Where is my mind? (Books, blogs and networks)

One of my new year’s resolutions is to read more books.

Like old books, unfashionable novels and books which challenge my assumptions.

The benefits of books are clearer, now that we also consume digital text and hypertext. I’m not talking about how the smell of the paper is wonderful or anything like that. It’s about the relationship between the author and the reader. The author can write with the assurance that you’re on board. It’s possible for him or her to explore the diverse ideas that make up a theme, with a high degree of subtlety. These are the joys and rewards of commitment.

This renewed interest in books is going to require time from somewhere. I’ve always loved books but lately I’ve been distracted by the glow of the screen. So for me, this means reducing the amount of time I spend in my feed reader. This trade-off between book reading time and blog reading time is purely one which I have constructed for my own purposes. I try never to complain about not having time to pursue my interests. I make time for the things I value.

Blogs and books are totally different media, clearly. They are not in opposition. They can complement each other. Web log culture, relatively young, should be learning more from books. Not only the facts on the pages and not only the histories they present, but how to explore a theme.

I love blogging dearly. I love reading blogs and I am excited about the potential of blogging. I’ll continue to encourage others to blog about subjects they care about – in languages they care about. There are not enough blogs.

Part of the attraction of blogging, for me, is being able to put a page on the web quickly. But for the art of blogging to develop, that is only part of it. It has to be about the blog over time.

Let’s look at reading. When I show people a feed reader for the first time (almost invariably Google Reader), they often recoil in horror at the thought of another inbox – and who can blame them? Some of this stuff is time-limited and should just flow past, not accumulate (Dave Winer highlights the “inbox” shortcoming of Google Reader).

But my favourite blogs are the ones where I DO want to read everything.

I’m not looking at any proper research here, but I wonder if feed readers are declining. That’s a pity. Whether or not that’s true, they certainly need a boost. Good feed readers help the art of blogging.

If people aren’t using feed readers then it follows that they are peck-pecking haphazardly at links to individual posts received via Twitter, Facebook, email, search results and so on. I’ve done it. This is what people presumably mean when they refer to the “death of RSS”. As a technology, RSS is no more dead than HTML of course and to claim otherwise would be silly. But people seem happy to peck and let others throw the odd link to a snippet or giblet their way. Either that or they are “subscribing” to their favourite blogs by repeated visits in the web browser, rather than with feeds. Or, of course, they are not reading blogs at all.

Right now, in early 2010, as well as a devaluing of feed readers it feels as if other forces are converging to unbundle blogs. Rather than whole bundles, they are viewed as loose collections of individual posts. Attention spans and loyalty to specific blogs could be at an all-time low. This is akin to books losing their spines and pages fluttering away on a breeze. Gone is the continuity. Each post now has to fight for your attention. Granted, the edges of a blog are always more fluid than that of a book.

But following a particular blogger over a period of time is part of what makes the medium good (and fun).

The popular blogs exert an influence on expectations and practice. Some of the most popular and influential blogs are banner ad-supported. These blogs have an intrinsic problem of course – they need to pull the maximum number of eyeballs. This results in tabloidisation, Gawkerization or Techcrunching, if you will. How embarrassing. Most likely this does not align with our own interests for reading a blog, certainly not our long-term interests. Typically we need truth, insight, fairness and all the good stuff.

Instead, every single post has to hustle for attention. Crafted blog post titles become more important than they need to be, that’s one sign. In the text, you can sense the desparation to create a Digg firework which will shoot to the top. You know what I mean.

A common hustle is to present any given story as some kind of conflict or controversy. If you’re interested, read a recent Giles Bowkett post where he simultaneously mimics this and criticises it. The title of the post is Blogs are Godless Communist Bullshit – and the urge to click that title is strong, for reasons he explains.

This is not an exclusively online phenomenon, it’s also discernable in mainstream media. But it’s exaggerated and accelerated in its online form. How? Inbound links and SEO rapidly solidify the attention flows. This leads to more popularity. And Google search is merely a popularity filter. It filters what comes to your attention on the basis of popularity, along keyword lines. That’s very useful but not always in our long-term interests.

Everything that is wrong with the most popular blogs (and news sites, for that matter) can be traced back to this lust for eyeballs. Baseless gossip, sexism, lies, slander, unpleasantness, bullying, you name it. Bad science. Churnalism. Lazy writing and endless lists. The set-up creates the wrong motivations for these bloggers. They influence other bloggers with their woeful example. All but the strong are infested by mediocrity. Stay strong.

Blogs don’t tend to identify their own shortcomings. Techcrunch, for instance, won’t tell you that it does not deal with useful startup or business news that falls outside the venture capital system. “Everything on TechCrunch revolves around the venture capital system”, as another Giles Bowkett gem suggests.

More and better blogs will dissipate some of the influence of the crap. I think a good feed reader which doesn’t frighten normal people would help too. Maybe we could then cultivate our attention spans and intolerance of cheap firework tactics.

I wonder about the concept of a “blogosphere” and the limits to its explaining power. The blogosphere is a subset of the web. In a sense, the web is a network of pages and people. In another sense it is a network of ideas.

Networks have become very interesting in the last few years.

Networks of people make up societies.

Networks of machines make up the world wide web.

Networks of neurons make up brains.

It’s fun to get reductionist and attempt to draw parallels here. For example, Kevin Kelly is fond of saying that the internet is ONE HUGE MIND. It’s a web of machines and people. So we’re just nodes in the network. His enthusiasm is scary and funny. He also has a notion that human beings are the sex organs of technology. At a restaurant he might be the one to inform you that the beef tongue on your plate is getting ready to taste you in revenge. Like me, he’s a theist and a Christian so I obviously find that side interesting.

The blogosphere that I am conscious of is what I read and what’s in my feed reader, a subset of the whole blogosphere. Maybe we are dealing with a number of smaller, only sometimes overlapping blogospheres. How small and how overlapping? The flows of influence are hard to measure. You can look directly at outbound links but it’s harder to see contextual density. Which bloggers watch the same television programmes and which ones read each other?

My own blog is influenced by patterns in things I read, including hundreds of blogs I’ve read that you can’t see. They reinforce pathways in my brain.

By the way, this is why a regular subscription to a daily newspaper can be destructive, when people choose poorly. OK, I’ll name one: the Daily Mail. It tends to appeal to people’s innate selfishness, the same selfishness which is in all of us. Daily Mail writers know their market very well and taken regularly and uncritically the paper can amplify this selfishness. I think it will handle the unbundling of news very deftly too, the online headlines are some of the most sensational around.

Bringing this full circle, the best opponents to these negative media are healthy networks. See above.

So I’ll carry on blogging and attempting to grow the good network by telling people how fantastic WordPress is. But I’m also taking control of my own mental sphere and stirring some books into it, sometimes deliberately choosing things outside my immediate interests. Some excellent books throughout history have never been mentioned or discussed in a single blog post yet. I’ll link to them and dig them where I can.

Blogging about Welsh politics

I’m going to be writing more about politics on this blog.

My interest is how politics might relate to technology, business and “ordinary” people in the UK – with a particular emphasis on Wales.

As a personal rule I try and stay away from the various personalities and day-to-day machinations, allegiances, squabblings, who wore what clothes and so on.

More generally, I’m not even a party political blogger.

Some of those things can be important (and entertaining), but they’re not what I specialise in. If you want to read that stuff it is available online.

I’ll carry on writing about the stuff I otherwise write about. Quixotic Quisling is deliberately an “anti-brand” which can contain anything I want for the next x years. Sometimes things converge into sense as you go along, if you know what I mean.

Don’t hold me to ANY of these things either. Any or all of them might change at some point. It’s my blog.

Now I’ve got the disclaimers out the way, on with the next post!

The evolving blog: things that resemble blogging

This loosely follows on from the previous post about Twitter being a variant of blogging. Incidentally, normal service on this blog may be resumed at some point or possibly never. Anyway.

Sometimes I think almost EVERY form of publishing in social media can be considered a form of blogging. Is everything here blogging?

On Flickr, for example, you upload images which have dates and tags. YouTube and other video sharing sites let you upload video, again with dates and tags. There are subscription options in these too – you add people on Flickr and you subscribe to channels in YouTube. There are variants on other video sites. These “content services” also have feeds of course. They don’t look exactly like blogs but I’m saying the default view you get is incidental to this concept of them being about blogging. Of course, the default display of a blog is incidental. You could take feeds or content from any blog or set of blogs and display them in aggregate in a multitude of ways. The point is, all are about time-based publishing which is essentially all a blog is.

Facebook is like a huge group blog. The newest thing is at the top. Posting a status or whatever is obviously like doing a blog post, but almost everything else you do is subscription. Clicking Like for something is subscription. Writing a comment on a post is a form of subscription. Becoming a fan of a page is subscription. Responding to an event is subscription. And of course, adding a friend is a subscription. It can only be two-way, symmetrical. I tell people Facebook is weirder than blogging and Twitter because of the privacy stuff. There’s a grey area between private and public, but let’s forget about those aspects for now. Facebook is a huge group blog. The things that are slightly annoying on Facebook are the non-bloggy things, mainly the private inboxes. There’s your inbox for requests and your inbox for direct messages. Another thing, if you don’t respond to an event you are automatically subscribed to receive direct messages about that event. That’s annoying because automatic subscription to anything is not bloggy.

Stretching this even further – and this is highly provisional now – maybe a wiki page can be considered a form of blog. The time-based element is most apparent if you look at the history page. This page shows all the edits that have taken place. It looks like a blog, except that instead of different posts it’s the same post being refined over time by multiple authors. And of course there’s a feed of this history too.

Or, the other way around, maybe a blog can be considered a history for its AUTHOR. The author is a biological wiki changing over time! Changes are occurring in the author’s mind and each post is a snapshot in time. So each blog post is a wiki edit. Or at least an indication of one. (If you comment on my blog, I will read it and you will edit me slightly. And the potental future of the blog will change. Have fun.)

Starting an open content service like Twitter, YouTube or Facebook looks like so much fun. I would do it differently to those guys, natch. If I were starting such a service I would look at blogging in detail for which features I could borrow. This often happens subconciously as people have absorbed the customs and features of blogging. Maybe I could start by adapting an old UNIX command.

I’m abstracting features of software here. When I studied Computer Science, I went to a lecture about “computing in the real world” delivered by a software consultant. He said that he’d been asked to work with a prison for their database of inmates. Should they pay to develop an expensive new database system for the prison, from scratch? In a stroke of inspiration, he suggested they just adapt an existing hotel booking system. A prison is a hotel, except if you’re staying you can’t decide when you’re going to leave. On an abstract level, that’s the only functional difference. Inmates are guests.

That observation has always stuck with me and I’ve always tried to look at problems in a similar way.

Of course, not everything is blogging. Now go and eat your tea.

The evolving blog: Twitter as microblogging

Veteran blogger Meg Pickard wrote an insightful post last month about how the adoption of Twitter has mirrored that of blogging before it.

Twitter the company never describe their service as “microblogging”. That’s a smart move from the viewpoint of marketing the service to people who might have preconceived ideas about blogging. But mainly, it probably helps each user and the communities represented to be unconstrained and perhaps more creative in the way they actually use it as a medium.

Twitter feels like blogging at reduced friction. Each tweet (blog post) is tiny and you can type it quickly, on the go. They are also quicker to read than macroblog posts.

So Twitter could be fairly accurately described as microblogging. Some of the Twitter observations Pickard makes are accelerated in comparison to blogging.

People write more posts (tweets) than on a long-form macroblog – in my experience. The “half-life” of conversations is reduced. There’s probably a whole bunch of research someone could do on that if they wanted. (And I’m not talking about the paper where they dismissed 40% of Twitter as “babble”. I think that totally missed the point.)

So I wanted to expand on Pickard’s post and draw more connections between blogging and Twitter, between macroblogging and microblogging if you will. Some of this will apply to Identi.ca and other microblogging services. But I think Twitter’s larger user base makes it a bigger playground for this stuff.

The post
Let’s start with the obvious. A tweet is a blog post. Your tweets are organised by time, with newest at the top. Apart from that you can write anything you like. Same, same.

Following
Following is subscribing. Again, there’s less friction on Twitter because it happens in fewer clicks.

The client
Your Twitter client is your feed reader. The default web client is just a web-based feed reader. You get everyone you’re following aggregated together. But it can also be set to a single blog (a single person’s Twitter timeline).

URL and feeds
Your blog has a HTML version and it also has an RSS or Atom feed. Twitter feels like it has feeds but they’re invisible, they’re simulated by API calls. What I mean is, when you click Follow you’re not made aware of what happened in the background, it’s a black box. Whereas when reading blogs there is a URL to a feed which you subscribe to. (Although every Twitter account has a bona fide RSS feed as well.) Also, because Twitter and other services have emphasised real time there are efforts to make blog feeds real time. Twitter, in turn, is influencing technologies that were established before.)

Replies
Replies on Twitter are like blog pingbacks. They notify @someone that you made a response to their post. But unlike blogs, the “pingback” of a Twitter reply is not visible to onlookers reading the original tweet.

Tags and categories
The counterpart of blog post metadata – tags and categories – is the Twitter hashtag, which was deliberately introduced by a user and then popularised. The Hashtags website is what Technorati is for macroblogs (or rather used to be).

Retweet
Retweets, usually written as “RT @someone” or “via @someone”, are ostensibly about acknowledging a source. They’re a somewhat strange byproduct of Twitter’s lack of a quick way to link to, and read, another tweet. For programmers, it’s analogous to passing by value instead of passing by reference. They’re not native to Twitter at the time of writing.

Suggested user list
When someone joins Twitter now, the site suggests accounts for you to follow. This helps new users to get started and see how it’s being used. But it also offers a huge boost and arguably an unfair advantage to companies and individuals represented. It’s an editorial decision made by Twitter staff, one of the very few such decisions on a service which is mostly neutral – which to some “feels” wrong. There’s no equivalent on the blogosphere, which is sustained by a network and not hosted by a single provider. If Twitter the company want to be seen as fair, maybe they should behave like the blogosphere.

Blogrolls
In the early years of blogging, a blogger would have a “blogroll” which is a list of links to their favourite blogs. These seem to have faded in importance and usage as blogging has popularised. But during the growth of the new medium, they were useful for people navigating the blogosphere and finding other bloggers to subscribe to. Blog rolls were also about giving kudos and link juice. The earliest form of blogroll I have noticed on Twitter is the #followfriday tag, where people suggest accounts worth following.

Twitter list feature (new!)
The new Twitter list feature is a bit like a blogroll. It can be seen as a public endorsement of certain accounts and also a way of giving kudos. You can have up to 20 different lists, e.g. colleagues, bands, journalists, people in my hometown – which is similar to blogrolls that have categories. With Twitter, the emphasis seems to be on usefulness to the compiler of the lists, with the openness and kudos as byproducts. Like blogrolls, the lists help to grow the network by helping people navigate. Twitter lists can also be likened to OPML files, which are bundles of links to RSS feeds. In other words, an OPML file is a blogroll in a file.

Besides Twitter has always had lists. Each account has a grand list of all the people you’re following and it’s public. So the list of people you’re following is a blogroll. Albeit massive and context-blobby.

I think I’ve talked about Twitter as microblogging in enough detail now.

Concise and succinct

Sometimes you have to prove things to yourself and this post is here to prove that is possible to be concise and succinct. I’m talking about blogging here but mainly about communication in general. OK, point made.

Localisation, language, Welsh in work and non-work

Yes, we spell it “localisation” round ‘ere. *

Quick addendum to the previous post about the difference between this blog and a fully bilingual website…

It’s amazing how many people get localisation and language wrong. Even Amazon and so on.

If I were creating a truly bilingual website then I would translate every single post, page, category and tag.

I would have two user-selectable language interfaces, which would be served based on browser language selection where possible.

The browser choice could be overriden by visible options for English and Cymraeg. There would be language-specific RSS feeds. If done correctly, the number of RSS feeds would double when the second language is added.

While I’m on it, there would not be any country flags on the interface. A massive bugbear of mine! A flag does not stand for a language. Never ever. **

If I were starting my own consumer-facing organisation or company in Wales, I would consider it important to offer both languages. (I would like to start doing this for work-related things where possible.)

For large companies in particular, usually this is possible but we sometimes get excuses (about demand but usually about cost) which add up to zero really. It’s about people feeling – and being – welcomed in their own country! There is help and expertise available for this, with design, “best practice” and so on.

If done well, it’s obviously a good PR move which can give an edge over competitors and boost your bottom line.

Besides, language itself is wealth.

* Or “lleoleiddiad”. But I couldn’t make a self-referential gag out of that.

** For example, I’ve seen the Union “Jack” flag stand for the English language. Can Jamaicans click this? Or is this some kind of joke on USA web visitors who might want English language, as if we’re now calling the Declaration of Independence into question? It’s hopeless to use the Welsh flag to stand for Cymraeg, it’s a country and not everyone living here uses it. Flags do have their uses though. Please join me in saluting the flag of the North Caucasian Emirate.

Bilingual blogging in a Google Translate world

OK, just done a blog post on here in Welsh. It’s not my first use of Welsh online. I’ve emailed and used Twitter and commented on other blogs and things in Welsh. But a full blog post. Boof. It took ages to write!

I wanted to jot down some assorted observations and lessons learned.

Google Translate was a fun toy to use at the end. I enjoyed that. There was a surprise application – it actually picked up several typos. Example: I saw the word “penderfyny” in the result and was able to fix the spelling to “penderfynu” (decide) and so on. I suppose I could have got this from a dedicated grammar checker like Cysill.

Some things you think are obvious come out wrongly. “Dyn ni’n gwybod” becomes “Man we know”. And before now I’ve seen it render “Caerdydd” as “Bridgend” which is totally wrong. These are byproducts of its statistical approach. If it had a few cheeky rules in there it would be a killer.

Oddly when it translated “Islwyn Ffowc Elis”, a person’s name, it rendered it as “Elis Islwyn Fawkes”. I had a moment of mild disgust where I assumed it had got this from data originating on Wikipedia. It turns out “Guto Ffowc” is what the Welsh call Guy Fawkes. In theory this data could have been taken from any source in both languages. I don’t think it’s using Wikipedia, let’s hope not…

Some of it came out ultra-cryptic. It could be partly my Welsh as well as the translation algorithm. Occasionally it has a poetic quality.

I’m particularly fond of the intro

This is my first post in the old language. First post is usually quite difficult. She felt as a step in the new domain.

Although I think the ambiguity of the following, in relation to use and abuse of technology, is unfortunate.

They see abuse and will see good things.

For the WordPress freaks – and because it is such a fantastic piece of software, there are only non-users and freaks – I am using a plug-in called Basic Bilingual by Stephanie Booth for the summary bit. This automatically inserts HTML language code and allows you to tweak your design through the CSS. It gives you an extra admin field for the summary bit. Mine was an English summary for a post in Welsh but you can do it with any two languages. It worked for me first time.

[UPDATE: actually I just lost the summary for some reason, after fixing a typo and saving. So I’ve reverted just to pasting it into the post. It might be fixable with the plug-in…]

I had a minor quandry with tags and categories. (The quickest way to explain the difference is an analogy with a book. Tags form your index page and categories are your contents. Kind of.)

I have a back history of tags and categories here. My blog has an English-language interface, with most posts in English but now some posts (OK, one) in Welsh. In the end, I decided to stick with the English language categories. For tags I have used Welsh language and tagged again with English translations.

For proper names like Google I’ll be retaining them, rather than using things like Gwgl, Trydar (Twitter) and Gweplyfr (Facebook). Which I have seen in use! These recall a comic tradition apparently popularised by playwright WS Jones.

Here’s the problem. If you click the “Google Translate” tag you’ll see all posts that relate to it. If you click “blogging” you’ll see all posts that relate to that. But if you click “blogio”, you’ll only see posts in Welsh about blogging. I’ll see how it goes. I can always go back and re-tag (the joy!).

There’s always search, that will work.

(Incidentally don’t you think “blog” itself, the very sound of the word, fits very neatly into Welsh?)

I think I’ve covered everything except comments. The visitor comments here are a mixture of English and Welsh, which is fine by me. (Elsewhere on the web I suppose it could be good etiquette to comment in the language of the post – if in doubt. But that’s a possible guideline not a rule.)

This is a personal blog. I’m a human being and want this to be reasonably spontaneous, like talking to your face.

My blog, my way! If anything, blogging is about freedom.

FREEDOM.

So feel free to comment below. Or set up your own blog and comment there in the language of YOUR choice.

Bilingual people with monolingual blogs. Give people a Make It Large option.

I’ve tried to avoid talking about blogging itself too much here. As in, I don’t do blogging about blogging. That’s not because there’s no value in that exercise nor because I have any particular aversion to meta (in fact quite the reverse). It’s just that I didn’t think I had anything new to say or contribute to the discussions. There are some great resources and conversations out there relating to blogging which are easy to find. This blog isn’t one.

Blogging has outlasted any forecast of its demise. Not a fad after all then. It’s been absorbed into our minds and society and new technologies. But some of those crazy myths still remain.

So let’s just shoot these down first. Some of the myths have re-emerged again around newer forms of blogging.

The general guideline is, if you find something of ultra-niche interest online – however boring or trivial – then maybe it’s not intended for you.

That includes somebody talking about their breakfast. I defend the right of people to “babble” and talk about their breakfast. It’s what people talk about.

As well as that, because of this kind of online sharing somebody can retroactively compile a pie chart of how many people had porridge this morning and so on, or rather talked about it. If they want to. There’s a cumulative set of data which might become interesting even if you don’t find the individual posts interesting. (Thanks to Mandy Rose for this observation.)

That said a blog doesn’t have to be merely a personal diary, again a common misconception.

My first blog was nothing like a personal diary anyway. It was and is named Sleeveface. It had a specific format, which has remained as I’ve continued to maintain it to the present day. It actually gets better and better because it has a “community” of amazing contributors. It clearly wasn’t really a place for my writings about anything.

One blog is rarely ever enough for one person. So last year I started this blog which has become a handy place for thoughts, sometimes of an experimental nature. If I just want to add a page to the web, I do it here. I have a couple of sekrit projects which will arrive here when I get around to them.

Starting was difficult because I didn’t want to repeat anything that people had done online. On the web there is always somebody else who is more expert than you. That is initially intimidating. What is the point of writing about ANYTHING? (Eventually you chill out with your status as an expert at just being yourself.) In time the activity becomes its own reward and sometimes I hardly think about who might or might not be reading. Then to get a little comment or to have someone mention it when I see them, those are bonuses.

But initially, thinking I could actually risk rehashing what other people might have said elsewhere, except in my own words was quite liberating. Originality is over-rated!

It’s all in the words. Which I why I sometimes love to use indulgent prose, long words and also refuse to kill my darlings.

From the start I knew what it wasn’t. “What not to blog?” is a useful exercise. Let’s just say that Twitter revenue speculation, cats and advice sheets for aspiring “thought leaders” were not on the agenda. Again, those interests are more than adequately served on the web if you look.

The fact it’s called Quixotic Quisling of all things should tell you I wasn’t aiming to be a “pro-blogger”. Likewise it’s not intended as a cross-section of my life. There are big bits of my life that haven’t made it to this blog.

Now that in 2009 the all-conquering domination of the mighty Welsh language continues apace, at least in my world, I’ve been looking online for things in that language. I’ve been banging on about how I’d like to see more Welsh language blogs in existence. Eventually I resorted to offering to set up some WordPress installations and otherwise help a few individuals who I thought would be interesting – out of the epic kindness of my heart. But people were too busy. And all the usual crap.

🙂

The most obvious partial solution was staring me in the face – just start your own. In line with the carefully constructed house brand for this blog (blobby at best), I have decided just to insert the Welsh language posts in arbitrarily.

There is actually a nice number of multilingual bloggers (in various countries), from which I’ve taken inspiration here, when it comes to the practice and conventions and so on.

I won’t be doing anything bilingually like writing something then carefully attempting to translate it. Pfft! The Welsh posts will have unique things. Each will have a quick summary paragraph in English so you can decide if you want to use machine translation to check it out.

Obviously if you understand Welsh, you can just look. And laugh at the mistakes.

If you’re something in between, i.e. a Welsh learner, you can do something in between.

I was chatting to nwdls about all this and also Daniel Cunliffe who does Datblogu. Often Welsh speakers choose 100% English for their blogs and maybe it’s because people buy into the idea of the big worldwide audience and the pro-blogger thing. Obviously there’s a bigger potential worldwide audience for an English language blog. Conceivably, at least. But it all depends which world you think you live in. If we really cared about maximising raw potential numbers, we’d all learn Mandarin right?*

When I went to Barcelona earlier this year I chatted to a German lady who pointed out “Ah, you speak Welsh. Well done. That will really help you in the world.”. This isn’t a general point about German people, it’s quite a common attitude.

One reason I originally decided to learn Welsh was because it’s the second most used language in My World. So it is helping me in the world, thanks very much for the insight lady. As much as it has been useful for work, it’s not just about utility.

It is actually bringing a tremendous amount of joy to my world.

So the actual reasons for blogging in the medium of Welsh are related to this point. It’s the bespoke, personal world within the web which I see. And would like to see. After the chat with nwdls, I realised there was no need to make a big choice. I’ll do both languages in one. And Google Translate could help non-Welsh language** readers to access the extra stuff.

So, thanks Google Translate.

Google Translate is not the first attempt at machine translation for Welsh (see also: Apertium project) and is also a bit wonky. But as with any machine translation, you’ll get the gist and it may not be long before we can truly link cyber-arms and skip to a better tomorrow.

If you’d like to read some proper research on Welsh language use in blogging and other social media then Datblogu is good.

Are you in a similar position? As in, you’re not monolingual but your blog is? Consider reconsidering.

* By the way, I would like to know Mandarin. But for different reasons.

** Incidentally don’t say “English speakers” if you mean “non-Welsh speakers”. The Venn diagram resembles a fried egg and Welsh speakers are the yellow bit. When you say “English speakers” you are ignoring the fact that it’s one of those bulbous fried eggs where the yellow bit actually includes the white directly beneath it. Heh heh. Enjoy white and yellow if you can.