In it I said:
“This is great if the context of the blog post suits the need of your situation, but what if it doesn’t?
Is the arguement that blogs are not trying to be what they can’t be vs codified documents that have an intention they cannot meet (they are not achieving what they are intending to achieve)?
So, nothing can have a constant context, blog post or not.”
I suppose my main point is that blogs, as raw and informal as they are, are not a panacea for context, but they are a hell of a lot better than codified documents.
You may have trouble understanding the context of a blog post, and have not yet developed a relationship with the blog or author (eg. you don’t subscribe or regularly read the blog, you don’t leave comments, etc…), in fact it could be the first time you have seen this blog.
Some things you can do in the immediacy.
LEAVE A COMMENT
- the author will be happy to clarify
READ THE ARCHIVES, ESPECIALLY POSTS ON THE SAME AND SIMILAR TOPICS
- this will give you an understanding of how the author thinks, you can become familiar with their school of thought, language they use
- also read the comments on blogs posts, where conversations get deeper, and sometimes clarify and challenge the meaning in the blog post
CHECK OUT THE BLOGGERS NETWORK
- check out the blogroll to get an idea of blogs (people) this author trusts and recommends
- you may find distributed conversations
- these bloggers may blog about the same topic or meme, and perhaps you may find it easier to understand their calibre of writing and message, which can help you better understand the original blog post you were reading
CHECK OUT THE BLOGGERS LIFESTREAM
- you may find other things about this author, which helps you get a more holisitic perspective on the person
- also you may see all the video, links, podcasts they collect, which can give you more insight into their world
This illustrates the power of the blog format in enabling you to build some sort of higher abstraction with the author, ie. get to know the author, so you come to understand their intended messages and contexts.
Unlike codified documents, blogs are dynamic and take you on a journey of discovery.
participation + blogs = learning
Samuel has a really great point:
“I can send back an email in a couple of seconds to someone with whom I share a certain context. I can leave out all the details when I reply to him/her. But when I want to answer him/her via my blog I also have to think about all the other people that don’t share that context. Because they don’t, they’ll be frustrated when they read my post. Writing such a post (instead of an email) would take more of my time. Or am I missing something?”
He left a comment on my post on the same point:
“Can you just move an email conversation to a blog without providing (more) context (to other readers)?”
This is very true, but you have to weigh up the pros and cons of how your conversation is documented.
Sure, emails cut to the chase, but no-one else is going to know that conversation existed.
- the people emailing miss out on other people pitching in their insight
- other people miss out on seeing information gems
- everyone misses out on people discovery, and there is no visibility, rather it’s participation behind the curtain
As I mentioned at least with blogs, there is opportunity to seek clarification for context, but you have to work at it. And bloggers, most of the time, link back to their past posts for background on their present post.
Just like your email conversations, in your blog circle you can post without establishing background
- it’s on the onus of a new person who comes across your blog to study up on you and use the wonders of the blog format to get to know you and your network more so they can help build context.
The beauty is that you form a blog network around yourself, you participate and discover, and when you are in this zone, you are part of the vernacular.
What started as an issue of not understanding the context of a blog post, enables you the opportunity to go on a discovery of understanding.
When you come out the other end not only do you now have the shared context to undertanding this blog post, but you have discovered:
- the archives of this blog and learnt so much other stuff
- discovered a heap of other blogs
- starting posting on your own blog and leaving comments, pointing to these other blogs (you become part of the network)
- discovered people you trust, that you can perpetually learn from and tap into when you have information needs
The destination is nature’s way of giving you a good excuse to go on a journey.