Kris Halpin’s Adventures In Music, Technology & Disability.

Access, Blogging & Fitting It All In.

I read a great article recently about five common blogging faux pas. I can happily say that I have never committed four of them, however I was guilty of the last one all the fucking time.

And that is… Not blogging for ages and then making your next blog post an apology for not blogging for ages. Yawn.The article went on to explain that there are (obviously) no set rules about how often we should blog. Blogging is still relatively new platform. We have a long time to work out that a lot of newspapers work best published daily; blogging hasn’t been around nearly that long. And anyway, it’s highly unlikely that there is a one size fits all approach. It’s tempting with any form of social media to try and work out the “exact” formula that somehow guarantees success, whatever that is in real terms.

Nevertheless, this is the first blog post in a little while, and one of the last posts that I made was about my changes to my blogging workflow in the hope of increasing the frequency of posting. Irony overload.

So as I explained recently, typing has become an increasing access barrier to me. I am very late to the party, but I found voice to text software that seems quite useable. It’s Dragon anywhere on iOS if you’re interested. Hurray! Fiddly access barrier circumnavigated!

Except that it hasn’t changed things miraculously overnight like. But I hoped that it would. There’s still another barrier in place which I was not giving enough thought to.

I am really fucking busy!

Even with typing out of the way, I still don’t have time to sit down and write articles like are used to. It is an annoying problem, because I’m doing so much more interesting stuff that is worth writing about.

And then I realised; I made another rookie error.

I resolved the access barrier, and yet I resolved to work in exactly the same way as before. When I planned to blog, I would make time to sit down and start talking just as if I had sat down to type an article. It is taken me this long to realise that this is not the best use of the new technology. I don’t need to sit down and write an article my hands are free. I can talk freely while doing other things, of course! There’s absolutely no reason to make blogging a sit-down-and-now-I’m-really-blogging event. To test/prove this point, I am currently cleaning my kitchen as well as writing this post. It took you how long to work this out, Halpin?

So this “revelation” makes frequent blogging even more accessible to me, and by extension of that, some of my readers. I have become very interested in video blogging, but subtitling them is a complex task and I’m very aware that I am in danger of creating something that is not entirely accessible. A written article is much more accessible for both hearing and vision impaired readers. The irony is that writing in the traditional sense was not accessible to me any more. I think we’ve arrived at a point where the problem is fixed for both of us. Sigh of relief.

Okay, there are caveats. The main obstacle for me is that I have to speak in an unusually high-pitched voice to be heard by the dictation software. I say high-pitched, it is not Mickey Mouse, but my unusually low pitched Brummie accent is quite an obstacle for Dragon dictate.

Interestingly, the word Brummie isn’t.

So, allowing for some tweaking (the software is about 80% accurate in my experience) and having to speak in a bizarrely RPE middle voice, it seems I can in fact overcome the access barrier of typing, and blog in the gaps between things without having to sit down and have a well I better do some blogging type session. Also, given the DragonDictate cost a tenner each month, I better start making use of it…


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