Saturday, 16 February 2019

The Saturday List #207 - my ten favourite examples of idiotic internet behaviour

Over the past few weeks, I've been spending no time at all on Facebook and Twitter and almost none blogging. It has been bliss. This semi detachment has allowed me to have some perspective on some of the most unintentionally funny tendencies of some of the people who seem to have no life beyond tweeting and writing banal blogs.

Here are my top ten twattish behaviours as demonstrated by bloggers and other people on our local social media. Feel free to add your won favourites withc omments at the end.

1. Delusions of granduer.
Some people have a rather hilariously funny tendency to pretend that their little blog is a massive news corporation, with multiple staff and a whole team of  experts working for it, rather than a bloke in the bedroom of his flat with a laptop.

2. Disparagement of people who actually make money out of their work.
Some people who write online and clearly produce nothing of value love to throw brickbats at people who actually write interesting stuff that earns them money. Personally I salute anyone savvy enough to generate a few quid blogging. I am very jealous of the teenage fashion bloggers who have become billionaires by writing about makeup etc. I salute their savvy skills. It doesn't happen too often but if someone has a product I love, I'd happily big it up for a pile of dosh or a new Fender Strat guitar (Are you listening Fender Guitars). I make no bones about it. Nothing to hide, if you can do something well enough to earn cash, then do it and don't be ashamed, so long as it is neither illegal, immoral or hurts anyone.

3. Distortings blog stats etc to pretend you are doing better than you are.
Since I found out you could, I've put a hit counter, supplied by blogger at the side of the blog. This gives readers some idea of how popular the blog is. There are no secrets. When we pass milestones, such as most recently 2.5 million registered views on Blogger, I say a few words because I'm proud of it. Some people however make all sorts of ridiculous claims that strangely they never substanciate. The funny thing is that it doesn't matter. The most read blog I wrote is about the opening of Bang Bang Oriental. I put no work into it at all. Other blogs which I've toiled over for weeks have had a hundred times less hits, but that is irrelevant. what matters is that I am proud of what I do. If you need to claim you are doing better than the people you see as competition, then put a blog counter up and cut the unsupportable claims.

4. Slagging other peope off for their choice of topics to blog about.
When people start saying that they have a better policy than everyone else, it is a sure sign that they've lost the plot. I couldn't give a damn what Mrs Angry or Mr RMustard and Reasonable decide to blog about. That is there business and if they write a good blog, I am a bit jealous but also happy to be part of such a brilliant collective known as The Barnet Blogs. They are far too sensible and serious to indulge in slagging off anyone else. My advice, do what you do and live and let live. What is especially funny is when people invent feuds and perceived slights that don't exist. We advise anyone tempted to indulge in such behaviour to get out and get a life.

5. Having multiple social media accounts to congratulate yourself with.
This is perhaps the strangest of all behaviours. I manage 3 1/2 twitter accounts. The one I use for blog related and personal stuff is @Barneteye. I have the business one @MillHillMusicCo which I only use for studio related posts. I jointly administer and post occasionally from the @ABetterMillHill with my fellow Mill Hill Lib Dems Richard and Donna, to highlight Mill Hill specific issues and pictures. And I have a secret account that I never tweet with, but I  use to view people who have blocked me for various reasons. As a blogger this is a useful tool, but it only works if I don't tweet from it. What I don't do is pretend I'm someone else who thinks I'm marvellous. I have two dogs for such ego building activities. They think I'm wonderful.

6. Pretending that you are something  you are not.
I guess that as I'm pretty successful at what I do, I don't need to make up a back story. I can understand why someone on the run from the Mafia or someone with an unsavoury past may wish to invent a new persona. I fully understand the wish to big oneself up, it's certainly a massive part of music promotion, but as soon as you start to invent a back story that doesn't exist you end up getting caught out if you start making ridiculous claims on your blogs and social media.

7. Pretending to be an expert
There is nothing wrong with expressing an opinion. If you do so on a public social media forum, you often find that people who know their subject will shoot you down in flames. When this happens the sensible course of action is to stop posting from whatever nonsensical position you were taking. It is very unlikely that a quick google of things will give you ammunition to better someone who has made a lifetime career out of researching a topic. Just accept that someone else knows a bit more. I fully accept that someone like Mr Reasonable spends far more time than I do researching council finances. I often fact check things with him, if I know I am blogging in his sphere of interest. It saves many car crashes. I don't do detail to the same level, but I see my role is to put issues in the public eye. If I get shot down and learn something that is a good thing. Sadly some people on social media do not learn, they just shout the same nonsense louder and longer.

8.Pretending googling something is research,.
I always grown when someone says in a blog or a social media post "Just Google it". This is nonsense. I often google things, but it is not the googling that is research, it is reading reports that come up. These have to be well researched, have credible source information and be more than stream of consciousness rants. If I see something that is relevant, I always post a link. It is really easy to take a bunch of unrelated facts and use them to "prove something". For example I could say that Brexit has damaged Mill Hill because since the vote was taken, Google tells me that there are 17 commercial properties to rent in NW7 and Wikipedia tells me less people are using Mill Hill Broadway station than they were five years ago. It might be true, Google tells me these facts,  but it isn't research it is just patching together unrelated facts to support a hypothesis.

9. Pretending your Hobby is work
If you start getting a few hits on your blog, it is easy to get carried away. You are not a journalist, you are someone with a hobby. I play football every week at Powerleague. It doesn't make me a professional footballer. I'll give you an opinion on anything you like in the domain of football, but it is only an opinion. It is as valid as anyone elses. My blog is the same. I do it because I enjoy it. I actually earn a few quid from the adwords advertising on the blog, which pays for the odd slap up meal with Mrs T. I've been approached to write professionally on a few occasions, and have done so on occasion for very well respected organisations, but to me blogging is still a hobby. Until it pays the gasbill every month and the rent on the kids Uni accomodation, it is nothing more. Keep it real.

10. Hoodwinking gullible people that your blog is 'official'
This is the one that really gets my goat. I am a bloke that writes  a blog, quite a few people read it and we've had some great people write guest blogs for us. That is the extent of our official status. I am not the mouthpiece for Barnet, I am simply a mouthpiece for Roger Tichborne. If you agree with me great. If you want to quote me I am flattered. If you think that I have something worth saying, I've succeeded as a blogger. But a blog is simply a set of personal opinions. When people are unprepared to put their name to a blog that always rings alarm bells (unless there is a really good personal reason, such as if the blog features personal/sensitive information). When their is an implied "officialness" to combine with that, I always say "If that bloke is so successful and doing his 'job' so well, why doesn't he want anyone to know who he is. If I publish a guest blog, I always say who the person is and why they are blogging, if it  isn't clear. Very occasionally I withold a guest bloggers name on request, if there is a good reason related to privacy. I am especially concerned when people say that a blog is published by a company and they are unwilling to say more. You can check the company details at companies house -   -  This will tell you who the company is run by. If the company doesn't exist, one has to ask why. My belief is that anything to do with the community and public matters should be transparent.

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