I’ve been trying to put my finger on what makes me have a love/hate relationship with weblogs, blogging and even RSS feeds, and beg your indulgence in consuming some electrons to share my thoughts…
First off, a true confession: I really like blogging and am delighted at how easily I am able to manage my Web site and focus on what I’m saying rather than how I’m producing it. It’s creating a completely new communications paradigm, a complete change in what a Web site is all about, and my hat is off to the visionaries who have brought us to this point.
Given that, what’s to hate about blogging?
Well, I think that there are two rivers flowing through the blogosphere and it’s the tug between them that causes me much heartache: one group of bloggers are people who are deep in thought, contemplative, and expanding the horizons of online communications. They’re what I’ll call the strategic bloggers and are characterized by their long, infrequent articles. They’re the river of deep thought.
The other group of bloggers are more like individual drops of water than any coherent flow of liquid, immediately recognizable by their frequent, short weblog postings. Tracking one of their Web sites can keep you abreast of the news in blogland, but can also be intellectually exhausting. They’re the digital attention deficit disorder carriers that I reference in the title of this weblog article. To contrast with the strategic bloggers, this group is completely tactically focused, covering the here-and-now with minimal contemplation.
And therein lies my challenge as a blogger and consumer of over a hundred different weblogs via RSS aggregator: how can I keep myself swimming in the river of deep thought when all around me swirl the droplets of tactical, reactive water? I’m not averse to writing shorter entries and sharing interesting news, but I want to dip my toe into the tactical while still ensuring that everything I blog is consistent with my long-term strategic vision and thinking.
It’s just darn easy to get sucked into the flowing droplets, to spit out yet another quick two-liner instead of spending the time and effort to ensure that my weblog postings are signposts on my intellectual journey, heading in the direction I want to travel. There’s a siren song of blogging, an ease of posting lots of reactive, thought-free (or “thought lite”) articles, a vast ADD playground.
For some of us, having weblogs characterized by up-to-the-minute postings and no sense of historical interest or useful archives is cool and works great, a sort of digital ephemera, but it’s the bloggers that have more focus, that are pushing the edges of their field, those are the people I seek to emulate.
Blogging is just a tool, and RSS is just an information distribution mechanism. They’re neutral and different people approach them differently. You, dear reader, might well prefer weblogs that offer one, two, even a dozen or more 10-50 word briefs throughout the day, and more power to you.
As for me? I’m going to continue exploring why rather than just what, working on longer, thoughtful articles, swimming in the river of deep thought, trying to keep from being sucked into the swirling eddies of the digital ADD, the phosphorescent lure of the shallow, the tactical, the reactive.
Blogs are like telephones. Friends, family and clients use them to communicate important, relevant, intelligent information to you. Telemarketers and prank callers abuse the service.
Blogs are like mail boxes. You open them up and find magazines you subscribe to and junk mail you have no interest in.
Blogs are like restaurants. In some the food (information) is great, the decor (design) is attractive, the waiters (navigation tools) are terrific, and you don’t mind paying the bill (mental attention). Other restaurants suck and consequently, you never visit them.
Blogs are like books. Some are educational or entertaining, worthy reads. Others are trash, stupid, wastes of paper and ink.
Great post and wonderful comment by Steven.