It has become a familiar sight now; a group of friends sat at a table, all on mobile devices with eyes focused on their touch screens and not at the physical beings around them.  Have you grumbled to yourself about this, expressing a sympathy that ‘times have changed’ and what a pity this digital addiction has affected our social reunions?  If not, then I am pleasantly surprised by your progressive thinking, however I think the majority would be gazing upon this scene somewhat more disheartened.

I too had this perception once, however I now hold my white flag up and admit that I additionally now form part of a sub-culture which rather than the a-typical user plots their next sexual encounter or responds to a work-email, will be on Social Platforms actively pursuing and interacting with my ‘online’ social group.  This is the reality of the times we live in now; there are 2 types of social interactions and it’s simply classified as online and offline.

Blogging however is a different beast entirely.  On a recent jaunt to the delightful Beard to Tail (I was fortunate to win their pancake contest which crowned Gundel Palacsinta as the flavour for 2013’s Shrove Tuesday), I mentioned my continued loyalty to their establishment to the jovial waitress and how I reaffirmed my first visit by writing about them in my blog.  “You’re not Bar Chick are you?” queried our waitress, warmly. “No, No!” I exclaimed, knowing full well of this fellow (far more well known) Blogger. “Ha, it’s OK.  I know who she is.” she responded.  And there we have it; notoriety shared by word of mouth. Bloggers are a new (well, perhaps less ‘new’ and now more ‘established’) group of writers that rule the online waves by sharing news, stories and opinions on places and subjects that can range from a simple restaurant review to the life cycle of worms.  The accessibility and visibility of our online presence completely supercedes the physical presence we offer as it can never match.  It now enables a person on the other side of the world to read our scribblings without having to first-hand experience the subject matter, because YOU are the storyteller, you are the eye-witness account that they read whilst in an alternate existence of varying time-zones and climates.  Parallel universes could even access this information if the World Wide Web eventually stretches to a Universe Wide Web.  Astounding isn’t it?

Living online though also comes with a huge amount of anonymity (to a degree).  No-one necessarily knows what you LOOK like, how your voice sounds and what your personal interests may be.  Some bloggers are extremely honest about themselves, throwing small dog-bones of their personality so an element of their real-lives be incorporated in the story line but I dare say that the majority create a more desirable online profile instilling a more enigmatic image in the reader’s mind.  So when you are in company of others, if your blog is fairly unknown or nubile, its almost like stating you are in a ‘band’ as it receives the same slightly withdrawn nod and an ‘Oh really?’ due to a lack of awareness and understanding of what it involves or ‘sounds’ like.  So in addition to writing online, a certain amount of personal marketing is involved, although this motivation differs entirely from one to another.

Clearly I cannot speak for my fellow bloggers, however I can state that writing is extremely cathartic for my mind, which is perpetually brimming with thought and versus my Pre-blog days when I simply shared a few simple tales with friends/acquaintances on a new establishment or initiated a (short-living) philisophical discussion, I can now frame my opinions as eloquently as I choose (and prefer), not vying to dominate the airwaves in a social situation.  My blog IS my voice, a veritable outlet for all my thoughts, ideas and musings.  And it does not stop there.

I am a self-confessed lover of many, many things. If I enjoy an experience, I am their  advocate, their zealous campaigner, who will, for no expectation of love nor money, gush enthusiastically of their offerings.  After my recent pancake dinner, I quipped to my friend that I should ‘work’ for Beard to Tail due to my glowing praise and recitations of their menu to anyone within earshot.  And it is understandable for spectators to question my sincerity, we live in a world after all that finds it difficult to conceive of the possibility of doing something for NOTHING.  Perhaps it is a case that I read and hear enough negative feedback through customer service experiences and national papers that I want to uphold a more positive vibe for struggling and/or misunderstood places.  Perhaps that is why I am not bothered by being paid for what I do; I am not pocketing a bag of silver for the sake of annihilating someone’s livelihood in written form (there are enough journalists for that).  My motivation is simple; to share passion and encourage it to spread (as well as hone my writing skills).  Another way I can translate this is why I cook and share the fruits of my labour with friends and colleagues.  Not everyone has the ability to fuse a recipe together and there are many more who lack the time, let alone the inclination.  If I can bring splendour to someone’s day in a single bite, enabling them to experience tastes and flavours that they may never have sourced or even considered, I have achieved enlightenment within them.  Now they are aware of something different and have therefore been educated as well as satiated.  It is unconditional, with only a slight desire for the murmur of pleasure to erupt from their lips (a little gratification for myself which I hope you’ll forgive).

So there you have it.  I may come and order a drink at your bar. I may select a choice of morsels from your delicious menu.  I may gaze upon the incredible works of talented individuals you curate. I may simply stumble upon you in the street.  If I like it, I will write about it, with my only desire that others will one day share my sentiments too.  This is a wonderful platform which enables the spread of good words and that is exactly how I intend to utilise it.

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