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News Posts versus Thought Posts

by Tom Johnson on Sep 27, 2007
categories: blogging technical-writing

You've probably heard the latest tech news:

  • Google launched its presentations tool
  • WordPress 2.3 was released, offering tagging
  • Yahoo bought Zimbra for $350 million
  • Adobe announced a tech comm suite of RH, FM, Capt., Flash, and Acrob.
  • AuthorIt released a new version (not sure what it offers)
  • The One Child Per Laptop (OCPL) program is underway
  • The Tech Crunch conference announced tons of new products
  • Sketchcast was released, and Ideablob, and Feedhub
  • Movable Type 4.0 was released with some degree of open sourceness
  • Microsoft is buying stake in Facebook
  • Halo 3 was released

If you blink for a week, you miss a thousand developments. Despite all this news, which I glance at, sift through, or scroll down in my feedreader as I'm riding in a van at 5 a.m., I'm starting to look more for the non-newsy posts, the opinionated ones. We can only drink so much from the firehose of information before it turns us into information-downloading robots. We need analysts to opinionate. We need real people to emote, take sides. Blog posts that merely deliver facts, news, tips, or information bore me.

I'm not saying I don't want tech news. Sure, but I saw about 6 separate posts announcing Google launched a presentation tool, and another half a dozen explaining that Adobe launched its technical communication suite. I prefer to read opinion. For example, Ann Gentle, who is a tech savvy writer/blogger, begins with the news, but then adds her own real thoughts about it.

Throwing out opinions can be dangerous. I'm always restraining myself. What if I make an opinion that offends, or that turns out to be wrong, or that makes me sound uninformed? And why throw out opinions without more research, evidence, and thought? It's much easier to just deliver the news.

Still, the essence of blogging comes from journaling. Blogs are interesting because they express individual voices, individual opinions. Blogs should not merely be vehicles for the dissemination of news. We have dozens of tech news sites for that.

I find myself skimming posts until I find one with an authentic voice, where a person is trying to express a thought or feeling, like this one, rather than communicating news. We are drowning in news. We need more thought.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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