How I View Blogging

(I'm trying to blog every day—however, if I want to say something in the afternoon and I've already blogged that day, I probably won't postpone posting just to stretch things out. That will likely mean more than 30 posts this month although will reduce the chance of me having something to say every day)

In his first post for the month, Brian Rosner talks about his preference for the "article" type of blog entry than the "random opinion and links" type of entry. It's not clear if that's a preference for the entries he wants to write or the entries he wants to read. He also asks his readers what their take is.

As I've thought (and written) about the topic before, I thought I'd post my random opinions here rather than just in comments on Brian's blog (or though afterwards, I may go link there).

Comments vs Trackbacks

Which segues nicely into the first point: I like giving more detailed responses to a blog post in another blog post rather than just a comment. In fact, the reason I didn't add comments when I first implemented this blog software was I wanted people to reply on their own blogs. Back in 2004 that seems more the "blog way". In a post from that time Blogs, Annotations, Comments and Trackbacks I talked about trackbacks (notifying resource A that resource B talks about it) as the fundamental idea—it's just Web annotation really, but trackbacks are primarily blog to blog and comments are really just a variant where there annotating resource is actually inlined with the annotated resource (and generally persisted on the same system, although not always).

Don Park had an idea called Conversation Categories where you could host your responses but still mark them as part of a particular conversation. I never really saw this done beyond broad tagging.

Paucity of Inbound Links

One thing that's always been unusual about my own blog is the paucity of inbound links relative to number of readers. When I've compared my stats with others who've published them, I have a high subscriber count but low number of incoming links.

I've never really worked out what that would be. I guess people find my posts interesting but not noteworthy.

Blogs as Conversations

Back in Belated Thoughts on Blogs and Wikis, I talked mostly about the nature of wikis but also made the comment that while wikis are about collaboration, blogs are about conversations.

I wonder if that's as true any more. Has the conversation moved to twitter? See more below.

Blog to Contribute to Your Tribe

I've long be inspired by Tom Peters' view that loyalty is no longer to companies but to professions and networks. Nowadays I think that's better rephrased as loyalty to 'tribes'. A few years ago I gave a talk to a business group where I basically said contributing to your tribe was the best way to "network" and, in particular contributing by sharing knowledge.

Back in the late 90s people were more likely to know me because of posts to mailing lists like xml-dev. Nowadays someone at a conference is far more likely to come up to me and say "oh hi James, I read your blog".

Blogging is a great way to contribute to your tribe(s).

Planetary Effects

I'm on both Planet Pythons. The fact I don't have category-specific feeds means all my non-Python stuff goes to the Python planets too. No one has ever complained to me about it (and, in fact, some people have thanked me for my topic diversity) but I still sometimes feel awkward about it.

One thing's for sure, nothing gets comments like a Python-related post with code included.

The Twitter Effect

There is no doubt that Twitter reduced the amount of blogging I do. Reflecting on this, it could be that blogging was partly fulfilling a desire to tell the world what I was up to and Twitter now does that. I think it's more than that, though. I think it's that Twitter has also taken much of the conversation.

I was always hesitant to post naked links to my blog but now Twitter has completely taken away the possibility of me doing that.

Also, if I have a question that can be expressed in 140 characters, I'll ask it on Twitter whereas I may have previously blogged a longer version of the question.

Twitter also has an impact on the reading side. I can now find out what a friend is up to via Twitter or their Facebook status rather than them having to do a blog post.

Why I Blog

In Blog Goals of Lack Thereof I talked about the fact that blogging is for scribbling or making announcements about projects, not, for me, a project in itself.

Back in Thank You Blog Readers I said:

I think I'll still just continue to blog about things that interest me and things that I'm working on. After all, pretty much every single topic I've written on has put me in contact with some interesting person that I've learnt and am continuing to learn new things from.

How I View Blogging As Reader

I read to be informed and, occasionally entertained. I want to learn stuff. I want to trigger new ideas. I want to be informed what's going on in particular communities. I want to to be informed what's going on with particular friends or their projects. I read too many feeds to deal with too many long articles.

How I View Blogging As a Writer

I want to inform. I want get a better understanding of things by being forced to articulate them myself. I want to be corrected when I've done something stupidly and want have my solutions improved upon. I want to find other people who are working (or wanting to work) on similar projects to me. I want to keep people up-to-date with what I'm working on.

In Conclusion

I think I'll continue to blog. They won't be long articles. They won't be naked links. There'll be some announcements, but it will mostly be snippets of thought as I learn and try to interact with other learners.

The original post was in the category: blogging but I'm still in the process of migrating categories over.

The original post had 5 comments I'm in the process of migrating over.