Tuesday, 22 February 2005

An incomplete thought on blogging

What is the point of a blog?

It’s an interesting question to which I can personally think of too many answers to consider writing about, but a few short ideas have permeated recently which seem worth noting and provide an amusingly recursive entry, if you get what I mean…

  1. Blogs are about sharing useful information with like minded people
  2. I read blogs because they inform me, so blogs are often about informing people. How do they inform? They inform because they share knowledge, and often they share a learning process. The writer moves from point A to point B in their understanding of a subject area, and the reader, who reads the blog because they feel an affinity for the writer, is also given a stepping stone to move from A to B without having to do all the work involved in discovering the step.

    So, whilst a blog can be anything, in this understanding, a blog is about sharing what you are learning rather than attempting to write some creative or editorial masterpiece.

    This being the case, a blog of this kind is not something that should take a long time to compose, because it doesn’t need too much thought, it just requires the thoughts to be composed on the screen and it doesn’t need to take long for another reason…

  3. Blogs are about progressing knowledge not completing it
  4. Normally writing is constrained by the need to complete things… the need to make something into a whole with a beginning, a middle and an end. From the perspective of a bit of prose this is probably still true if you want your blog to read well, but it doesn’t matter with regard to the thoughts it communicates.

    Forget etiquette, forget the norms of old, blogging is about a conversation separated from time. I blog something and someone blogs a response somewhere else in the world at some time later. Perhaps I never hear the response, but someone else does, and it takes thoughts forward and builds on them.

    What’s the point of completing a thought and wrapping it up in a parcel. For one thing it hits the old 80/20 rule that applied here says that wrapping up a thought takes 80% of the time and probably contributes 20% or less of the substance. It’s perhaps hard to admit that a thought isn’t complete and that we don’t have the final answer, but I know as a reader of blogs that I would be sorely disappointed if all the blogs I read had censored by the ‘completed thought’ police.

Funnily enough a blog could be described as agile publishing. Perhaps I should register that definition. Anyway, I could go on but…

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