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Mathemagenic


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  Monday, February 10, 2003


  Power laws vs. quality blogging

George Siemens on Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality by Clay Shirky:

This article is probably an accurate depiction of the difficulty facing bloggers who blog in order to be widely read. I think a more accurate image of blogging in the future will be millions of bloggers with a handful of readers each. For example, I would love to have wide readership...but that is secondary to the main reason I blog - to learn, grow, share, express, reflect, create a history of thought (mainly for myself), etc. If my goal for blogs is readership, Clay Shirkly's article is accurate. If my goal is to use blogging as a learning tool for myself and a few others, then this assessment of blogging is not relevant.

I share the same feeling: what if you blog not for quantity, but for quality? I don't care how many people read my blog if I get a few with insightful comments.

PS The article is a good read.

More on: blog ecosystem 

  You never know where you can find your own words :)

Funny. In referrer logs I found a strange copy of my blog. Tracing it back I found that this is part of the course assignment by Sean Mulcahy from University College Cork, Computer Science Department.

More on: blogs 

  Why I blog more than write scientific papers

As a follow-up thinking to why I blog more than use discussion tools: why I blog more than write scientific papers (or why I'm more motivated to blog :)

Because I get timely and so-needed feedback on my ideas.

It's also something to do with my intrinsic motivation to write and to get feedback rather than formal performance appraisal thing - "published so many papers". Probably if I become well-known and widely published scientist I will enjoy writing papers more. But not now :)

More on: bloggers motivation 

  Why I blog more than use discussion tools

Denham Grey  continues doubting about blogs (in this comment to this post; some context is here; the discussion is disrtibuted over several places):

We have different views on posting in web conferences I think. I hardly ever consider 'overload' in this context as it is so easy to skip posts (or people) that do not interest you.

The aspect of ownership is interesting - sometimes I honestly think bloggers do not want feedback / pushback they are happy to have everything their way and are not looking for disagreement - in fact avoiding confrontation may be one of the primary reasons for blogging in the first place.

I feel that blogging ideas makes them more open for a commentary than posting them to a discussion. In the second case readership is limited by the discussion audience, but with blogs you never know who may comment on it (and you can do nothing if they disagree - the best things would be to continue with new arguments). And this whole "discussion" can be very visible because of ways how search engines index blogs.

Blogging may look like "avoiding confrontation" at your own web-site, but this is not true as well: readers can use comments and in some cases you also can do nothing about it (e.g. with my current software I can't even delete comments if I don't like them).

Now to the more general point: blogging vs. discussion boards. There is a comparison here, but I'd like to focus on more personal feelings about it.

I need a conversation to grow my ideas, to be more specific I need a deep reflective conversation for it. In this conversation context means a lot, especially knowing why someone comments in a specific way. In academic writings you can trace it a bit with references, in informal coffee-table discussions you trace it with your knowledge about person's background and work. So, guess what is my problem with most of on-line discussions? I find it difficult to learn about context.

Some of on-line discussions are perfect for "going in and out", getting feedback on a small question (e.g. BRINT), but I want more. Other discussions, usually more private and often closed are better for reflective conversations, but in this case there is a "newcomer" problem: if you join in the middle of the discussion it takes a lot to recreate the context and to be able to join in (then I say - I don't have time for it).

So, I choose blogging. It gives me nonintrusive access to people I don't know personally. Blogs gives a better feeling of their authors thinking and reasoning than discussion boards. Probably those "distributed conversations" in blogs are not so easy to overview, but given a combination of RSS, news aggregator, referrer logs, Technorati and other tools it's not so difficult to trace it. And, bonus! as it's so difficult to overview many bloggers tend to summarise it - one thing which is not easy to get in on-line discussions.


Later: See also George Siemens about wikis and blogs in educational context (thanks to Albert Delgado)
Wiki link to blogging: I've found that I'm willing to collaborate once I have an identity...and that my collaboration will not minimize my identity (i.e. I won't disappear as a unique, personal entity into a nameless part of the larger whole). Blogging is the forum where I become/express my identity. Once this home base is established, I can begin to collaborate. So, set up blogs first...then move to wikis...and back to blogs. This is much like classrooms - start with where I'm at...discuss publicly...take public discussion and reflect personally. Wikis and blogs, therefore, are both unique elements in the larger territory of communication/learning. Different tools...different tasks.

  Reading papers outside

It's so sunny and fresh outside... It makes me feeling like putting something "reading papers outside" in my schedule. But I guess it's a bit too cold to read outside.

I wonder how much we are loosing growing our ideas inside buildings while nature gives us so many insights and inspirations. One might say that we need a concentration, which could be easier inside (no sun flashes!), but if it's true that Newton was sitting under an apple tree...

I wish I would have a job flexible enough to give me an opportunity to enjoy nature and produce results in the same time. We are getting wireless, so from technical perspective this shouldn't be a big deal.


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© Copyright 2002-2006 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

 
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