Saturday, 12 April 2008


Two or three blogs I read have all recently mentioned something about what and why they write and how they sometimes have ideas and other times it all goes blank.

A related question is whether writing about writing is part of the equation.

I say "anything goes" in a blog because, for each of us, its up to us to decide what we think is important, of interest or merely whimsical. Most days there will be something noteworthy, whether from a chance encounter with a van full of police, something on the telly, somewhere we've visited, what the politicians are doing, the latest groovy record from the Long Blondes and why Time Out's reviewer was wrong, whatever happened to cassette tapes or even whether its time to put fresh petrol in the mower now the grass has started to grow again.

Some say a proper blog should be mono-themed. "All about tote-bags" or similar. I'm sure this can help attract readers by the subject matter and even my dormant MIDI files site that I created one rainy day has clocked up four thousand hits without me ever adding any new content.

Single themes helps create limits and a type of community. For some people there's the comfort of rules, regulations and boundaries. Actually, for some there's the sheer genius of interpretation within a themed boundary. Checkout this week's Rick Astley pie chart, wonderbra yellow platform lines, Penrith's warning sign and IKEA furnished tube carriages.

I was going to post about adding videos to flickr today, but then I noticed the immediate phenomenon of new self appointed policemen operating on the site. There's already a community debate about whether or not flickr should even allow video to be added to its existing photography. Flickr have been clever though and already limit the video to 90 seconds, so its intended to be 'long photographs' and short artworks.

I innocently added a couple of snippets from my travels around London, to support the new London Video group, and as a consequence noticed the new regulators of the broader flickr video content. They seem to be patrolling to indicate in some cases that they don't approve of video additions to flickr. In other cases they've been adding their home made badges to videos which they thought had been edited or adapted in ways that they didn't think were appropriate to the new flickr ideas.

Personally, I'd rather give the site a chance to develop before applying the brakes in what can only be the first few days. I'm pretty sure the 90 second limit will stop much of the tv-download youtube content from being applied and it probably makes sense to give it a chance for people to experiment and find new styles.

I suppose its about living with the evolutions of the media and in much the way that film and vinyl have their role to play. Anyone that has tried to make videos knows how time consuming the editing can become, so there's a sort of self regulation to the amount of genuine home made content that can be added to flickr in any case.

So as I reflect on my picture from a few days ago of cops descending on some people on a street corner, I recognise there is a place for controls, but we have to be careful that the vigilance doesn't undermine the freedom.

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