So what is Stilgherrian, exactly?

Photograph of Stilgherrian poking out his tongue, courtesy of Miss WiredI’ve been taking time out across the Easter weekend to ponder my future. As part of that, I’ve started collecting other people’s impressions of me.

There’s three key issues. One, I need to simplify the massive range of media projects I’m doing or have dreamed up, and cut them back to what’s actually possible to achieve. Two, I have to find the right balance between income-generating media projects, purely playful or “public service” media projects which don’t earn money, and perhaps still a few geek-related things which do pay well. Three, how to reach this state of nirvana without pissing off clients or screwing up my cashflows.

Tricky, eh?

Anyway, more on that anon.

Thanks to that Internet thing, I’ve found a few curious descriptions of me already. Can you provide any others?

These are all much better than what it says on About Stilgherrian, “a Sydney-based consultant working at the intersection of the Internet, media and information technology”.

  • “Perhaps one of Australia’s best tech writers”, Duncan Riley.
  • “Known to some as the Rove [McManus] of the Streaming Web”, Matthew Hodgson.
  • “The Bert Newton of Aussie social media”, @paininthenet.
  • One of “Australia’s most interesting Twitter users”, a “fiercely opinionated blogger and former broadcaster”,
  • “Always charming & erudite”, Kate Carruthers, though Peter Black disagreed, claiming “‘offensive or provocative’ is a better fit”.
  • “Serial pest”, Verity Pravda.
  • “God amongst men”, Laurel Papworth

I don’t consider myself a “journalist”, but have sometimes used “writer”. I’ve never liked the word “blogger”. And none of those things really describe the full gamut of what I do anyway. But then, as I say, maybe the gamut is too wide.

So, what other descriptions of me can you remember seeing? How would you explain me to your friends?

[Photo: Stilgherrian photographed at Kelly’s On King by Miss Wired.]

17 Replies to “So what is Stilgherrian, exactly?”

  1. “# “Serial pest”, Verity Pravda.
    # “God amongst men”, Laurel Papworth”

    I like these two the best, when read in conjunction. I think that simultaneously being a god and a serial pest is something that anyone should aspire to. Although based on ancient mythology and religious texts, most gods seem to pretty much be serial pests anyway. And I always did like trickster gods the best.

    And I’m assuming you’re looking for other people’s descriptions of you, not wanting us to make up our own.

  2. @Sweet Sister Morphine: Oh no, by all means make up your own descriptions!

    One “problem” with these one-line descriptions is that you’re then limited to that one “job” in people’s minds. “You’re making a music video? But I thought you were a network administrator!”

    And some organisations get so hung up over titles!

    I’m speaking at the CeBIT WebForward conference in May, for example. On the agenda I’m billed as “General Manager, Prussia.Net”. True, inasmuch as it’s the name of my business and I’m the boss-bloke. But I don’t have employees any more, so “General Manager” seems a bit pompous. The conference speakers list was prepared after I told CeBIT I just did business under my own name, but even then I ended up as “Mr Stilgherrian”.

    I suppose being a simple-to-describe cog in a well-defined machine is OK for the working classes, but I know I never quite fit into the neat categories.

    Now, the trickster gods… Yes, a significant part of what I do fits that category. I do think it’s healthy for people’s frames of reference to be bent — nay, to be shattered from time to time. All hail Eris!

  3. Hmmm…

    I would call you a “Social Commentator”, but I get all sorts of images of Clive Hamilton (and that is just NOT a good look) or “Tech-savvy social commentator” (somewhat better, but I keep thinking James Moody or Mark Pesce).

    My original thought was: “Stilgherrian is a social and technical writer with a stunning, erudite, insightful, playful and often offensive view of the world. He presents this to the (occasionally) adoring throng through his writings in published journalism and online postings — both micro-blog and full-length articles.”

    To paraphrase someone much better with the language than I, I have not the time to make this brief.

  4. I have been known to describe you thus:

    “Stil’s a force of nature, he’s mercurial and quick-witted, somewhat obsessive about web, technology & media — and he’s a good bloke …”

    then I usually say something like:

    “… but it’s hard to encapsulate him with mere words, you truly must meet him (or at least watch Stilgherrian Live) to understand.”

  5. Grand Communicator of Geekery, Media, Socio-political thought and more.

  6. I should have excluded the “perhaps”, the context though isn’t to suggest that you aren’t a great writer, but more a “perhaps” on the concept whether the label “tech” alone is appropriate. Maybe “social technology?”

  7. Thanks very much for all the suggestions so far. A rainy holiday Monday afternoon makes a good time to flip through these.

    @Crispin: Oh, didn’t you know? I am Mark Pesce! This video was produced using a special mirror. Note: our noses are interchangeable.

    @Kate Carruthers : Is Stilgherrian Live really the best introduction? Really?

    @Chrissie and @Duncan Riley: I know that my geek background and personal interests make geekery a focus, but I also enjoy writing about other things. The gonzo twittering and gonzo liveblog, as they were called by others first, come to mind.

  8. “Oh no, by all means make up your own descriptions!”

    Well if it’s any us to you, this blog is rather unhelpfully described on the links page of my dodgy, obscure and utterly pointless website thus:

    “The Last-Nameless-One holds forth on everything from the information economy to why we shouldn’t celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day. May secretly be a ninja.”


    I’m afraid that any further attempts at description are only likely to become increasingly surreal.

    “I suppose being a simple-to-describe cog in a well-defined machine is OK for the working classes, but I know I never quite fit into the neat categories.”

    Know that feeling. I always loved Hunter S Thompson’s description of Oscar Acosta, as paraphrased in the film version of Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas:

    “One of God’s own prototypes. Some kind of high-powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”

  9. Judging by that lovely photo, I would say “a tongue in the webcam”. This is of course wide open to many interpretations; some of which are actually pertinent to your question.

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