holiday warning

Christmas Tree, Norte Dame
Originally uploaded by robinhamman.

Christmas is going to be upon us before we know it. I’ve always hated that saying, often used as part of advertising slogans, usually by department stores with aging (and non-internet using) clientele, but in this instance it’s exactly what I need to say.

Those of you who are regular readers and/or friends will know that I always grapple with the problem of what to do with my blog when I go away: just go silent, mention that I’m going away, provide a list of links to sites I’d like you to visit, get a guest blogger in or set up advance posts so that it looks like I’m still there.

Setting up posts to publish on future days seems a bit pointless, except for maybe a very general “happy Christmas” type thing, since blogging is supposed to be about a conversation and how can you have a conversation if you aren’t there?

I have enjoyed having guest bloggers in to post a single post in the past. It interjects some new stuff to for me and you to think about which has to be a good thing. But this blog has my personality and is made up of bits and pieces of me: the way I word things, the way I wish to put things together, the feeds I use as sources, the tags I give to bookmarks the ideas that – from time to time – spring from my mind. All that stuff is me and, on reflection, I don’t think I should let my blog become someone elses blog, even if that someone else is trying to be me.

Going silent doesn’t seem a good way to keep you informed about what’s going on. and simply mentioning that I’m going away doesn’t seem like enough either.

So, here’s what I’m planning to do. I’m going away for a few weeks at Christmas. I’m going to leave my blog at home to look after the place and am going to try to completely forget about it for those weeks. To keep you all happy, and to avoid disappointing newcomers, I’m going to post an explanation that I’m away and some lists of links.

At Le Web 3, David Weinberger made a really good point about the internet, at least our corner of the internet, when he said “This is how we, WE, built OUR internet – out of links!!!!”

Of course, he’s absolutely right. Without links, the internet is a whole bunch of self contained content. Link it all together, and you’ve got something really valuable and powerful. I don’t worry that links send people away – in fact, I’m a strong believer that links keep people coming back. That’s exactly why I set my to auto-publish bookmarks here each day. If people see something interesting, or are looking for something and don’t find it, so long as I provide the link that gets them their then they’re bound to remember me as the start of the path they took to get there.

So, if I’m going to make up some lists, I need a bit of help from you to decide what lists you want. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

• The 5 sites I’m most likely to find material for cybersoc on
• A few sites by students and/or new bloggers I think do good stuff
• A few sites by friends
• My top 4 or 5 most visited posts
• The 4 or 5 posts I made that I wished you’d noticed, but no one seems to have

Of course, I’ll also leave links to my links and bloglines RSS subscriptions because lots of people tell me those things are useful.

Is there anything else you’d like to see? Is this whole idea utter bullocks? You’re the one’s who are going to be looking here while I’m away on holiday – well, at least I hope you do because I’m going to try desperately hard not to – so I’d really appreciate your help in making it something that will be useful to you.

You’ve got until 10pm on Sunday the 17th to let me know…


  1. No helpful suggestions for you I’m afraid, but your point about posts you’ve written that you wish people had noticed strikes a chord – it’s really difficult to predict which posts will be popular and get people commenting away.
    I’m leaving both of my blogs unattended for six weeks over Christmas and New Year, while I’m on holiday. I’ll just be leaving a post telling people that I’m out of town and when I’ll be back.

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