posted 24 Nov 2006 in Volume 10 Issue 3
The Gurteen perspective
David – Get a Life!
By David Gurteen
I discovered weblogs back in 2002 when a colleague suggested I take a look at them. At first I stumbled across the mass of personal weblogs that held little interest for me but then I found a single weblog that changed my life.
It was unusual for a weblog in that it was co-authored by three people: Dan Bricklin, Bob Frankston and Dave Reed. And I knew all three of these gentlemen from my days with Lotus Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dan Bricklin was the inventor of the spreadsheet VisiCalc back in 1982; Bob Frankston was his co-developer and Dave Reed was the chief architect for 1-2-3 in the late 80s.
Here were three exceptionally bright, talented people blogging about the development of the internet – they were sharing their thoughts, musings and ideas out loud. Instantly, I saw the value of weblogs as knowledge-sharing tools and by the end of the evening I had developed and integrated a weblog into my own website.
Back then I used to tell people about weblogs and their potential whenever I had the opportunity but few took the time to listen or understand. After one talk I gave on weblogs at a conference, a member of the audience was overheard to say, “We have been blogged and klogged to death by David Gurteen.” To which his friend replied, “Yes he really ought to get a life.” I still chuckle about this today.
However, in the intervening four years more and more people have come to see the power of weblogs as powerful social tools – tools that enable people to share, learn and collaborate. But I am still shocked at people’s head-in-the-sand mentality at times.
Recently when I mentioned weblogs to a senior manager he replied, “Oh, you mean the ramblings of the ill-informed.” When I explained their power I was greeted with the response, “But how do people find the time to read them; never mind write them? They need to get a life!”
But it’s not about lack of time – we are already overloaded. It’s about a lack of understanding of the benefits of weblogs and prioritising time accordingly. I subscribe to 30 or so RSS [really-simple syndication] feeds – news channels that get pushed to my own personal ‘newspaper’ each day.
Some of these feeds are from well-known sources, such as the BBC and other mainstream media, but many come from weblogs and websites. My RSS reader keeps me informed of all the things that are important to my professional development.
The information obtained in them I could find nowhere else – not in books, magazines, newspapers or on the TV. I keep abreast of new products, technologies and ideas. I simply could not do my job without them.
So I still find it surprising when I come across such resistance to weblogs and RSS. Too many people, to my mind, are prejudiced against them without ever taking the time to really understand what they are really about and their benefits.
You don’t have to write a weblog to benefit. Find an RSS reader such as Bloglines and start to subscribe to just a few of the millions of news channels on the web. Very soon you will wonder how you ever survived without it. Try it for yourself – you can see my ‘personal daily newspaper’ here:
David Gurteen is the founder of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. He can be contacted via www.gurteen.com.