Saturday, 3 August 2013

The most interesting person on the internet

It's tough work, this blogging caper. Twitter is tough work too. Basically, anything about getting your name out in internet land is a pretty big ask for someone like me.

And I'll tell you one of the biggest reasons why I reckon it's such a challenge. It's because I have to be interesting.

Being interesting is really hard work. If you ever get to see me, you'll understand why. I'm not that tall or short. I'm a bit on the thin side but not excessively so. There's nothing about my features that particularly stands out. I don't have a loud voice, or an awful lot of charisma.

In short, I'm not really all that interesting. And that can be a problem.

There are a heap of people out there on the web. Lots of them are better known than I am. Actually, let me rephrase that. Pretty much all of them are better known than I am. And many of them are actually more than a little on the famous side.

When you're famous, every one wants to follow you. Everyone wants to hang onto your every word. There's no need for you to go out of your way to be interesting. You're interesting, merely by virtue of being who you are.

I don't want to name names but I've followed a few of these famous people on twitter and checked out their websites or blogs, and to be honest, I haven't been particularly inspired by what I've seen. What they post is really not that interesting at all. But what does it matter? They've still got millions of followers.

For me, it's different. The only way for me to get even a minuscule amount of attention is to be interesting. It's hard work, and it really doesn't seem fair. Part of me feels like saying, "Right, that's enough. I've had enough of being interesting. I don't want to do it anymore."

But then I look at my pageview statistics. And I figure that maybe, for just one week, I can have another go at being interesting.



  1. Preaching to the choir, Jonathan, preaching to the choir. I am also not a very interesting person. I’m probably even less interesting than you since I never go out of the house hardly and have no interest in going out the house. I read, I write, I listen to music, I eat, I sleep, I watch TV, I tease the bird and take out the rubbish. Occasionally I hoover although not as often as I should considering how adept the bird is at tossing his seeds across the length and breadth of the living room. I suppose I do other things but they’re about as interesting as the things I’ve just described. I don’t even write that much. I wrote a poem yesterday, first one for about four months. I’m just pleased I rattled off that novella a couple of weeks back so I can still hold my head up for a wee while and say, “Yes, I am still a writer.” It’s not writer’s block. I’m fifty-four and never had that much to say in the first place. Most of it I said in my twenties and thirties, certainly by my forties. Oddly though I’m not unhappy with my quiet life. I never read enough when I was growing up and although I don’t read as much as I wish I could now at least I am reading regularly and most of what I read is decent. Since I expect to die in my mid-seventies—judging by my parents’ longevity—that means I’ve got about enough time to read another 1100 books. That’s a sobering statistic.

    As far as “getting known” goes—I really can’t say that without thinking of Beckett’s Krapp (“Seventeen copies sold, of which eleven at trade price to free circulating libraries beyond the seas. Getting known.”)—we’re all in the same boat. It’s easy to outline the problems but coming up with solutions is another thing entirely. I suppose ‘Be More Interesting’ might be one solution but I don’t actually think it is because there are loads of interesting things out there that barely get noticed. Only yesterday I discovered a singer who’s just realised her fourth album and she’s got a lovely style that I’m sure my daughter would love—she’s a big Tori Amos fan—but, of course, it was pure fluke that I ran across her. The problem is quantity. There are too many things. There’s too much to read, to watch, to listen to, to do, to taste, to feel, to think about, to try to remember. We never have time to properly digest anything. It’s all corn. Attracting new readers is only half the battle. Keeping the ones we have is hard enough. I used to follow some two hundred blogs. A couple of days ago I did a cull and that figures down to about fifty and many of them haven’t posted in ages but I’m keeping the RSS feed live just in case they do but I’m not holding my breath. People see something glistening out of the corner of their eye and go, “Oh, shiny!” and they’re off. My goldfish can concentrate longer than most people online.

    You might find this post interesting reading: The Readers Sound Off! How They Read, What They Like and Where They Find Us. It probably won’t cheer you up but it always seems to help, doesn’t it, to hear that others are in the shit with us? I wonder why that is.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the post - dunno if it was interesting or just depressing.

      Have a good week.