The Wrong Way to Run a Blog

Inspired by the BBC’s new Sherlock Holmes serial, I have decided to turn our company blog into a personal blog. Instead of monthly updates about various issues I will write more frequent posts about what’s going on around me.

Why? The articles in our company blog are quite good but it lacks the dynamism of a real blog – which should be updated every day, or at least twice a week, in order to attract a critical mass of followers. My business partner Iulia Marusca sets a good example in her new vintage clothing venture – which she updates daily on Facebook and Twitter.

But I started out thinking “who is going to read our blog?” and so tried to first publish my articles in other publications, in the media, resulting in a blog that is more of an archive than an active journal of someone located somewhere interesting (Romania). Although this is the wrong way to run a blog we do have a lot of readers and their comments are a lot more intelligent than one finds under most articles in the mainstream media — all the more reason to update this blog more frequently.

Getting published in the media is rather time consuming as you have to adjust each article to their “house” style, and write about something that their audience (and their editors) think is interesting. Often they ignore your masterpiece and hardly ever do they pay you or ask for another article. For a long time I have realised it’s pointless writing for the international media in such an ad-hoc way as I do (but it does feel good to be able to comment on things I feel strongly about). But when I write my own blog I feel much more free to really say what I think (rather than what I think the editor wants to see).

The other problem is fragmentation – social networks fragment our creativity, at least they do for me. What I mean by this is that my urge to write is fragmented into daily tweets (I use Twitter to write daily updates) less frequent Facebook updates, occasional snapshots on my photo blog – not to mention our long neglected family blog, the blog of my main client (a rehab clinic in Scotland) and my recent status as a blogger for Huffington Post.

Who better to sort out this mess than Sherlock Holmes? Although the great detective has been dead and buried for over 100 years he is still inspiring filmmakers, writers and the public. I’m not impressed with Guy Ritchie’s take on Holmes but I just finished reading a newly written Sherlock novel called “House of Silk” by the kids thriller writer Anthony Horovitz – and it is superb.

And I just got my hands on the BBC’s new series called “Sherlock”, consisting of three 90 minute films and a documentary. They’ve been making films about Holmes for almost a century but what’s unique about this one is that it’s set in present day London – and apparently it’s brilliant.

So far all I’ve seen is the documentary, consisting of interviews with the filmmakers and lead actors and giving a few glimpses into how they “blew away the fog” of nineteenth century London and transferred the action to the 21st Century. It seems to have worked and presumably they will make more.

But what really grabbed me – and what relates to my blog – is the role of Dr Watson’s as a writer. All of the Holmes’ stories are narrated by Dr Watson, the sidekick and assistant to Sherlock Holmes. In the original, Dr Watson keeps a journal. In the new BBC version he writes a blog.

At that point I had one of those rare moments of illumination: blogs are more important than they sometimes seem (there are so many crappy blogs out there that I’m tempted to dismiss them all as irrelevant). Blogs are important – in politics, journalism and culture – and some are huge, but they all had to start somewhere. They all had to build up credibility and a following.

In a Holmes-like moment of clarity I realised my mission; to write daily (or at least weekly) updates on what I see around me: what’s going on in Frankfurt airport where I now sit (I’m impressed with how McDonald’s have evolved into McCafe); what did I learn from my two weeks of hard labour in Portugal? And what on earth is going on in Romania? Is Bucharest still buried in snow? What’s the new Romanian government like (run by the former head of the secret service)? Will this emerging economy survive the inevitable collapse of the Euro?

To find out all this, and more, please start following this blog now. If you have been following us for a while I would like to thank you for being so loyal, patient and intelligent — the quality of your comments are far higher than anything I have received on the Huffington Post.

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