Thursday, 18 July 2013

Mission creep

This blog has always lacked focus. It's had a mission statement that's brief, but also broad enough to drive a very large bus through ('musings on what really interests me and links to any good stuff I come across'). So far, so self-indulgent, but I've even strayed beyond this enormous ambit into knee-jerk responses to the mass media political trolling that passes for public debate these days, not to mention indulging in some general harrumphing about the state of the world, from a position of no particular expertise.

I'm (mostly) unapologetic about my inexpert opinionating given that, in quite a lot of contested domains, the term "expert" translates as "vocal proponent of the prevailing groupthink" (where "expert" really means "person who actually understands how this stuff works", I hope I have the wit and grace to step back and simply cite somebody who seems to know what they're talking about).

But part of my mission statement needs a bit of surgery, and the part that doesn't, I need to stick to.

The 'what interests me' bit needs to go. I know what interests me, but a random visitor doesn't, so that bit's meaningless. There are two ways to go with this one. If I had a very specific interest or domain of expertise, this could become a blog 'mostly about [form and function in antique snuff boxes/mastering Six Sigma quality management tools/whatever...]' As I don't, I need to go broad, rather than deep. Main themes so far have been:
  • sharing the sheer volume of odd, surprising, entertaining and interesting information that's out there and which might be worth sharing with any sentient being with a sense of curiosity
  • politics, society and the economy (mainly from the socially liberal/left quadrant of the political compass)
  • staring in disbelief at religion and other bizarre belief systems

It's now a bit longer, but it actually contains some actual information and the 'links to any good stuff I come across' are now implicit in the first bullet point.

That's the sidebar tidied up. As for the content, two resolutions:
  1. I must try harder to look for the interesting things that lie behind the headlines, rather than simply harrumphing at endless, repetitive debates that are framed in such narrow terms that they're, at best, meaningless and, at worst, a distraction. I could just leave it this to others, whose opinions are far more entertaining, or whose knowledge is greater than mine, but on the other hand, there are plenty of successful, highly-paid members of the commentariat who'd lie awake at night, screaming with inconsolable self-loathing at the torrents of execrable, toxic drivel they churn out for a living, if it wasn't for the ego-preserving oblivion of the Dunning–Kruger effect, and if they're allowed to get stuff of their chest, I don't see why I shouldn't occasionally vent my (mostly) harmless opinions from time to time.
  2. Pay more attention to my primary mission of pointing at really good stuff and saying 'look at this, people, it's really rather good.' 
Re. point 2. (above). Look at this, people, it's David Timoney's blog and it's really rather good. I've added it to my sidebar and I suggest that you dive in, enjoy and add it to your bookmarks, RSS feeds, or whatever.

Mission not quite completed for today, but one out of two ain't bad.