Friday Philosophy – Blogging Style and Aim August 12, 2011Posted by mwidlake in Blogging, Friday Philosophy.
Tags: Blogging, perception, private
I’ve recently looked back at some of my earlier blog postings and also some notes I made at the time I started. I had a few aims at the start, pretty much in this order:
- A place to put all those Oracle thoughts and ideas, for my own benefit
- Somewhere to record stuff that I keep forgetting
- I’d started commenting on other blogs and felt I was maybe too verbal on them
- To increase my profile within the Oracle community
- To share information, because I’m quite socialist in that respect
- To learn more
It very quickly morphed into something slightly different though.
Firstly, it is not really somewhere that I record thoughts and ideas or where I record stuff that I forget. When I am busy, I sometimes only get half way to the bottom of resolving an issue or understanding some feature of Oracle. I tend to create little documents about them but I can lose track of them. I initially intended to put these on my blog. The thing is though, I don’t feel I can blog about them because I might be wrong or I raise more questions than I answer. I don’t think a public blog about technology is a good place to have half-baked ideas and I certainly don’t want people:
- reading and believing something that is wrong
- thinking I do not know what I am talking about
- seeing my rough notes as boy are they rough, often with naughty words in them and slang. Converting them to a familly-friendly format takes time.
You see, there is the point about increasing my profile in the community. Part of me hates the conceit that you have to be seen as all-knowing or never wrong, as no one is all-knowing and never wrong. In fact, I think most of us find it hard to like people who put themselves as such. But if I put out a blog saying “it works this way” and I am wrong or I simply say it in a clumsy way or I assume some vital prior knowledge, I could be making people’s lives harder not easier, so I spend a lot of effort testing and checking. It takes me a lot, lot longer to prepare a technical blog than I ever thought it would before I started. And yes, I accept I will still get it wrong sometimes.
Another consideration is that I make my living out of knowing a lot about Oracle. If I post a load of blogs saying something like “gosh I wish I understood how Oracle locks parts of the segment as it does an online table rebuild and handles the updates that happen during it”, then I obviously don’t know about that. Or I put out a post about how I currently think it works and I’m wrong. Tsch, I can’t be that good! How much should I have to think about how I am selling myself as a consultant? There is a difference between being liked and being perceived as good at what you do. If you want someone to design a VLDB for you, you probably don’t care if s/he is a nice person to spend an evening in the pub with - but you certainly care if they seem to be fundamentally wrong about oracle partitioning.
Balancing that, if you saw my recent post on Pickler Fetch you will see that I was wrong about a couple of things and there was some stuff I did not know yet. But I learnt about those wrong things and lack of knowledge, so I feel good about that. That was one of my original aims, to learn. Not only by having to check what I did but by people letting me know when I was wrong.
What about style? I can be quite flippant and, oh boy, can I go on and on. I know some people do not like this and, if you want a quick solution to an oracle problem, you probably do not want to wade through a load of side issues and little comments. You just want to see the commands, the syntax and how it works. Well, that is what the manuals are for and there a lot of very good web sites out there that are more like that. If you do not like my verbose style then, hey that’s absolutely fine. But I like to write that way and so I shall.
So after over 2 years of blogging, I seem to have settled into a style and my aims have changed.
- I try to be helpful and cover things in detail.
- I try to polish what I present a lot, lot more than I do for my own internal notes. Maybe too much.
- I’m going to write in a long-winded way that some people will not enjoy but it is my style.
- I’m going to try and worry less about looking perfect as I am not.
I suppose what I could do is start a second, private blog with my half-baked stuff on it. But I just don’t think I’ve got the time :-)