Mass Observation -2017 style

I’ve been sitting and thinking again; thoughts went from blogging to diaries to Housewife, 49 and finally to Mass Observation.

It occurred to me that one day our blogs might be used as historical documents, like the Mass Observation archive or the Domesday Book.  At that point I started wondering just how accurate all these other historical documents are. The Domesday Book, being a tax document, is probably very accurate, though limited. The Mass Observation diaries are probably accurate as far as they go, but represent the views of people who aren’t necessarily representative of the population as a whole – described (by Wikipedia)  as “middle-class, educated, literate, and left of centre”.

I’ve never read Housewife, 49 but I have seen the TV adaptation and I’m not convinced by the “left of centre” but I can see that a group of diarists or bloggers could fit that description.

According to a blog I’ve just looked at, bloggers are, in general, ambitious, self-reflective and forever learning. I agree that most bloggers seem to be self-reflective and forever learning, though I’m not sure about ambitious. There are other qualities mentioned, but I’ll let you follow the link if you want to discover more about yourself.

Meanwhile, let’s consider my blog as history.

If anyone tries to reconstruct a picture of the 21st century using my blog as a source, they are going to think that the average UK citizen was more concerned about cheese, brown sauce and words to describe book hoarding than they were about Brexit, global warming and Trumpageddon. (In the UK trump is a slightly archaic word for breaking wind in the UK, and cows emitting methane as a result of the digestive process are said to be responsible for destroying the ozone layer, so those last two items could be the same thing.)

It also explains why, despite the example of Sir Toby Belch, nobody in the UK actually thought he was going to win. Joke names, like bald candidates, tend not to win. That’s why Derrick J Knight is always going to be top dog in the blogosphere, and I, with my shiny head, will always be second.

I wonder if that was why Samual Pepys, a somewhat retro blogger, wore a wig.

However, I digress. I really meant to discuss how representative bloggers are in the scheme of history. It seems to me that we are more interested in health, food and books than the average person. On the other hand, that might be the effect of blogging about those subjects, and following people with similar views.

If I blogged about body modification, manga and mud wrestling I would probably have a completely different view of my fellow bloggers. (Ask your grandchildren if you need any explanations).

So, how representative do you feel?



9 thoughts on “Mass Observation -2017 style

  1. tootlepedal

    Historians reading my effusions would think that there were a lot of chaffinches about in the early twenty first century. I was saying to Mrs T only the other day that if you listened to the ‘mainstream media’ you might think that the whole internet was awash with trolls and paranoia but in the corner which I inhabit, good manners, polite enquiry and sharing are the order of the day. You can take your pick of course.

    1. quercuscommunity

      After some experience of other parts of the internet I prefer the part which you inhabit.

      You are correct about Chaffinches – there are a lot of them. I imagine this over-supply could be the subject matter for a PhD thesis on the causes of the woeful lack of brown sauce in Greggs. Not that I bear grudges…

  2. derrickjknight

    Thank you for that wonderful opinion, Quercus. I’d like to add sheer determination as a quality for blogging daily. You certainly have that. I wonder if you have picked up that when my London children arrived at school in Newark, they were told off for using ‘fart’ and informed that they should use ‘trump’. 🙂

  3. escapetothebarn

    I’m not sure what any future reader would think of me, a mardy mummy who shouts too much, then feels guilty (catholic upbringing) and digs big holes in the garden…this is all sounding very dubious isn’t it? 😉


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