2007-01-22

The Reason for Blogging

I regularly hang out at programming.reddit.com. It's a news site for programmers where visitors can vote up and down the news articles. I like it because it is geared towards programming language discussion rather than only focusing on how to use the most mainstream languages.

Mark my surprise when I found one of my own blog posts featured on the first page. It was the post from a couple of weeks back on Programming Productivity and Programming Languages. I was very flattered that people had found it interesting enough to post it on reddit in the first place and furthermore that it got enough positive votes to make it into the front page.

Of course I was eager to see the comments so I immediately open the comments page. What I found there was comments like the following:


These sorts of articles aren't very useful. Lots of vague, unsubstantiated claims, especially when claims like

All those features such as purity, closures, powerful type system, laziness and STM which makes programming in the large easier come together very nicely in Haskell.

are made.

and
I agree. It's ideological rubbish. Maybe the author should argue with guys like this

http://wagerlabs.com/2006/01/01/haskell-vs-erlang-reloaded

instead of deducing the productivity of a PL from its feature matrix.

I agree with these comments. The claims I made in my post were very much unsubstantiated and they were all ideologically motivated. Why then did I write the way I did? Clearly this kind of writing isn't very helpful for anyone reading it and so why take up any readers time with such obvious rubbish?

There is a bit of a problem with news sites such as reddit and digg and how they relate to the blogosphere. People can submit any blog post (or web site) that they see fit to these sites. It can be blog posts by anyone anywhere on the internet, written under any circumstances and in an unknown context. But when a blog post appears on these sites some people tend to read them as news articles written for general consumption. But that is in many cases not at all how they should be read. People write for many reasons and to please news hungry surfers is only one reason.

The reason I blog is not for someone to read what I've written. I started blogging to improve my writing skills. I've continued blogging because I like to write down things that come to my mind and it is a good help for structuring my thoughts. I blog for my own amusement.

But then, why do I blog, as opposed to just writing on a piece of paper? The reason for me is that the possibility that someone might read what I write helps me write. Blogging means that I have an (at least potential) audience which I can target my writing towards. This (perhaps imaginary) audience is very important for me, I wouldn't be able to write without it. I simply can't motivate myself to write only for my own sake.

So I was by no means put off by the comments my blog post received on reddit. My posts wasn't written for these people. But I am glad that there were a couple of people who actually liked the article and gave it positive votes.

I blog for my own amusement. That has and always will be the main purpose of this blog. But I've been thinking a lot lately about starting another blog where I will write about technical stuff, programming and programming languages. Why another blog? Because in my head the random ramblings that appear on this blog is very separate from my technical thoughts. The two blogs would also have very different intended audience. While this blog only has an imaginary audience the new tech blog would be directed towards programming and research peers. I think it's earnest towards both audiences to keep the blogs apart. Anyhow, if I decide to launch a new tech blog I'll be announcing it here so watch this space if you're interested.

1 comment:

Andy said...

Your imaginary audience is still here so blog away :-)