Tt’s been a while since I posted an interview, but I have been actually working on one – just this time I gave Andrew, the author of this blog, time to answer each question separately – so this one is a result of two weeks’s worth e-mail correspondence. Enjoy!
Syl: Hi Andy, thank you for agreeing to take part in the interview! Here’s the first one? When did you start blogging and why?
Andy: I started blogging in September, which marks a year from when I stopped doing science for a living. Now as I can take myself back and enjoy the best bits. I wanted to think about how world-changing discoveries are presented and what people think when re-hashing them on the internet. Maybe later I will look at what the people who design and organise the internet can learn from the way scientists use information.
As for self-promotion, for now, I will try my best not to keep my blog light-hearted, avoid inflicting it on the uninterested and talk about other things when not blogging. Maybe one day I will change the world, or at least ruffle the feathers of some of those black hole makers and Frankenstein farmers.
Syl: That sounds very ambitious and I believe you can change the world! Tell me, did blogging change your life or affect it in any way so far?
Andy: I think blogging has helped me be a bit more expressive and articulate. When I’m writing a blog post I feel a real pressure to get the point across simply and in as few words as possible. The biggest plus is having something constructive to do when on the computer at home. Now I see that there are plenty of hours in the day, I just have to fight laziness. This has helped me tidy my life up and keep up with my sporting and voluntary activities.
Apart from that, no big changes, blogging’s quite one-dimensional for me at the moment. I will spawn further presences and meet people online at some point but I want to hit the sites with a bang rather than a sporadic whimper. For me this requires real-life motivating factors until these occur I won’t try to be something I’m not.
Syl: Hey, join me on Twitter then;) Seriously, do you think you will move to a different level with blogging, do you consider doing it more seriously, learning new tools or blogging for business in the future?
Andy: My attitude to tools is sometimes a bit like Michelle Greer’s, that is, I want to see them applied to real-world situations before discussing them at length. I think some of the meet-ups you and Lolly have been talking about recently sound really interesting as opportunities to do just that.
I have thought about business blogging as it could be a great way to collate consultancy ideas and gain contacts. So the next question is what would my personal brand be about? My best guess at the moment is:
Managing knowledge better in business, science, and the voluntary sector.
But then how I would present that in a lively, colourful, engaging and concise form whilst “getting my butt off my computer” as Michelle puts it? I guess I could use some of the great community-built graphics programmes available on my Ubuntu desktop. As far as blogging on the move goes, I am still quite attached to my landline (I enjoy people thinking that it’s their mum when I phone them) and not prepared to spend more than about £10 a month on my mobile, but maybe I could stretch to a linux tablet now wifi is getting more widespread.
As for Twitter, @strets123 signed up a few weeks back but needs to think of something suitably profound, insane or insightful for a first tweet. I’m also hosting a few bits on Flickr, play on last.fm and would like to try Linkedin.
Syl: Do you think about those presences as additional to your blog? Or you just like trying them out?
Andy: Part of me joined twitter because it would be a good way to get to know other people interested in blogs. I also like the low effort involved and a hickledy pickledy mixture of posts you get to read. Additionally, I think wiki tools like the cool thing you added to your blog recently could prove very useful.
Time will tell whether I will commit myself fully to other sites. It’s certain that some are more equal, than others, I guess I’m hoping for the market to become more mature and the way of using each site to involve fewer steps. Just like my favourite gadget, my DAB radio.
Syl: Did blogging change your life so far?
Andy: Yes! – it’s been great having a window on the lives of my colleagues and fun interacting with you and others on different subjects. On the other hand, I want to stay in touch with my grumpy old man side, having reviewed “Blind Faith” I will have to take a look at Will Self’s “Book of Dave” next.
Andy: Not a lot, I think I’ve eaten quite a lot of great pickled gherkins from Poland over the years. As for barmleczny I love milk and the idea of a milk bar intrigues me… The milk marketing people here in Britain are often trying to rebrand it and sell it as a soft drink. Take a trip to an ageing ice rink or swimming baths and you might see nice simple milkshakes available without thickeners. The AMT milk steamers at stations are good too. There could definitely be a niche in the market to exploit.
Syl: Great, Andy, thanks for that feedback!:) So, if I say ‘Polish’ what are the first three things that come to your mind?
Andy: My Polish bridge friends and their ‘Polish Club’ bridge convention
The once growing, now possibly diminishing Polish community in Britain and the various opinions about it.
Word with lots of zs in them
Syl: Zs, and sh, and csh:) And how about you, are you cooking at home?
Andy: Zs, and sh, and csh:) And how about you, are you cooking at home? Cooking has been a big part of my life for most of it. My late, great mum had me in the kitchen as soon as I could walk. We would make jam tarts, scones and nig-nogs (a name for brown oatmeal biscuits from our 1950s cookbook, unrestrained by the era of political correctness). I guess my mum taught me to just get on with it and not fear failure. This means I can often salvage an edible meal when others have given up hope.Either my girlfriend or I cook almost always, tonight it was a casserole with pork and home-produced cider.
Syl: Ah, you just made me hungry:) If we were to do a small Polish food party would you like to join us?:)
Andy: Sound’s fun, I’m in!
Syl: Thank you, Andy!:)