Human Interaction and Free Speech
I have not failed to notice the low frequency by which I am inspired and motivated enough to compose a blogpost. Judging from the various personal blogs I've read since the medium became popular, I believe there are two types of committed blogger: The Extrovert and The Diarist. The Extrovert seeks to invoke a response from their audience, to have an impact or to merely know that they are heard. The Diarist uses their blog as a way of organising their thoughts and memories in a more consciously-open medium than a traditional Diary. I don't believe either of these labels applies to me. In my offline life I tend to maintain a small number of close friendships rather than seeking a crowd of my very own apostles. I am generous and patient with these friends. The only diary entries I have ever completed were by obligation, in the form of homework.
Last year, I could have written about my position on science, its communication and its role in rebutting claims by quacks. I do hold a strong opinion on this matter, however I share the same opinion as many whose Twitter accounts I follow and those whose opinions oppose mine on quackery tend to be either incapable or unwilling to interact in a way likely to lead to either a consensus or a mutual understanding of each faction's position.
I could have written more about my pass-times, however these are by their very nature more stimulating to participate in than to write about.
So, why do I have a blog? The oldest reason would be that I am a geek by nature; geeks have online presence and this is mine. The second would be that I am a geek by profession; it may be helpful for professional acquaintances to find this blog and the link to my Stack Exchange profile rather than the half-hearted presence I was pressured to establish on LinkedIn. The most important however is that this is a place where I can publish my opinions and anecdotes without seeking approval or surrendering any rights to it. Social networks have a tendency to erode rights as they focus on the user as their commodity. Field-specific forums are a viable platform for some people, however extensive proclamations or diatribes can draw unwelcome ad hominem attacks or moderator interference.
It has been said that when repressive regimes come under threat, free speech and communication is the first human right to be curtailed. Many western governments carry protection for publishers and individual free speech in their explicit or implicit constitutions and we need to be aware of and grateful for the efforts of those who seek to oppose threats to these protected rights.
This is my freest form of speech and I value it greatly.