Tuesday, March 6, 2007

On blogging

In a recent comment, one of my friends asked if I had stopped blogging. In response, I've decided to take a moment to pontificate on the activity of blogging in general, and my participation in particular. If I wax too philosophical, skill to the end to see the answer to his question. :)

A blog is an interesting creation. It exists largely to disseminate information in a timely manner to a specific audience. The writer may have other motivations for blogging, but fundamentally a blog is just another piece of third-rate quasi-journalism, with a several of very important differences from traditional distribution media:

First, a blog can be published by anybody. Unlike a newspaper, a magazine, or even direct market mailings, writing a blog is something that requires no previous skills or experience. The cost of entry is incredibly low, and anyone with an internet connection, mediocre typing skills and sufficient quantities of spare time can write about anything he cares to. The end result is lots of people, spending lots of time, writing about lots of stuff, which they probably know little about.

That said, blogs can still contain useful information. I've learned much after combing the web for a little-known hack for MapServer. Many very intelligent people write lots of intelligent stuff, which can often be useful and instructive. By and large, though, most blogs are junk. Worse yet, the global signal-to-noise ratio goes down the toilet as the amount of junk increases.

Although the information posted to them is often very transient, blogs have the potential to be archived indefinitely. By using proper measures, one can avoid such things, but generally, once something is out on the 'net, it is infinitely harder to put the genie back into that bottle. For that reason, I tend to be overly conservative when it comes to what I post, and how I post it. Of course, there will always be content which is applicable and appropriate, and which I feel comfortable posting.

Third, a blog is an investment by the writer, not a source of income (for most). Whether it be hosting fees, time spent writing, or simply the thought put into generating content, a blog requires something in the way of cognitive cycles and resources. In some respects, living life is largely about the economics of time, and I don't have a whole lot of it these days. In the constant tug of infinite wants versus finite resources, blogging often gets the short end of the stick.

So what does this all mean? Am I done blogging? Will this space ever have more content again?

The answer is: the status quo will probably continue. Hubris dictates that I do have something interesting to say, and this forum is as good as any to say it, I suppose. Hopefully, I'll be a bit more diligent about posting relevant material here as I generate it.

How's that for an answer?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hiya Heather and Hyrum!

Welcome to the world of my wordpress BlixKrieg template - be sure to drop by occasionally for some tips and tricks :)