Ideas of march

Warning: This blogpost has been posted over two years ago. That is a long time in development-world! The story here may not be relevant, complete or secure. Code might not be complete or obsoleted, and even my current vision might have (completely) changed on the subject. So please do read further, but use it with caution.
Posted on 15 Mar 2012
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Yes, I’m a lemming. If a see a group of people jumping off a cliff, I will follow blindly. If somebody calls for more blogposts in the world, I happily write a blogpost for it. But, being the subordinate lemming I like to pretend I am, I don’t completely see myself in the situation that Chris is in. Basically what he says is that due to the many social media outlets available to us, blogging is taking a backseat when it comes to spreading information. And even though this might be the case for many out there, I don’t think I’m falling in this category.

When I started blogging I did probably the same as anybody else: setup WordPress, added 2 blog-posts, did some Google Analytics setup and basically waited until anyone else than my mom visited the site. It didn’t happen..  So, after those two blog post, probably 95% of the users would just quit blogging and continue with their daily lives.

I sorta didn’t..

What happened, is that I started to blog more and started to realize the reason why I actually blogged: it was not show off to everyone else on how smart I am on certain subjects (which I am :P), but rather to figure out if I’m actually comprehending the matter where I’m blogging about. You see, it’s easy to read up some documentation, check some blogs and articles about a subject, and call yourself an expert. People tend to do that a lot. But what happens is that when you write a blog-post about a subject, you cannot write anything unless you are 100% clear about the subject. I try the same strategy when I’m teaching stuff: the best way for me to know if you understand the matter, is to let you explain it to me, not the other way around. If you don’t know the matter well enough, then there is no possible way you can write a blog-post on it (or do a talk on the subject, or teaching it). So writing blog-posts for me was a “final test” to figure out if really know the stuff I think I know. And it turns out that a lot of times I didn’t.

And this actually has two advantages: first, you don’t get frustrated by people not viewing your blog, since this is not your goal anymore and B) because your are not blogging for others,it’s easy enough to write about anything that pops inside your mind. And it turns out that writing blog-posts get easier and easier over time. I have a lot of subjects in draft which I either need to finish, or cannot yet release, but a lot of posts are just about problems I’m trying to solve or just solved, or things that annoy me where I blog about. You can write a blog-post in like 10 minutes without problem, which isn’t much more than writing a (way too long) email.

This actually has led that my blog grew with more and more articles about a very broad range of subjects. And just like a snowball effect, a blog-post got picked up by somebody, and more people got onto the site, and even more, and all of sudden you don’t even have to subject your blog-posts to the “major” outlets, because they are automatically interested in the things you are blogging about.

So the best advice I can give to you: don’t blog for others, blog for yourself. It’s a good way to archive the things you know and a great way to find things back you forget in a few months. And after a while, people WILL visit your blog. And funny enough, just this morning I was talking on Freenode with somebody about a subject that was one of my first blog-posts I written on this site.

So,.. in the end, my ideas of march pledge will not be about blogging more,  it will be about blogging just in the same speed I am doing now. This month, and the next months as well.