Monday, 25 June 2007

Sorting Out The Wheat From The Chaff

I think it may have been Johnny Mathis who once said 'There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood leads on to fortune'.

As a leading columnist of my generation, the mantle of sorting out the wheat from the chaff is not one that I wear lightly. I am profoundly aware of my responsibilities as a commentator, and know that my words are eagerly devoured by readers as far afield as Daventry and Kettering.

I'm conscious, too, that in the crowded world of the blogosphere, readers need a quick and snappy way of assessing whether something's worth their time, or whether they should simply pass by, perhaps with a gracious nod. My quandary has always been how to best guide my readers through the jungle, not just of blogs, but of the wider world at large?

Not for the first time, it fell to young Jasper Blunt to suggest a solution to the dilemma. "Pa," he said, "what you need is a widget or two - and I've got just the thing!"

Far be it for me to cavil at the excess of youth. Bill Blunt will try anything once, and - if he likes it - he may well try it again. It's a philosophy that has steered Mrs Blunt and I through some rocky passages, whether in the bedroom or elsewhere, I can tell you.

Let me introduce to you, therefore the Bill Blunt Bigged Me Up! Widget.

At-a-glance, you'll be able to see that Bill has given his seal of approval to something - whether it be a blog, a website or something more tangible - a service received from a shop, the decor and ambiance of a pub, perhaps.

In a busy world, you'll know that someone - Bill Blunt - has taken time out to assess and pass comment on something that might well be worthy of your attention. It's a service I'm happy to provide freely, without expectation of reward or favour in return.

At the same time, look out for the widget's evil twin, as you travel, and you'll know that Bill has gone on record about some dismal showing, some poorly executed website, or some convoluted piece of fiction that might best be described as derivative drivel, were it not for the author's sensitive portrayal of the work's central character, a provincial journalist.

When you see the Bill Blunt Blasted Me! Widget, it's a signal not to go there, not to buy and not to waste your time. Human nature being what it is, I am sure there will be the odd reader who will ignore my recommendations. That is their business. But the rest of us can get on with our lives, saving time, money and energy by 'not going there'.

I already have one or two ideas for my first Big Up! As for my Blasts, I shall keep my powder dry, for the time being. Let's just say that I shall be watching the development of certain stories with close and extreme interest, and leave it at that, shall we?


Daddy Papersurfer said...

There are people trembling now Mr. Blunt. We are all beginning to understand the power of the widget. Gone are the days when they used to lie innocently in cans of beer.....and they breed like Tribbles!!

B. N. Sullivan said...

Hmm, you've given me an idea. Perhaps I should start a line of Black Stars to contrast with the Gold Stars I already award on my blog. Or maybe they should be Black Holes -- or how about Black-and-Blue Stars (as in: "A punch in the eye goes to...") What do you think?

Bill Blunt said...

Nice idea, bn sullivan! How about a scrunched up sick-bag - or would that be a little distasteful?

Are people really so nasty about cabin attendants, though? If they are, I want to know, as they'll be first in line for a Blast...

the domestic minx said...

I have always been fascinated by your widget Bill...
I would even go so far as to say that I would like to display it's facsimilie on my blog...


Bill Blunt said...

Without giving too much away, let's just say that a widget will be wining it's way minxward in due course. And I think we both of us know it won't be a Blast!