Thursday, March 17, 2005

A sad way to end

I feel like a bit of a vulture writing this, especially as it’s at the expense of someone else’s misfortune. But of all the perils associated with blogging (e.g. losing your job), nothing can compare with this.

Rob came to my attention last year in a big Observer spread on blogging. In fact I feel I partly owe my decision to take up the mantle to that story (along with the Bloggerheads campaign to get election candidates reaching out to potential constituents).

Although he does tend to write overly long posts, Rob’s appeal was the fact that he reminded me about my time as an undergraduate a great deal: the awkwardness, inexperience and confusion which revolves around as you try and make sense of both yourself and wider world.

Unfortunately, Rob’s writing seemed to deteriorate. Even he acknowledged it before Christmas, when he reported that readers were complaining that his posts had become those of a pub bore, recounting tedious drinking tales. His sharp observation of the people on his course, the people he lived with and the girl he liked was gone.

Given his decline, the potential risks of Rob’s approach to blogging became greater. Writing about your life and the people within it can be dangerous, not least if someone disagrees with what you’ve written and posted for the whole world to see. I’m not sure I would do the same and over the past year he has reported the fallings out he’s had with friends. But it was never as bad as his last post.

I can see why he would want to give it all up and the gesture he hopes it will show. Though whether that will be enough is doubtful. However, while Rob tries to find his own way to say sorry, it means saying goodbye to a part of his life and the readers who have followed him through the fumblings of early adulthood – and leaving the final chapter unwritten.

Good luck, Rob. You have my sympathy.

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