fascinating and funny and lovely. I look forward to her blog posts and love all the photos she includes.

Her blog is one of my favourites and I wanted to share it with other people too.

Sharongooner’s blog, a favourite

I first noticed Sharongooner in the middle of a suicide attempt when other tweeters were wondering what was going on and whether she was ok.

She survived but the attempt was made because she had developed post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from rape, which also led to depression, flashbacks, supression, and cost her her career.

Hers isn’t a pity blog though or a charity promotion. She swears way too much for that and when she isn’t swearing she is tweeting puns. A lot of people think that Twitter was made for puns. It wasn’t.

However, she is a strong person who writes an impressive blog. The latest post is about perceptions and appearances which is worth a read about abuse by police and those in power. It also includes a window cleaner.

She has written a book of her experiences. Some of the money goes to the MIND charity – here’s a link.

From her:

I am SG from twitter, here putting words into some kind of order that will hopefully make them more interesting to read. Sometimes funny, sometimes provocative. It is a weird old life.

I also wrote a book about my experiences in more depth, and if you buy it you will be making a worthy donation to MIND charity.