To Blog Or Not To Blog

It’s a question I often ask myself. What is the purpose? I did once have a defined purpose. Once upon a time in Mexico. I sometimes redefined that purpose, changing the ‘theme’ or style of my content. But it always had a purpose. Once upon a time, I used to earn money from my blog, from revenue brought in through running sponsored posts. Alas, that market is currently dead and the Mexile is revenue-less. I have sometimes used my blog to praise companies or products. And if I’m displeased? It’s a great place to vent my displeasure, publicly. Although I’d be well advised not to do so in France.  Nowadays, I seem to blog out of habit. Is my blog dying? Just a little bit. A bit of bird flu at the least. But some do say the concept of blogging is dead anyway. Perhaps I should lay the Mexile down to rest in peace in the bloggers graveyard.

Not so many people read my blogs these days. The stats page of WordPress confirms that the world was far more interested in my adventures in Mexico City than it is in my daily grind in Bournemouth. My readership nosedived in March 2011, the month after my return to the UK. It is but a third what it once was. But you know what they say about quantity. It is secondary to quality. And so it is with the little band of readers I have here. Many of whom have blogs of their own, which I in turn read. I may have departed Mexico in the flesh, but my blog list shows I am still very much in Mexico in spirit.

The thing about blogging is that you own who you are. You can present your favourite version of yourself to the world. It doesn’t have to be the real you. But then, the blog concerned would be less engaging and less believable. In my opinion. This isn’t to say that everything must be revealed unto the world. But it is good to get to know the real person behind the virtual pages of the web. The chaps and chapettes on my blog list certainly let themselves be themselves. Or else do a fabulous job of pretending. Either way, it’s why I follow them.

I think most of us also blog simply because we enjoy it. Writing can be therapeutic. Fun, even. I’m sure there’s a number of us, myself included, who’d like to write something of importance one day and gain a few minutes worth of fame. I’ve had a few ‘minor moments’ of international renown with the Mexile. This won’t be one of those posts though. I’ve already been scooped. Which brings me to the point of the post.

I’ve met a few bloggers before now. Some have been a bit of a mystery. There was, for example (and I hope he doesn’t mind being an example) the legendary commenter on Mexico’s many blogs. His first name gave away nothing. Male or female? Could be either. Korean or Danish? I couldn’t tell. There was no second name to help out. He had, at the time, no blog of his own. The great Sherlock Holmes would have had a job deducting the story behind the internet moniker of Mexico’s most famous blogging participant. He was, as I found out, a great guy.

On Friday I met another blogger. A meeting that has long been in the making. Our paths have crossed before, but alas it wasn’t to be. This is a guy who runs a very open blog. I expected my every expectation to be met. He’s very much a Ronseal type of blogger. Maybe you need to be English to ‘get’ the analogy. For the record, I’m not suggesting that anyone put Steve through a human sized blender and smear him against a door. But he is every bit the person you’d expect the Mexpatriate to be. He is what it says on his virtual web based tin. Which is a good thing. The Mexpatriate is great. It makes my life easy as well. I don’t have to convince you of his general decency and joviality. I can just point you in his direction and let him do the job. But if you read this blog, then you probably read his already.

So I’ll keep on blogging. Less often, I suspect. Although things can change. But alongside the therapeutic nature of blogging, the enjoyment of recording my adventures, there’s also the benefit of keeping in touch with the Kim G’s and Steve’s of the world. There are other bloggers I wish to meet to one day, though I’ll need to return to Mexico. To places like Puerto Escondido and the Pacific Coast. Until then, I present you with the sole photograph I took on Friday. Just one? In more than four hours of being in a fancy part of London. That’s unlike me, I know. It tells you how good the conversation was.

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20 Comments

  • Although I do not read your blog religiously, I stop by from time to time and find your posts very informative and well written. I have traveled to England twice to visit cousins, so I find your observations on the UK to be of interest.

    I hope that blogging is not dead, since I just started mine less than a year ago. It deals with my travels (primarily to Mexico and Spain). I started it so that friends could keep up with what I was doing when I was away from home, but it has resulted in some interesting benefits. I too have had the pleasure of meeting a couple other bloggers face to face during my travels. And amazingly a post about my genealogical research resulted in contact with a third cousin who lives just a couple of miles from me!

    Feel free to visit my blog. I’m going to add your blog to my blog list, and perhaps you would like to add mine to your list.

    Keep on blogging!
    Best wishes.
    Bill from Ohio

    • Hi Bill

      Blogging isn’t dead. I don’t think it’s about to die either. But it sure is different from the world pre Facebook and Twitter.

      I have now visited your blog, and added you to my blogroll. Which is dynamic, so you’ll not show up till you write a new post.

      • Thanks, Gary. Much appreciated.

        I am a bit of a dinosaur. I don’t have Facebook or Twitter or any of this new-fangled stuff. I don’t even have a “smartphone” or “i-phone” or whatever you call it… just the cheapest cell phone which I have only for emergencies and for calling long distance. I guess it’s rather amazing that I should even have a blog!

  • A few years ago after a visit to Mexico we were considering a move there for snow birding adventures and I started to cast about for like minded souls who had already taken the plunge and came across your blog and that of Steve’s of course and the many others that contribute to the patchwork quilt of knowledge. Unfortunately some havoc below Guadalajara scuppered my plans and put my wife off the projected flight plan so we are just going to back pedal for a while.
    Thanks for entertaining us with pictures and observations enough to spur us to get off our butts and explore.
    So yes, don’t hang up your quill just yet there are more people in the wings waiting to read tomorrows edition.
    Colm in BC

    • Mexico isn’t for everyone. And the wrong sort of experience…well, anyone can be put off anything if things don’t go right. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you.

      You hit on another plus of blogging. It also spurs me to get off my butt and explore. I need something to photograph an write about…

  • I’ve asked myself quite frequently why I haven’t been blogging nearly as much over the past two years. Sometimes I think it is that I have gone with the quick-fix of Facebook. But in serious review I have come to the theory that I no longer care as much about chronicling my life as I used to. A blog seems more permanent, more substantial somehow. And look at the new title of my blog now on WordPress as opposed to Opera — an insubstantial pageant. One thing I will say Gary is that my view of your blogging hasn’t changed any, you remain the best blogger known to me personally, that is by way of friendship, and I admire you greatly for what you have done over the years. I hope it will continue. Take a short break, go to St. Petersburg and re-storm the Winter Palace, visit Scotland and throw a caber — hell I don’t know but it would be a shame to see your chronicle end. 😀

    • You haven’t been blogging as much? Ed, you new, poet-Opera blog has zero posts! Which is a shame…

      Truth is Ed, if I post something straight to Facebook, something short and snappy, I tend to get far more comments and likes. My blog posts automatically get sent to Facebook but receive very little interaction. Why not? I guess Facebookers want instant gratification. Unless there’s the promise of a kitten at the en of it, most people won’t click on links. But you know what? I just like the independence of posting my blog.

      I also think that I may have failed to deliver one of the main points I had intended with this post. The point being that meeting people like Steve makes blogging all worthwhile. Of course I will continue. It would be really nice to have a coffee with you some day Ed. Never say never. I guess the main problem is that you’re unlikely to go to London in the foreseeable and I would struggle to point out Spokane on the map. I’m assuming it’s North West US. I’m happy if it’s at least north of Texas… 🙂

      • Well my dream is to go to Paris, so maybe we could meet up there and have a little wine in Montparnasse. Not the ugly tower, just the area. Or maybe along the Champs Elysees and watch the traffic flow. 😀

  • So glad you’re not throwing in the towel. Yours was one of the first blogs I started reading, and then you know it was you that got me started on adding photography to mine when it was dying on the vine. If ever you’re in San Francisco area….

  • Having met Steve, I liked the candid picture you took of him 😉

    It’s nice you got around to meeting, there’s always a given – an interesting conversation.

    • When I took the photo and saw it on the screen, my first thought is that he might not thank me for it! Most people get awfully fussy about how snaps look. But that’s Steve for you. No airs, graces or pretensions!

  • I’ve always enjoyed your blog. It is good that you made the effort for Mr. Cotton. The man puts a lot of effort into his essays, personal feedback is worth more than money in many ways.

    • It was no effort to go see Senor Steve. The effort in getting to London was for another reason entirely! Which may, or may not, be shared with you all shortly. Depending on how it goes…

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