Why I write this blog.

Why do people have a blog?

I have asked myself that question in the past. However, this posting has been prompted by Alan on Nb Buggerlugs who said "I know I have been very quiet over the past few weeks, well since we returned to the mooring. One reason is that things are very quiet and the other is I am not sure that anyone is reading this stuff."

So I thought I would do a reply to Alan but done on my own blog.

Some people might have something they feel is worthwhile to write about and in that case it would be something good for others to read. Some people have a diary that they like to keep - I look upon blogging as a form of diary keeping for voyeurs looking over your shoulder to read. The reasons for having a blog are as varied as the people who feel the need to write them. But, if it gives you an interest and some pleasure is gained, why not blog!

I have just purchased a copy of a book entitled "Letters to my grand children" by Tony Benn - A politician and diarist I have long admired. Tony says about the book "As a diarist I have chronicled the time through which I have lived in meticulous detail: but all that is history. What matters now is the future for those who will live through it. The past is the past but there may be lessons to be learned which could help the next generation to avoid mistakes their parents and grandparents made. Certainly at my age I have learned an enormous amount from the study of history - not so much from the political leaders of the time but from those who struggled for justice and explained the world in a way that shows the continuity of history and has inspired me to do my work. Normality for any individual is what the world is like on the day they are born. The normality of the young is wholly different from the normality of their grandparents. It is the disentangling of the real questions from the day to day business of politics that may make sense for those who take up the task as they will do. Every generation has to fight the same battles as their ancestors had to fight, again and again, for there is no final victory and no final defeat. Two flames have burned from the beginning of time - the flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope. If this book serves its purpose it will fan both flames."

Tony Benn is in a way - the Samuel Pepys of our generation. (The detailed private diary Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London and the Great Fire of London.) Maybe, having a blog is one way that you can write letters to your children's - children and for posterity.

Some people want others to read their blogs, because it allows them to build up a passive friendship. Friendships, which are at the same time, kept almost at arms length. Maybe the blogger is shy and retiring - just like me, oh hum!

When a blogger gets the occasional positive comment, the comment often serves as encouragement to go on to bigger and better things. If you enjoy someones blog, tell them so - if you have a different viewpoint tell them so. You have the opportunity to encourage, to correct and to befriend the writer.

Blogging for me is historical, I love history in all its flavours. The Internet is part of a new technological revolution. - We might have missed the early part of the industrial revolution but we were around for the latter part of it. We have been around for all of the digital revolution. The Internet content is being chronicled already, it is being backed up, as well as indexed. Personal blogs will have much more of an impact in the future. Some concerns have been raised already over the historiography of the Internets development. Specifically, that it is hard to find documentation of much of the Internets development. This has come about for several reasons, including a lack of centralised documentation for much of the early developments that led to the Internet.

"The Arpanet period is somewhat well documented because the corporation in charge - BBN - left a physical record. Moving into the NSFNET era, it became an extraordinarily decentralized process. The record exists in people's basements, in closets. So much of what happened was done verbally and on the basis of individual trust." Doug Gale (2007)

Already there is a growing Internet Digital Archive being created. It is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission: "universal access to all knowledge." It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and books. The Internet Archive was founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996. With offices located in San Francisco, California, USA and data centers in San Francisco, Redwood City, and Mountain View, California, USA, the Archive's largest collection is its web archive, "snapshots of the World Wide Web." To ensure the stability and endurance of the Internet Archive, its collection is mirrored at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, making it the only library in the world with a mirror. The Archive allows the public to both upload and download digital material to its data cluster.  The Archive also provides unrestricted online access to that material at no cost.

Internet Archive ethos "Most societies place importance on preserving artifacts of their culture and heritage. Without such artifacts, civilization has no memory and no mechanism to learn from its successes and failures. Our culture now produces more and more artifacts in digital form. The Archive's mission is to help preserve those artifacts and create an Internet library for researchers, historians, and scholars."

My blog will still be around because of the "Internet Archive" long after I have gone on to bigger and better things.  (Either with or without angels' wings, but I will not be surprised if it is in a warm place!) What the reader will get in later years is a potted history of my take - on my life - in my times. A first hand look at what my thought processes were. As well as what the issues were that motivated me. The reader will get a taste of my humour - a sense of my outrage and a sense of my values. If those people are the children of our children and ones that I may never get to meet. - I can't think of a better way of talking to them - without the use of an Ouija board!

Yet blogging (a form of internet graffiti) has been around for thousands of years. Often done for a reason that's has been lost in the sands of time. The cave man who blew powdered stone dust over his hands on to a cave wall (to leave the outline imprint of his hand) was leaving a statement. It tells us something about him in a tangible and at the same time almost in an ethereal and thought provoking way. That’s not to say that my blog with have this effect - but my blog - and your blog - and the thousands of other blogs - which are based on a common theme - will give enormous insight into our leisure time spent on the rivers and canals.

Leave them a few pictures in your blog, to let them see what the old curmudgeon looked like. Don't forget to smile! In the case of film and still photography, these represent an artistic and historic treasure that must be preserved. They can help to provide pictorial evidence of the way thing were. There is a lot of truth in the old adage "A picture speaks a thousand words". Our blogs will one day provide the historian and possibly family members of the future with a treasure trove of contemporary evidence of our time. Evidence left for them to read in a tangible and hopefully in a slightly ethereal way.