Earlier in the month I blogged about blogging. In fact, I think that’s happened a couple of times this month. That’s going to happen when you have a daily blog about nothing in particular. It’s sort of like a text version of No Agenda, but without the Crackpot or the Buzzkill. Or at least without the Buzzkill. Anyway, today I’m not blogging about blogging, I’m just mentioning the time I did, and more specifically how I talked about encouraging others to blog. But I realize blogging can be a bit to involved and time consuming for some people. (Okay, I give up. Clearly I’m blogging about blogging again.)
I encourage people to blog for entirely selfish reasons – I just want them to add to the collective body of knowledge that is accumulating on the web. Of course blogs tend to contain more noise than signal, but I leave solving that problem to the fine people at Google. Just put the information out there and it will get sorted later. I understand that my own blog’s signal / noise ratio is probably pretty terrible, but I know at least one post has been helpful to a couple of people, and I hope others have at least made a few people think about something in a new way. The reason the Acer Trackpad post has been a little useful is despite being buried in a blog about nothing is where it shows up in google searches. It’s one of the first few results on a search for “Acer Aspire Trackpad Problem.”
Everyone is either an expert in something, or at least very interested in something. You may not want to take the time to write daily blog entries about something you’re interested in, but you might considering contributing to a project like Wikipedia. You don’t need to be a “writer” to contribute – in fact Wikipedia has a policy against original thought (which sounds very funny.) All material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source.
Find topics you know a lot about or are just very interested in and read the articles. Look for mistakes and correct them. Add to them. Fix violations of the Policy Guide, or remove sabotage. Or just pull up a random article and see if there are problems with it. I fixed a broken link in an article yesterday. It took less than a minute. You don’t even have to create an account or sign in to edit most pages.
If you really know a lot about a particular topic you might be able to contribute more than Wikipedia is looking for. In that case look for a single topic wiki site covering your subject. Yesterday I found a wiki site about postcards. [9-3-09 Update – It seems they shut down the wiki.] Seriously. The whole wiki concept has exploded. More and more websites these days are little Wikipedia clones that drill down on a subject.
Now go add some knowledge to the web so when I need that piece of knowledge it will be there for me. Thanks in advance.