Monday, December 15, 2008

The naming of names: the search for order in the world of Blotanical

Anna Pavord is one of the nicest people in the whole world, so I'm sure she won't mind me paraphrasing the title of her fascinating book for what, I'm sorry to say, is a bit of a rant.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I belong to a kind of super-cyber-allotment of bloggers called Blotanical, which is run by an Australian chap called Stuart. Stuart is a genius. He has single-handedly set up this amazing organisation (it now includes more than 1,000 blogs worldwide), and deals with all the problems and glitches and bugs and whinges that it generates on a day-to-day basis without fee or fuss.
The trouble with successful organisations is that they get bigger and more cumbersome, which means administrative changes are needed to ensure that they continue to function smoothly. The trouble with geniuses is that sometimes they fail to realise that some of us are bears of very little brain and have great difficulty adjusting to these changes. (Some of us - and I'm speaking personally here - are bears of absolutely no brain at all, especially when it comes to computers.)
Blotanical has just been through one of these periodic changes, which has meant that we have all had to resubmit our usernames. They have to be longer than three letters and a maximum of 16. In my case, I was lucky: my name has eight letters in it and no one else had nabbed it.
But my friend  Zoë, who writes one of the best blogs I know, and who ranks 29th on the Blotanical list of favourite blogs, has had to change her name. So has VP (No 24), another wonderful blogger. Her online Open Garden was not only a fantastically creative idea, but has also raised more than £1,000 for the charity WaterAid.
As I said, Stuart is a genius, so he'll probably come up with some clever solution. Either that, or after a lot of grumbling, we'll all get used to the new regime. But I think there's a lesson here. People don't like change, and in an uncertain world, they like it even less. So I'm sure Stuart will forgive me if I give voice to a small howl of protest. AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRGGGH!!!!