Too Much Knowledge Porridge

‘Stuart Pearson’ from Armando Iannucci’s The Thick Of It

Last weekend something awful happened. Someone hacked my website and deleted everything I have even written. I logged in to add a post, and there it wasn’t. What was there was a completely different site, full of links to computer games and a whole different theme, layout, everything.

After trying and failing to retrieve, well, anything, my poor long suffering sister had to put up with me sitting on her sofa for an hour crying into my beer. At least I bought the beer.

If any fellow writers have had the same experience, I really feel for you. More so because it is very difficult to explain to anyone else the extent of your upset over the situation. Which got me thinking about what it was that had so deeply upset me about the loss of my work.

Obviously, the complete thoughtlessness of deleting it, and the speed at which it had disappeared had made my very, very angry. In addition, I have always used my site as a sort of portfolio, a place that proves that I have had work published, in different styles and for different purposes that I can show to employers.

But it wasn’t this that had upset me most when I really thought about it. It was the other work, the posts that served no purpose and that hardly anyone ever bothered to read that had really got to me. I have been writing for the last five years (much longer if you include things I have never published anywhere but my own numerous note books) and I used to write about things that I genuinely felt passionate about.

When a colleague died, when I got angry about politics, when I felt work situations were unjustified and simply when something ridiculous or irritating happened in my life – they were the things for which I found writing the only outlet that was fitting.

And it was those things that I missed. Not the ‘corporate’ copywriting I do so much of these days, which is obviously backed up elsewhere. And that is what I have been thinking about.

As is the case for so many writers, I have ended up working in a job where I can utilise my skill, which is a wonderful privilege in many ways, however, in the main, I write marketing, and that is not what I initially set out to do.

The thing is, with the way that the world of marketing works, it has become increasingly difficult to separate writing for pleasure from writing for a business and career purpose. I had briefly toyed with the idea of starting a separate, anonymous blog, but I didn’t quite think that would work either.

I wanted to find a way that the two can co-exist together, as I enjoy both in different ways. However, in this age and industry, your online ‘brand’ is such an important consideration, it is difficult not to limit the scope of what you choose to portray outside it. And the line between your genuine self and the self you put forward is so difficult to define.

The thing that has been bothering me is that I started this blog as I wanted a place where I could be honest.

That is what I wrote on my home page, and lately, I have been so unsure about how to do that, that, well, basically, I haven’t. There are so many elements of the marketing world that I find amusing and ridiculous, and that don’t fit with my personal values that I would love to write about, but how do you do that in the same space as the space you publish industry articles?

The answer is, you can’t.

I am about to write a document outlining the procedures staff at work need to follow regarding their social media output. And, honestly, I’m unsure where to start. With your LinkedIn profile so inextricably linked to the company you work for, your twitter account often the same, and to a lesser degree, things like Facebook a potential source of embarrassment for your employer and trouble for you, it is hard to know where personal ends and work begins.

However, what I do know is that I don’t want to lose sight of why I wanted to write in the first place. And now, thanks to my very wonderful friend Craig (don’t know how he did it, but I love him for it!) I have everything back . So I think it is time to get back to the point.

The point being that there is no point.

Sometimes things in the world are wrong, and marketing is sometimes dishonest, and I often find things in that world are ridiculous and hilarious, and it seems unfair to not give other people an honest opportunity to laugh at it.

So the blog is back, for anyone who cares to read it.

As spin doctor Stuart Pearson told Malcom Tucker in The Thick Of It, most of the time, Knowledge is Porridge. Which is why it is important to see through and mock the meaningless buzz words from time to time and just be honest.

Which is what I intend to do.


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