As someone who has been blogging about technology for most of my career, I know that I’m not the smartest guy in the room. I have been learning since day one, and there’s still so much knowledge left to gain.
Unfortunately, when you blog about tech for a living, you’re constantly putting that knowledge, or lack thereof, out for the entire world to see. Personally, I enjoy the challenge to keep learning and love when readers share their comments or concerns with me about a piece. Ultimately, however, my hope with every piece is that I learned something in the process of reading, and hopefully, my readers learned something in the process as well.
Learning in Public Helps Everyone
It’s kind of like being a college tutor. You, yourself, are by no means an expert in the field, but as you help guide others through problems and processes, you reinforce your own learning of the subject at the same time.
This sharing of learning, both from the reader’s perspective and the blogger’s, helps edify everyone. And, if readers have criticisms or corrections to a piece, that works in a similar, yet inverse kind of way.
Ethan Banks, independent tech blogger and Tech Field Day delegate, seems to share my point of view. In his piece on the learning benefits of technical blogging, specifically how in the long run, it floats all boats, Banks comments:
I think the biggest barrier is the “in public” part. Architects and engineers tend to be introverts who are at times unsure of themselves. We don’t want to be learning in public. We want to be left alone to figure it out. When we’ve figured it out, maybe then will we share, once we’re supremely confident that we’ve got it 110% right. We just don’t need the headache of criticism, controversy, and the “but actually” pedants.
Banks goes on to give some advice about how he overcame his trepidation towards the public learning forum that is tech blogging. But to find out, you’ll have to read Learning In Public Helps Everyone over at his blog.
As for me, my trick is to always keep writing and know that however a piece turns out, you’re bound to learn something, and even in the face of feedback, negative or otherwise, that’s still progress.