I’ve been thinking a lot about how to develop Celtic News Now as the site’s second birthday approaches in October. I had some thoughts about giving would-be bloggers a platform for their writing – rather than create and maintain your own blog, why not just publish directly on Celtic News Now?
This hadn’t really progressed much beyond an idea until last night, when I chanced upon an essay called The Power of the Marginal, by Paul Graham. Paul’s a prominent Silicon Valley investor – nothing to do with Celtic, but I think his essay (written in 2006) is especially relevant to Celtic fans and bloggers in particular – the Internet Bampots.
Paul writes about how great new things often come from the margins, and yet the people who discover them are looked down on by everyone, including themselves. Here’s a short excerpt from the closing paragraphs – see what you think (and spot the dead ringer of a reference to our beloved MSM):
This leads to my final suggestion: a technique for determining when you’re on the right track. You’re on the right track when people complain that you’re unqualified, or that you’ve done something inappropriate. If people are complaining, that means you’re doing something rather than sitting around, which is the first step. And if they’re driven to such empty forms of complaint, that means you’ve probably done something good.
If you make something and people complain that it doesn’t work, that’s a problem. But if the worst thing they can hit you with is your own status as an outsider, that implies that in every other respect you’ve succeeded. Pointing out that someone is unqualified is as desperate as resorting to racial slurs. It’s just a legitimate sounding way of saying: we don’t like your type around here.
But the best thing of all is when people call what you’re doing inappropriate. I’ve been hearing this word all my life and I only recently realized that it is, in fact, the sound of the homing beacon. “Inappropriate” is the null criticism. It’s merely the adjective form of “I don’t like it.”
So that, I think, should be the highest goal for the marginal. Be inappropriate. When you hear people saying that, you’re golden. And they, incidentally, are busted.
So, “Mon the Internet Bampots!” – if you’d be interested in using Celtic News Now as a platform for your writing on all things Celtic, I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org, or add your comment below.