Tech Blogging: The Web Mind at Warp Speed

There’s this idea wandering around the web that less is better: less work, generally, and less writing and blogging and especially less press release rehashing. But more and faster conversation about technology means more chances for interesting ideas and useful analysis to emerge. There’s certainly a place for deep thought, but the web mind can work at many speeds — fast, slow and in between.

Marketing consultant and blogger Brian Oberkirch suggests that tech blogging happens too fast, without enough thought, and that a decrease in ad spending could have a helpful effect:

A minor correction in the ad market might be the best thing to happen to blogging. Maybe writers would turn away from becoming page mills and boring the crap out of us, and instead, will turn back to value, passion, thinking things through, making connections previously unseen.

Forrester blogger Josh Bernoff recently voiced a similar criticism:

When it comes to blogging, faster is often perceived to be better. GigaOm and TechCrunch are all over the trends, covering the same announcements, often within minutes of each other.

I’m not convinced, however, that better ideas emerge by holding back on them, deeply thinking them, and polishing them until they’re just right. With the global Internet mind, offering more tentative and provisional ideas and doing it faster may be a better strategy than sitting in an isolation chamber, devoid of feedback.

Writing coach Angela Booth tells writers they should write more, not less:

Many years ago, I wanted to be a “good” writer. So I wrote less. I became obsessive about revision — polishing the life out of my writing. It finally dawned on me that “good” doesn’t mean slow. In fact the faster I wrote (which was my natural inclination anyway), the more quality I could winnow from the chaff.

There’s a parallel that can be drawn with tech blogging — not just that individual bloggers become better writers as they write more, but that the ideas we come up with as a community get better as they are batted about the blogosphere.

If all tech blogs did was rewrite press releases, they would add little to the evolving understanding of technology. What they do instead is consistently introduce timely information and quick analysis into an ongoing conversation. While it’s not a perfect approach, it can contribute to an incremental growth in understanding — especially when that new information is mixed and mashed up by other writers working at different paces and with knowledge of other spheres.

Richard Ogle in his book “Smart World” proposes that the world of ideas thinks for itself. Blogs can radically accelerate that process by encouraging a much broader range of people to participate, speeding up the flows of information and allowing connections to be made across a range of topics. On the web, less is definitely not more.

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