March 16, 2006

Raving Lunatics

I’ve recently noticed a vomit inducing quirk on some comments in blogs.

Have you ever heard those nauseating people who call radio stations and jump in with “Hi Stan, long time listener; first time caller”, before gushing on with the pea-brained thought that finally inspired them to participate after being a mere listener for 120 years?

(This being a more cringe-worthy nervous twitch than that even more gratuitous self introduction offered up by the 500 callers who, one after another, with banal predictability, get on air and immediately ask of the assembled DJ/s “how are you?”, as if the state of their day or their emotional equilibrium may have dramatically changed during the 12 seconds since the last caller asked “how are you?”. But, I digress, as is often my wont.)

Well, the same icky practice is creeping into the blogosphere, but the comment doesn’t always come at the beginning by way of an oozing personal introduction, it can be thrown in at the end, such as: PS – Long time lurker, first time commenter. “Hi” I enjoy your blog so much; I read it every day!!!” [Squeals, blushes, hands over autograph book; oooh, I'm your biggest fan...]

Eeaaakkk! Suck ups; go back to Nog (the Not Blog place.); there’s an obnoxious radio host just waiting for your call.


The above comments were a precursor, a random thought, a warm up, a bit like the “shorts” we used to see at the cinema, before the feature film.

What I really want to share with you is a feature article from The Australian, IT Business section from 14 March 2006. But I can’t, because I can’t find a URL.

The piece was by journalist Chris Jenkins, with the main article being “Blogging the Brand”. There was nothing new under the sun in the article, and a few thousand words seem to have been devoted, primarily, to promoting Telstra’s, err, *interesting* approach to corporate blogging. Telstra; and / or their corporate blog URL / name; or someone from Telstra was mentioned / quoted in nearly every paragraph. The rest of the article was padded with asinine filler. I expected a byline at the end, with “this feature article was generously sponsored by Telstra’s corporate blog (insert URL)”.

Of much greater interest was a “side bar” section, again written by Jenkins, which sat not so much on the side, or even in a “bar”, but more right of the centre, and about two thirds down the page, in a rectangle layout. This little section had no mention of and no quotes from Telstra.

David Holmes, from OneDigital finishes off his variously quoted thoughts about corporate blogging with the following relatively average advice for business (that’s not meant as an insult to Holmes, after all, business can be so dumb; they need all the common sense average advice they can get), but I was struck by how these salutatory thoughts applied, perhaps equally to we non-corporate bloggers; we little folk in the blogosphere. The ‘sidebar’ concludes thus, with quotations from Holmes:

“Risk has to have a reward, and my biggest issue on blogs is that there is no clear evidence that the reward is there.”

Unless there is an audience ready to lap up the material they post on their blog, companies may also find they are speaking to an empty room.

Blogs are, in effect, “digital soapboxes”, he says.

“Sometimes people gather around and say that guy has something to say, but in most cases you’re the raving lunatic talking to five people,” Holmes says. “How much time do you want to spend talking to five people?"

Err, well, as it turns out, in the fullness of contemplation & everything, quite a bit of time, it would seem, quite a bit indeed.

To my favorite bloggers, and to my lovely commenters, and to my ever faithful lurkers: it has proven to be rather fun & always stimulating being the raving lunatic “talking to five people”.

And may my conversation expand to six or seven people, any day now!

Come on number five, there really is a little more room on the couch, squash up a bit for the new comers; do try to make an effort to be friendly.


  1. Anonymous6:05 PM


    I haven't been a lurker, and it is truthfully my first time reading your blog. So, I am putting in my effort to be friendly ;)

    I think sometimes you almost have to post something like this to prompt someone to leave a comment. It was very inviting, especially with the imagery of the sitting with the other commenters on the couch.

  2. Yah! Good to hear from you Rob, and nice of you to drop by all the way from China.

    Damn, now I'm going to have to bring out the special comfy chairs.

  3. I think tha raving lunatic he was talking about is me.

  4. *snarl* Long time commenter, first time snarler ;-)

    If you look at my earlier stuff, I often went months without so much as a peep. I often thought about putting The BLOG to sleep because there was so little reward.

    Even now, I feel as though I'm just a post away from those days of toiling in obscurity.

  5. It's five people you'd never get to talk to otherwise, is the way I look at it. Any room left on that couch?

  6. Fish – no, no, he was referring to “lunatics”, not “librarians”. ………Err, yes, I see. Hmm. Perhaps we’ll just never speak of this again.

    Cubicle – (and I know that’s not even your real photo); obscurity; you? Never! But we do need to do something about the snarling. Perky? Could you try perky for me? (Come on, one of us has to do it, and it sure as hell isn’t going to be me!)

    Drunka – the big comfy chair near the fire is always reserved just for you.

  7. You didn't take the wink into account at the end of my snarl. *wink*wink* It was all in good fun.

    As far as blogging goes, you're only as good as your last post.

  8. Cubicle - on the first - I did, bunny! (I also like the snarl.)

    On the second: you mean every post has to be "good"? Oh gawd, no one told me that.

  9. Caz, I apologise for not commenting more often. I'm sorry, I'm so, so, sorry.

    I can't guarantee that I'll comment more often, but I do like your posts. You make me think outside the blog, as it were. :)

    And I will keep commenting every now and then. I promise.

  10. Hello? hello? of course the posts have to be the most terrific of all time!

    Bloggers lose interest.

    It happens.