Over the years I’ve been invited to contribute to many group blogs. I’ve penned the odd piece or two, but in most cases I’ve declined the invitations. Even when I was blogging a lot –Remember those days? Think, George W. Bush early second term– I wasn’t very good at contributing to other people’s blogs. I did one post for Shanghaiist back in the day (promptly blowing their styleguide) and in a few cases I agreed to contribute but never did (sorry, Huffington Post, but let’s be honest: no one missed me). The only time I regularly contributed as a member of a team was my stint as China contributor on CNET Asia’s regional tech blog, back in 2005-7. They paid, though so little that it was almost more insulting than working for free (free is noble, cheap is just rude). But it was fun.
There were a few reasons why I was never really into group blogs. I was blogging for myself first, and when push came to shove I didn’t like being someone else’s unpaid content monkey. (I was totally happy to be a paid content monkey.) As for contributing to amateur group blogs, I didn’t want to have to worry either about treading on other peoples’ sensibilities or about how co-authors’ posts might reflect on me. I was quite capable of getting myself in trouble all on my own, without needing help from others.
Well, so much for all that. I’m now one of the co-authors of Rectified.name, a new China blog that also features Jeremiah Jenne of Jottings from the Granite Studio, Dave Lyons (once of Mutant Palm fame, now known on the tubes as Davesgonechina), Brendan O’Kane of Bokane.org, and YJ.
So, you ask, what’s different?
Glad you asked. For one thing, scientists conducting rigorous experiments with the Large Hadron Collider, the most sensitive scientific instrument in the world, have determined to a high degree of statistical confidence that I don’t blog much anymore. Therefore, rather than having my dwindling reader base lurking mournfully around the increasingly desolate Imagethief for my quarterly I-hate-ICBC rant, I thought I might make sense to be part of a more regularly updated and diverse blog. Also, I cannot think of a better group of contributors than the Rectified.name lineup. I know them all personally, all are longtime China residents and readers and speakers of Chinese (especially YJ, who is, ahem, actually Chinese). And, importantly, all are talented writers with styles that fit together well. You didn’t hear it from me, but there is a suspiciously high wiseass quotient across the board.
My first post for Rectified.name is already up. I’ll be cross-posting opening paragraphs on Imagethief, butI expect most of my upcoming work will be on Rectified.name with this blog reserved for things that are personal, weird or trivial enough that that they’re better off not going on a group blog. If you subscribe to Imagethief’s feed, please subscribe to Rectified.name.
This is an experiment for all of us. We’re not sure that it’s going to work, but we’re excited about it. These are pretty lean days for China blogging, with much of the fun and banter now on Facebook and Twitter. Those are great platforms, but for those of us who like to write, blogging still has its charms. Someone has to save China blogging, dammit. And we think we’re the people to do it.
PS: If you don’t get “Rectified.name,” read up on your Confucian history.