Monday, June 27, 2011

Blog off

Update: you need to look at Big Smoke and my personal site for my latest work. Thanks.

A few eagle-eyed regular readers have pointed out to me that I haven't blogged in a while. I know. In fact there has been a three-week gap. That's the longest gap there has ever been in this blog's entire history - including the time I had pneumonia - and every high and low of my life over the last four and a bit years.

Well, there's a reason for the break. I'm switching the blog off, but wanted to give myself a little thinking time before telling everyone in case I was going to change my mind a couple of days later.

To be precise I'm archiving the old girl. This is the very last post and in a couple of weeks I'll turn off the comments - and that will be that.


It's been fun but I'm moving on. I've set up a Jim Jepps website where you can keep up with any interesting bits of news, articles I've written and projects I'm supporting. I've got a few things in the pipeline so watch that space!

If there are two thoughts I'd like to leave with I suppose it's these. First, that the internet can be a civilised place if people treat it in the same way that they treat their own day to day 'meatspace' lives. That means the same self-regulation and the same willingness to not put up with the kind of behaviour that at work or among friends would be unthinkable but appears to be commonplace in some places on the net.

I think writing this blog has proved to me at least that it is possible to disagree with someone on the net without demonising them and to be critical of your friends without falling out.

The second is that the best of the web is where people think, not where people are fastest with the news. The blogosphere is full of people blogwarring with each other, jumping up to comment on the news the moment it comes out and knee jerking their politics just so they get in first. That's pretty unhealthy and it's led to parts of the blogosphere mirroring the worst parts of the 24-hour media rather than enhancing it or, even better, holding it to account.

I think we need to be more conscious of the risks of becoming an echo-chamber caught in a self-referential circle.

Twitter allows us to, for example, name a Tory MP arrested for sexual assault within an hour of it happening. What it does not seem to allow for is to not out that person until we know whether any charges will actually be brought. In our daily lives gossip is seen as a bad thing, and gossips are people we are generally wary of - much of social media encourages us to unthinkingly exhibit behaviour that most of us would regard as reprehensible in other circumstances.

Why else would a perfectly decent person serving jury duty think it's perfectly acceptable to contact someone whose case they've heard about a co-defendant? That's something I'm sure she would never have dreamed of doing before the ubiquity of social media but, in reality, is just as wrong as walking up to them face to face and discussing the, as yet unfinished, case.

I'm just thinking aloud really; it's hardly as if I've personally come a cropper of any of these tendencies nor have they been a theme of this blog particularly, but I am concerned at how the medium is distorting how we do politics and what we think is decent behaviour. The fact that these new technologies seem to by-pass that area of the brain where our integrity lies is a tendency I firmly believe we can counter if we work together to do so.

At least that's the way it seems to me.

Returning to the subject of signing off though, it's been an educative experience. I first set the blog up as a purely temporary measure as I wanted to test whether I could write a post a day for a month, but at the end of the month it was oh so easy to carry on. And here we are. It turns out that once you have momentum it's easier than you'd think.

Thanks to all the lefty, greeny, decent people who've been following The Daily (Maybe) for the last few years. Do stay in touch and good luck with the future - we're all going to need it.

29 comments:

Dougie Kinnear said...

All the best with your new site Jim.

Despairing said...

Sorry to lose you from the green blogosphere. Hope you pop up again in another place and time.

KimV said...

Thanks for writing!

Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed reading your blog Jim - one of the few I still regularly read, but fully understand the need to call it a day after a few years of it.

neil h said...

Good luck with whatever you turn your hand to next Jim!

luna17 said...

Thanks for all the blogging Jim. This has been one of my regulars in the blogosphere - sorry to see it go.

Strategist said...

Yes, thank you for the blogging. You have made a fabulous contribution - a serious & thought-provoking, fun and above all civilised site. We'll all miss it - but wish you best of luck, and look forward to following your next adventures on the new website.

James Mackenzie said...

*sobs quietly into my drink*

Jim, it's because of this blogging lark that we met, I reckon. What about all those missed future connections? Won't someone think of them?

OK, and selfishly, if you get the itch you know where I am.

Salman Shaheen said...

Noooo, Jim don't do it! Where am I going to get validation for all my opinions from now?

thedharmablues said...

Thanks for a brilliant blog! One of the few must read feeds in my Google Reader thingy.

Best of luck with all future projects and I'll seeya on twitter!

Peter McColl said...

Thanks for a great read over the years. I hope your new challenges prove as producive for you (and of course us, your readers).

And if you ever fancy writing anything...

Anonymous said...

Only God knows what I was supposed to do without your help, guys.

darryl said...

Sorry to see you go - there's been some wise words here over the years. Good luck with the new stuff!

Mick Hall said...

Jim

Good luck and thanks for all the useful stuff you have blogged, I well understand you decision to move on, on wards and onwards comrade.

weggis said...

Tut! In fact double Tut!

Anonymous said...

:)

Tim Goodwin said...

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

weggis said...

Just don't delete that RSS feed peeps!
I've known more than a few dead blogs to have an afterlife.....

Peter Cranie said...

You'll be greatly missed Jim, but will be going while you were still on top of your game.

Earthpal said...

Well thank goodness you're not disappearing altogether. I'll miss this blog Jim. It's definitely one of the best, if not the best in my view.

Good luck. I will check out your new website.

John Reardon said...

Sorry to hear that Jim. I've really enjoyed your blog. All the best.

peter said...

Great site very informative I enjoyed it thank you…cheers Peter

Ingenuity Lee said...

Sad to see your Blog go Jim. On a brighter note, I assume this will give you more time for the more important work of the Donkey Blog.

The Snarkery said...

I'm more of a reader than a commenter here, but thanks for all the writing & links.

Good luck with the new site! :)

modernity said...

Jim,

You'll be back :)

I expect the blogosphere's loss is the Greens gain? You'll do well!

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I will miss your blog. It has always been an interesting & informative read - whether I agreed with you or not! Thanks.

bob said...

Jim, I think I know exactly how you feel - I've been feeling similarly after 6 years at it. This blog, though, will be missed. Good look with the new endeavour1

John Mullen said...

Good luck with next plan Jim

Anonymous said...

I printed a lot of your blog out thanks my friend