Mindworks’ Weblog

Thinking Matters

Thinking space

Posted by Andrew Cooper on July 19, 2008

I like blogging.  I started this blog on Christmas Eve 2006 after someone said ‘Andrew, you should write a blog.’  As you can see if you find your way back to the beginning (use the ‘next page’ link at the bottom of this one) I wrote a few posts and gave up.  My view about blogging was that it was a lot of sad people talking to themselves.  Well, it isn’t.  Or to be more precise, it is mostly people talking to themselves but there’s nothing sad about it.  And there are some blogs – in this case, a network of linked blogs – where there’s very much a many-to-many (as people say in the world of IT) interaction.

The someone I mentioned was this chap, a former local councillor who I don’t actually know that well in the real world, but with whom I’ve corresponded in various ways at various times.  As you can see, he has a very successful blog.  (I left the rather, er, short comment on it here last night – as I’ve pointed out I am completely apolitical these days).  Paul is the person who, as I mentioned in the Blog Event Horizon post, pointed out that most blogs have a readership of one.

He’s right, but I now think everyone should start a blog.  Pick a topic about which you are passionate and then just write about it.  It’s mind expanding.

Everyone is supposed to have one book inside them and in the vast majority of cases, including mine, I’m sure that’s the best place for it to stay.  I remember reading an item in the Financial Times once which said that something like 70% of all the management books that are bought are never read.  There’s a good reason for this: all their meaningful content could be conveyed on about four pages of A4.  The rest is just waffle is included because, like management consultants’ reports, they have to pass the drop test to make people feel they’re getting value for money.  Most management books are bought as decoration – they look good next to those slogans like ‘Together Everybody Achieves More’ which I mentioned.

I suppose that if I ever wrote a book it would be about people, thinking and innovation.  But I think a blog is a much better way of getting my thoughts on those topics out of my head.  I can write them quickly, link them to other resources videos, photos, other websites and so on in a way which wouldn’t be possible in a book. And noow that I fully dongled-up (see a comment I left on my new Vodafone dongle) I can blog anywhere that I can pick up a 3G signal,

One of the most useful things about all this is that expands my thinking space, to put it pretentiously.  I’ve always found that writing helps me to make connections and crystallise ideas – it’s a creative process, after all.

When I attempt to explain ‘the idea’ I’ve been discussing on and off here to other people most of them say ‘so, you want to build a website’.  That’s my fault entirely because what I do is to thrust a rather pretty, if I say so myself, mock-up of the home page of a website in front of them and they instantly start thinking about the web and not the thing I’d like them to think about.

I need another diagram or picture.  This would need to capture the ‘what’ rather than the ‘how’.  The website is a means to an end.  The end in this case is to do with linking a large group of minds together so that they can do various interesting and, I think, useful things.  I want, to be even more pretentious, to create a kind of collective thinking space in which people will learn, communicate and create while getting to understand a specific topic.  This learning, communication and creation wouldn’t take place ‘on’ the website – it takes place in people’s heads: the web is just a enabler.  And this is exactly what is already happening in places like http://scienceblogs.com.

If you don’t know how to start a blog, just go to http://www.wordpress.com – it’s very easy.  Once you’re up and running the next thing to do is to start writing, but it has – I think – to be about a passion.

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