Thursday Thoughts: Blogging

The current run of Thursday Thoughts questions is brought to an end by Maverick from VivaF1.com, who asks at this Sidepodcast post:

“Which blog article or articles have you written that you were most pleased with writing and why?”

An interesting choice to move away from racing and to essentially ask why we are doing this, and I’ve enjoyed the other responses from people explaining why they blog and which posts they are proud of.

Two articles immediately spring to mind and they are both very recent ones.

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The Importance of Social Media was a post I wrote about 3 weeks ago about the impact of Twitter on the racing world, from fans to media, to series, teams and drivers. The appearance of Claire Williams of the WilliamsF1 Team at the recent F1 tests armed with a mobile phone and Twitter/Twitpic accounts prompted a frenzy among F1 fans and blogs at the amazing level of access she was granting vicariously to the humble follower. Vision Racing had the same effect on the IndyCar community last season and I had been planning to write a Twitter article for a while on that basis. Claire’s appearance was the perfect excuse.

I liked writing that post because I see that as the purpose of the blog – to take a currently popular issue and look at it from a wider angle. I’m not trying to crow about knowing more about other series, it is just that is where my interest lies. Others prefer to specialise on one thing to the nth degree and that’s great too, I tend to take a broader view without knowing such detail. That post is notable as easily the most-viewed post I’ve ever written, and it got noticed by Vision Racing themselves.

In terms of the pure enjoyment of writing, the post I like the most is Managing Expectations from just a couple of weeks ago. It stemmed from an endless Twitter stream of negative comments over a few weeks, usually during NASCAR races – and because NASCAR runs Nationwide on Saturday and Cup on Sunday each to a good 3+ hours, that meant every weekend evening. It also occurred midweek in general conversation and was took in every series you can name. There were many blog posts too. I’m not singling anyone out, several people were at it.

People were complaining about races being boring before a track had held a race, or because of what had happened last year with no consideration for other years, or the changes made since, or because of what they thought the new IndyCar proposals would do, or boring purely and simply because they weren’t IRL on a 1.5 mile oval.

After a while I realised that people’s expectations had changed – rather than the old-style ‘best man wins’ format, they wanted to watch two hours of constant passing every week from March to November. Racing just isn’t like that for the majority of the time, and it never has been, so I decided to state that case. The next day I was pleasantly surprised to find some excellent comments in response, that it wasn’t just me feeling this way.

Why do I blog?

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Most of the time I blog simply because I feel like writing about something. Sometimes I’m guilty of blogging because I feel I’m expected to. Occasionally I blog because something is eating away at me and I need to get it out, and Managing Expectations was such a post. I felt a wave of relief when it was posted, and it was very pleasing to see the response – it is the posts like this that I like the best. I just don’t feel capable of doing one or two of those every week.

I like compariing similarities and differences between series, to take one idea and expose it to another arena. I also liked it when Mike Conway joined IndyCar and nobody there knew who he was. I was able to say so. Not many people read it because my blog was much smaller at the time, but that’s not the point!

I’ve been looking at the archive to see if there are older posts worth mentioning. For a long time I wrote reports of every F1 race and most IRL races. Unlike other blog’s race notes I was able to provide quite a bit of detail, I think because I can type quickly and because I expanded a set of more basic live notes. I did enjoy those, and in a way I’m sad that I’m not continuing the same format this year, unfortunately they were just too time-consuming.

I used to write shorter blog posts like this one, I miss those and I’m going to bring them back.

Here’s a note on the name of the blog from October 2008 which the people of Sidepodcast may get a kick out of, and yes I was plugging ARFL even then. 🙂

A little over a year ago I wrote about my first impressions of the Daytona 500, having never sat down to watch it before.

I’m also pleased with my posts about visiting BTCC at Silverstone and the Goodwood Festival of Speed parts 1, 2 and 3. I never did finish the FoS reports, there were supposed to be five or six parts. These were as much about the pleasure in the post’s layout as much writing about my experiences, I learned I could lay out photos in what I think is a good design. I’m not sure the layout has transferred correctly to WordPress but it isn’t too bad.

And finally just for posterity, this was my first blog post. Technically it is only the first post on this blog (or rather the old incarnation), in 2005 I had a Live Journal blog when I lived in Scotland, I was supposed to keep it updated with what I was doing so the family could have something to refer to… it didn’t last long and I don’t even know if it still exists.

In closing I’d like to leave a note about Thursday Thoughts itself, and while I’ve not answered the last couple of questions because I’ve either had other things on or I simply didn’t have an answer, on the whole I’ve really enjoyed the series and it was a great idea to encourage people to blog over the off-season. Thanks to Jackie and RG for the idea and to the gang at Sidepodcast for pushing the idea along and hosting the first few questions to get it established. I really hope it returns next off-season!

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2 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts: Blogging”

  1. I really enjoyed reading thist Pat, especially the first post. I’d never thought of having a look back to the beginning but it’s kinda cool. Here’s to more great posts in the future. 🙂

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