4 July 2013

Why I (Don’t) Blog

If you find yourself in the situation where you have to present a non-trivial amount of information to people, success may depend on the method of communication you choose to use.

Face to face

Rich impression, poor retention, and very demanding of resources!  When someone’s taken the trouble to be physically present, you should put them first, above lazier contacts such as phone calls, and neither of you will get any other interactive work done during your meeting.

So if there’s a non-trivial amount of contact to deliver, rather send that via fax or email ahead of time, so that the meeting can be pure live interaction rather than “death by PowerPoint”.  Make sure you allow enough time for this pre-meeting information to be processed; in the days before email, I’d budget a day per fax page.  Need folks to read a 5-page fax before a meeting?  Send it at least 5 days before.  Not enough time?  Edit the content down to fewer pages.


The pits; in my opinion, the “voice telephone” model of paid-for real-time voice-only calls should have died in the 20th century, along with telegraph Morse code.  Very intrusive real-time demands, no content logging or retention for either party, and worse communication effectiveness than face to face (clothespeg-on-the-nose sound due to poor frequency response, no non-verbal gesture/expression cues, etc.).  And then there’s “telephone arm”.  What was the other idea?

I’d also refuse to do any significant interactions over the phone, especially with larger entities that “record calls for quality purposes”.  If things escalate to a courtroom appearance several months down the line, guess who’s going to look like the unreliable witness?


Ahhh yes, now we’re getting somewhere.  No cost (at least if you’re on ADSL rather than some ghastly rapaciously-priced mobile Internet access), text chats are logged, files can be sent and links or text pasted in and out, and there’s sound and video available too.  It’s real time, but “sticky”; a pending chat is more likely to grab your attention when returning to your system than an emal would, and can be continued at any time.


Best of the lot; excellent logging and reusability, the best way to send content with the lowest risk of “glaze over” (which pretty much kills phone and face-to-face for anything substantial).


If you find yourself having to say the same thing to different folks again and again, then it’s better to blog it and say “yonder post refers”.  That is why I started blogging, after getting that “stepping on ants one by one” feeling when I was active in usenet technical news groups.

But I find it much harder to write when I don’t have a specific audience in mind, and that is why I blog so seldom.  In fact, many of my blog posts are generalizations of content originally written for a specific person.

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