Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The popularity formula

The other day I posted a comment on the excellent Orphans of Liberty blog. I was commenting on an interesting post about Iain Dale’s new blog venture and the relationship between blogs and mainstream media:-

I never rated Dale’s blog – didn’t even bookmark it and won’t bother with his new venture. What I enjoy about blogs such as this one is the tone, the sharpness you don’t see in the MSM. Many professional journalists write very well, but many don’t. Those who write well often lapse into a formulaic style you soon get to know too well.

Bloggers seem closer to real life because, I suspect, they are and it shows. The MSM hasn’t come to terms with blogging because it can’t. Bloggers have something they lost a long time ago and don’t know how to rediscover.

It occurred to me afterwards that formulaic writing is actually popular. In fact popular entertainment is almost always formulaic. Witness the enduring appeal of TV soap-opera. One of my formulaic weaknesses is the detective story. I suspect we all have our formulaic likes and dislikes. In fact I suspect we must have, because an aspect of entertainment is predictability, or if you prefer - safety.

Yet it is when we depart from the formulaic that life becomes interesting - and less safe. Many blogs do a good job of avoiding the formulaic, but they could be a minority interest. Maybe if a blog aims to become popular it also has to become formulaic.

Just a thought I decided to share in the unlikely event of this blog becoming popular...

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