Happy Birthday! 10 this year

Wednesday, 9 May, 2012

The Rainy Day blog is 10 years old this year. What began on 1 May 2002 was inspired by the outrage that followed the 9/11 terror attacks on the US, much of which found expression in blogging. The format was still young back then and becoming a blogger was, if not quite subversive, adventurous and somewhat rebellious. In those pre-Facebook days, people wondered if bloggers were not endangering their career prospects by putting too much information in the public domain. Such were the worries. Innocent times, indeed.

There was a lot of talk, too, about the “madness” of writing for free and much was made of the famous Dr Johnson quote: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” But as blogging matured, some practitioners were awarded book contracts, others got magazine assignments, many joined the mainstream media and almost everyone signed up for advertising deals. Very few bloggers, however, made money. Fame proved elusive and dreams of glory were given a sharp knock on the head when Clay Shirky published “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality” in 2003. Quote: “In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome.”

George Orwell So, why persist? Well, because blogging is fun, challenging, educational, informative, entertaining, creative and innovative, to mention but seven beneficial aspects. It’s also evolutionary, if one looks at what’s happening on tumblr, and its revolutionary when one considers the situation in Vietnam where the bloggers Nguyen Van Hai, Ta Phong Tan and Phan Thanh Hai face up to 20 years in prison for “propaganda against the state“.

On the day that Rainy Day was born, 1 May 2002, we published our manifesto and we’ve republished it every year since then but on 9 May instead of 1 May for the purposes of killing two birds with the one stone, as it were. Later today, then, “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell will appear here. As we declared 10 years ago, “The English language and politics will be at the heart of this blog and while we cannot hope to match Orwell in any way, we’re glad to have him guide us on this journey.” No blogger could ask for a better companion, and few bloggers have been as fortunate as Rainy Day because our friends and supporters have provided so much comfort and encouragement over the past decade. Thank you.

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