Blaugust Reborn: Event or Cause?
The Blaugust Reborn is an event, which promotes blogging and offers advice and guidance to those who have just started or who are toying with the idea of doing so. It has no agenda beyond providing encouragement and support. The advice that is offered through various veterans’ content creators collective experience, is just that, advice. It can be taken or ignored, because ultimately blogging is a very personal pastime and there really isn't a right or wrong way to do it. If doing what you do and the way that you do it brings you pleasure, then you've pretty much well nailed it. I see Blaugust Reborn as a benign undertaking. It has no agenda that I am aware of. In fact, I could argue that my involvement is a little self-serving, in so far as I hope that some great new blogs emerge from this year’s event that I can read on a regular basis. Overall, I see the Blaugust Reborn as a simple exercise in offering a helping hand. For me it's not any more complex than that.
However, may not see it in such straight forward terms. A few years ago, when the equivalent event of Blaugust Reborn was the Newbie Blogger Initiative there was criticism from some quarters of the Blogosphere, who saw the it as an organised attempt to try and stamp some sort of standard identity upon new writers. It was even labelled as some sort of Orwellian Groupthink. There was a great deal of hyperbole involved and very little clear thinking. This view stemmed from the fact that a lot of those at the time participating in the NBI had written about their indifference to GamerGate and thus there was the ubiquitous binary backlash from those who equated ambivalence with holding a contrary view. However, this matter did highlight the fact that something as simple as benign as trying to offer help and support could be misconstrued.
I think what I found curious about the pushback that happened in NBI back in 2015 was the fact that someone saw fit to label the event as a "cause". This has got me thinking whether anyone thinks that Blaugust Reborn is a cause instead of an exercise in self-help? A supportive event is optional and non-threatening. A "cause" is a much more subtle beast. It has socio-political connotations. There is usually an undercurrent of moral rectitude. Causes seek to correct something. Something that is deemed to be currently wrong, hence the ethical undertone. Events simply facilitate, whereas causes will by their very nature have those that are diametrically opposed to them. Suddenly an activity goes from being functional (and fun) to something far more partisan.
Consider something like advice on weight loss and eating healthily. In essence it is a harmless stance to take and advocate. Yet if it is promoted in an overzealous and judgemental way and treated as a cause rather than optional guidance, it suddenly becomes a political football; something that is strongly resisted and reviled in some quarters as a form of social engineering. I don't want the Blaugust Reborn to fall into this trap. I don't want it to become burdened with ideologies and dogma. I want it to be perceived for what it is; an event that offers a helping hand and facilitates the participant to blog in a manner that suits them.
The thing about Blaugust Reborn is that the advice offered can be used in whatever way the author wishes. I could be argued that Blaugust Reborn could even end up facilitating writers who produce hateful content filled with bigotry and prejudice. So far from what I’ve seen of those who have signed up to participate, that seem unlikely but it’s not impossible. However, that goes with the territory and I do not fear those who have contrary views to my own. Blaugust Reborn is just a process. What people choose to do with the information they can obtain from it is their decision. It's a bit like running a woodwork class. If someone wants to use the knowledge they’ve gained to fashion a club instead of a chair, then that is their prerogative (feel free to add your own Bobby Brown gag here).
Now I realise that Blaugust Reborn is not defined by just one person's perception of it. It runs due to the involvement of multiple people, all of which probably have a unique view of exactly what the event is and what it aims to achieve. Yet I think that its inherent simplicity adds to its appeal. Therefore, I have made the assumption that other participants do not see it as a "cause". However, I may be wrong. I've been round the block several times and in my youth been involved in politics, trade union activities and various social issues. Yes, I have supported "causes". Sadly, none of them has been without problems or remained 100% true to their roots and goals. It is just the nature of ideologies and concept, that implementing them often requires compromise. But I don’t see Blaugust Reborn falling into this category though.
Age has taught me to be both mindful and sceptical of such things as "causes". Too often they can be a Trojan Horse for something more sinister. But again, I don’t see Blaugust Reborn being like that. So, I'm asking the following question out of curiosity to all who may be involved with Blaugust Reborn to a greater or lesser degree. How do you perceive this event? Or is it simply an exercise in self-help. Do you see it as part of a wider undertaking with greater meaning? Do you consider it as a cause? If so what do you want the event to achieve beyond helping content creators? Is it an open invite to all, or would you be concerned if someone with a “radical” online presence wished to get involved? It’s certainly food for thought. Feel free to comment.