Ideas of March

On Chris Shiflett’s blog he asks the question why we don’t blog more.  For myself a lack of blogging usually means I’m working on code.  I take what could be called the Pauline method of technology evangelism; meaning that the evangelism is almost secondary.  It’s a continuation of what what I do.  I love writing code and so that’s what I do, and I like to show you/write about what I’m doing.  That’s why I often do a lot of my posts or videos based around some kind of project that I’m working on or some kind of experiment.  Those, I think are the best blog posts.    That said, the idea around Ideas of March is to:

* Write a post called Ideas of March. (Working on it)
* List some of the reasons you like blogs.  (About to)
* Pledge to blog more the rest of the month.  (Done)
* Share your thoughts on Twitter with the #ideasofmarch hashtag. (In a bit)

For myself, I don’t actually prefer blog posts over Twitter for a simple reason; both have diametrically opposed purposes.  On Twitter you have narcissists who are competing with each other to say whatever they can to increase the number of Twitter followers they have whereas on blogs you have narcissists who are competing with each other to increase the number of Feedburner subscribers they have.  So there you have it.  Completely opposite.  :-)

I jest of course, though there is some truth to that.  But I do see Twitter and blog posts as two different mediums but have the same kind of goal.  The end result is the democratization of information; i.e. making information available to the masses.  When it comes to pop culture this degrades our culture.  When it comes to problem solving, particularly solving technology problems, this enhances our culture.  But what Twitter also does is allow you to break into what used to be ivory towers, segmenting the knows and the know-nots.  The know-nots weren’t less intelligent than the knows, but they didn’t have access to that information.

I think this works well for PHP.  I have previously written about how PHP democratizes software development and that I think that’s the reason why as many people hate it as love it.  It promotes accessibility.  Twitter does this well because it allows you to be subscribers of information.  Sometimes that information is downright dumb (I personally hate the #fail hashtag).  The reason why Charlie Sheen has a million subscribers is not because he’s a train wreck but because he has damn smart PR people (and they fooled most of you).  But but other times there can be tremendously useful information.  There’s a reason why MWoP has almost 3k followers.  You find a lot of good information because he knows his stuff and doesn’t hide it from you.  If you stay away from Twitter’s putrid side, Twitter is a meritocracy, which is the way it should be.

But Twitter, in and of itself, is insufficient.  For those who want access not just to information, but understanding, you will not find one whit of that on Twitter.  If you really want to get to the interesting stuff you need to read blogs.  Blogs take “the wisdom of the crowd” and throw it on its head.  “The crowd” gave Charlie Sheen a million followers.  There is no wisdom in crowds.  What blogs are, particularly technology blogs, is not the crowd, but the classroom.  While this is becoming less true, the classroom is the place of learning and discovery.  That does not happen quickly.  Blog posts take time.  Tweets do not.  If blog posts were as easy as tweets they would be useless.  Part of the reason why blogs are good is because good bloggers take time to craft what they are saying.  They think it through.  It may still be rushed but there is more thought put into a blog post than a tweet.  There is not a single thought worth having that is properly cohesive in 140 characters.  Therein lies the key to why blogs are superior.  They are an investment on the part of the writer.  Twitter is closer to an index than a book.

How can I claim that?  Nobody ever complains that there isn’t enough space on their blog to properly express their thoughts.

So, in my opinion, Twitter is good in that it provides the means to meet people you couldn’t otherwise meet and discover information you wouldn’t normal discover.  But blogs are the information you’re looking for.

In short, I like blogs because

  1. They contain actual thought
  2. The democratize information and let people in who perhaps could not have gotten in
  3. They are an actual investment on the part of the author
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