Learning from the comments people leave on my blog

I often get asked why I blog, and you’ve seen enough of my answers before. And it’s strange, how someone’s eyes glaze over when I come to the bit where I say “and I learn from my blog, from the comments people leave”. It’s the sort of look reserved for people who say “I read Playboy for its literary content”….

I guess it’s hard to explain to people who don’t blog, how one can learn from blogging. It’s not just about shaping and refining ideas, you also learn to find things, to see things you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, even to do things. Here’s an offbeat example. David Butler, who shares my passion for cricket, commented recently on a cricket-related post of mine. Later on, Dominic Sayers, another cricket-mad friend, left a comment that included a video clip of a Tendulkar catch. And David, while thanking Dom for pointing him towards the Tendulkar clip, made reference to a Johnny Dyson catch. He had no idea when, where and against whom the catch was, or for that matter who the batsman was.

All I did was to Google “johnny dyson catch cricket” and there it was on YouTube and Google Video and in a few other places.

Now I wanted to do something else. I wanted to find a way of sharing videos via my blog, quickly, easily, and without caring about whether it was on YouTube or Google Video or anywhere else. I wanted a level of independence from the “content carrier”. And I wanted it in a way that it didn’t dominate the blog post, a sidebar route.

Which got me looking around for something, and I found VodPod. Seemed to fill the bill, so I went and signed up and found out how to put it on my blog and so on.

A few days ago, I had dinner with Sean, another close friend and blogger. For some reason or the other I made reference to that video, and he hadn’t seen it. I remember thinking to myself, why can’t I have a LibraryThing or last.fm for video clips? VodPod goes some of the way, but I’me sure it can improve. Anyway, it gives me the chance to point towards the Web 2.0 video again, for Sean. Which I will do, shortly.

David, it looks like the batsman was Sylvester Clarke. Can’t remember another Clarke from the West Indies around Dyson’s time, but I could be wrong.

13 thoughts on “Learning from the comments people leave on my blog”

  1. JP
    How exquisite! The Johnny Dyson catch you found was indeed a blinder. I watched it on one of the sites you found. But it wasn’t the catch I had in mind. The one I remember I’m almost sure was against England, and Dyson was fielding at third man. The ball curved away from Dyson off the edge of an RHB and he ran flat out to his right and dived headlong to catch. At least that’s my recollection… but who knows?

  2. I will hunt around for it, sounds like it is worth watching.even 2 years ago I wouldn’t have looked for it. Times change.

  3. I could not have said this better myself (which may not be a compliment but …). I can now, without using your cricket example (sorry, husband mad on the game, me not nearly so enthusiastic) explain to people what is so fascinating about the blogosphere. I’ve just found a knitting pattern that I could have done with two years ago whilst looking for something completely different in answer to a different question. I’ve also explained to someone I’ve never met, and am never likely to, how to make something that if you bought it would cost a lot of money.

  4. David, do you think the catch you’re looking for is one from THAT Test in 1981? I’ve dug around a little bit, and the best reference I’ve come across is the catch John Dyson took to dismiss Peter Willey in the second innings of the Headlingley Test that year. I guess other incidents in that Test could have overshadowed the catch in our memories.

    I have a VHS copy of that Test somewhere, so I will take a look. I have faint stirrings of memory that suggest Dyson did dive to his right for the catch. In the meantime, other suggestions welcome. What I know for sure is that Willey seemed settled and top-edged to Dyson at a shortish third man. But was that the catch that David is looking for? Can’t tell.

  5. JP
    I think you’re right, I believe it was that match. In fact I was on the verge of suggesting that when I looked up Wisden and found no reference to an exceptional catch. But Dyson took only two catches in that series, so perhaps it was the one.
    How’s this for a ruse – I shall attend a match that Peter Willey is umpiring, and ask him.
    On the subject of Peter Willey, have you ever seen another batsman with such an open stance? He was practically facing sq leg when the ball was delivered. For him a forward defensive stroke was more or less a cover drive.

    What will be the result if we come to live in a world of frictionless knowledge, where anyone can know anything that someone else knows?

  6. David, see updated comment. I’ve managed to confirm that Willey top-edged to short third man. Is that your recollection of the catch? it should not be too difficult to find the video if it was in that match.

  7. Yes JP, I think that was the catch. Alas I no longer have the capacity to play tapes.

  8. The Sylvester Clarke catch details are: ST Clarke c Dyson b Yardley 5, Sydney Cricket Ground, 2nd Test, 5 Jan 1982. Good game for Yardley who got 7 wickets in that innings and 10 in the match. The catch also inspired Dyson to 127 not out in the Australian 2nd innings.

    Dyson also got a hundred in the 1981 match at Headingley (a ground with a capacity of several hundred thousand if you believe everybody who says they were there). I was there for Botham’s innings but I was back at school when Bob Willis took his 8-43, not that I went to many lessons that day when there was a television in the Sixth Form Common Room. The catch I remember from that match was Mike Gatting running in from mid on to dismiss Dennis Lillee, although I suspect the already portly Gatting made it look a bit more difficult than a more athletic fielder might have.

  9. Concerning learning from blogs…

    I have a great liking for preposterous moments that involve the great and good. Here is a memory I treasure. When W.H.Auden became Professor of Poetry at Oxford, my brother and I went to the Sheldonian to hear his inaugural lecture. It was a great experience to hear Auden speak, in that weird hybrid Posh-English-Californian accent. Surprisingly for such a famous poet, Auden seemed nervous. He had a half dozen or so books from which he was reading quotes, the quotes being marked by slips of paper. As Auden advanced through his quotes he shredded these pieces of paper and dumped them in a handy receptacle.

    At the end he got a huge round of applause. By tradition, the professor, already in academic attire, puts on his mortar-board and crosses the stage to the Vice-Chancellor. They bow to each other and doff their mortar-boards.
    Unfortunately Auden’s mortar-board had been resting upside down on the lectern, and had been the receptacle in which he dumped his shredded paper slips. As he raised his headgear he and the V-C were engulfed in a cloud of paper. It looked like a snow storm in a glass orb. The undergraduates in the audience loved this and roared with laughter. Auden looked delighted.

  10. I thought you would enjoy this quote from a Cricinfo article today: “Kaif was cruising on 91 when Panesar stunned him with a Youtube moment”.

    How soon before “a YouTube moment” joins the verb “to Google” in the dictionary?

Let me know what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.