Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Scoble, I got your back

Ya gotta love Scott Koon - if nothing else, he's a man of great conviction.

I read with great interest Scoble's defense of his writing style and topics of choice, sans code. Lazycoder (Scott) is giving ol' Rob's blog the digital heave-ho from his aggregator due to the fact that Scoble's posts don't include programming examples. I'd be lying if I said this thought hadn't passed my mind on several occasions for certain sites, both for mainstream and new media bloggers.

Scoble isn't a coder, but he's got a solid technical background and upbringing with computers. He worked at Microsoft. Some of that had to have rubbed off on him. Michael Arrington is admittedly a lawyer, not a dev - but is learned, rock solid and reliable. You ever listen to Jason Calacanis talk tech? He can more than hang, even if he's not personally authoring a new compiler. And Chris Pirillo is about as tech as you can get. He freaking organizes GNOMEDEX! If Bill Gates actively blogged today, would you deny him a subscription? I'm not sure if he writes software anymore everyday, but you can't overlook his contributions to development.

Now in defense of Scott - I've interacted with him before on many occasions, and he's a cool cat and a valued resource. I don't write nearly as many articles on programming with code-heavy samples as I used to, and it's cost my blog many subscribers. I think he's made mention of this in the past to me offline. Scott's got tremendous theories on tech, which he shares very strongly and his posts avoids reader apathy. He's a blogger I like.

Because I swim at both sides of the pool as a professional software developer and journalist, I get harangued about this a lot. I'm thought to be too much of a talking head to be tech enough for the geeks; I'm way too binary for mainstream audiences. As a news anchor, the natural criticism against me is talking about stuff I don't know nearly enough about. But there are those who see past this implied shortcoming and get at the real gem - the content, how it's shaped, how it's made relevant, and how it's delivered. Not necessarily the underlying qualification about the material, or lack thereof.

My point is that I enjoy reading, listening to, and watching the opinions of those mentioned above on technology because they get the job done. I know they're not "tech". They understand the material enough and ask the right questions. And sometimes, not being knee-deep in this stuff allows them to not suffer from myopia of dev diehards who get too wound up in their elitism about actually being involved in the process to lucidly comment on the matter at hand. (Again, a trait I'm often guilty of myself.)

If my enjoyment of such stuff makes me less of an informed reader, than ignorance is bliss. So if you're like Scott, unsubscribe from blogs like Scoble's, Chris' and mine if you like. That's that's your prerogative. And your loss.

Interesting how people view unsubscribing as a hostile act. It's meant as an act of streamlining my reading workflow.

Some of the people you mention are technical in different ways. Some aren't technical at all. If someone is interested in the tech business or the marketing of blogs, then Scoble is a must read. A lot of the commenters seem to think that I'm missing something by not reading his blog. But I've not subscribed to his blog for over a year now and I'm not really missing anything IMO. If he posts something important, it eventually filters down to me via the people that I am subscribed to that also read Scoble. Pirillo is a super nice guy and smart, but his blog is aimed at the power users and enthusiasts. I've been using Windows in some form since Windows 3.1, DOS before that. It's not that interesting to me.

What fascinates me is how, in a post that is mainly about how Techmeme isn't really covering technology as much as it is business that happens to be about tech, everyone picked up that I wasn't reading Scoble and ran with it. Completely missed the point about Techmeme.

Lesson,learned. In future rants about things, leave Roberts name out.

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