Once again I opt for an explicit blog post as a reply instead of a simple comment as I’d like to take The Last – Mobility News Weekly – Maybe as a starting point for a broader discussion about the nature of blogs on SDN and SCN respectively.
The Story so far…
Recap: Kevin got in the line of fire with his weekly blog posts and their format. Some may say he’s crossing the line from content aggregation to marketing. Some may even call his posts “link farms” or the like. Others positively replied to his poll about the usefulness and see value in the content he provides (see the comment thread.)
I feel a simple yes/no is of limited value though. It’s not just black and white. So, I cannot really answer “yes” as personally I’m not overly interested in such content. Yet, I don’t want to say “no” either. Kevin certainly seems to have been putting a lot of time and effort in these reports and it shows comitment for having done it for quite some time. He gets my credit for that!
As such, this post is meant to be as constructive feedback and I just want to provide some insight into my personal thoughts on the topic and areas where I see room for improvement. It’s – of course- biased and just my personal opinion (one of 2+ millions). What you do with the feedback is entirely up to you – the reader.
My Personal Feedback
The SAP Mentors are known to be highly influential within the SAP ecosystem and the SCN community. Some of the veterans among them have been influential to me (and many more) for some time now and what I learned from folks like Dennis Howlett (who is “never knowingly under opinionated”) and James Governor‘s Monkchips is that having an opinion and voicing it is a good way to lead, guide and eventually inspire people. If you can back up your words with analysis the better (they do!)
1. That’s my first point in regards to Kevin’s blogging style: Personally I lack the personal touch – the opinion. Some may refer to it as “spice”. If one would weave all these info together and do some analysis, predictions or anything else with it – there maybe soo much more value in the content. As it is, it more or less is just an aggregating of all this info and the readers need to digest it all by themselves and make some sense out of it.
2. If it’s just a collection of links + a small extract/review, then maybe RSS would be the best possible format to spread that. Everybody could subscribe to it and get the links separately and in real time plus one could still add personal recaps/comments. Maybe that is the difference – structured vs unstructured content?
3. Optimize for the target audience. Maybe another space at SCN would be a better fit for such info. SDN is still developer centric and I’d assume that for this audience technical blogs like John Moy‘s Build your first Mobile web app using jQuery Mobile and ABAP – Part 1 or other mobile articles and Consuming XML Web Services in iPhone Applications about WS consumption are more exciting for the folks who “own” this space. At least for me as a development architect that’s the content and discussions that interest me a whole lot more and… they trigger interesting follow-up discussions on social media.
4. Proper citation and reference to sources is very important to allow the readers to get the real picture. Not sure if it’s been a fuzz outside of Germany, but our Minister of Defense got in deep trouble for not obeying this fundamental principle of writing. Sure, it’s a different ball game and a blog post is not a PhD thesis – but still!
I’m not accusing Kevin of anything alike – don’t get me wrong! I mentioned it here in the general discusssion about blogging netiquette. Sure, I’ve seen quotes beeing tweeted going along the the lines of:
“One can achieve unbelievable things when (s)he’s not concerned about getting the credit!”
Modesty is a virtue for sure [looking at Marilyn Pratt]. I go by the rational that the least I can do to thank the people who influence/teach me by cheering for them and by spreading what I’ve learned (and referring to the source.)
5. Feedback (as always.) As I said, a simple “yes/no” is sub-optimal in my book. I’d be interested to get to know the “why?” – what do you do with it. What do you like about it? How do you make use of it. See, I raised my opinion. I may be totally off. (Still, at least I could be the bad example.)
Last week I spotted a tweet saying “I learned more from bad examples…” (need to dig it up!).
As such, I stated the reasoning behind my point of view… how I got to my opinion. If I’m wrong, somebody may be kind enough to show me other aspects, another way of thinking, a better rational. IF they voice their thoughts and leave feedback, that is…
[Update] Speaking of Dennis Howlett… just saw his latest post “Gonzo.” That’s what I meant!