In honor of Seth Godin

On the website sethgodin.com, it says:

Seth Godin is an Author, Entrepreneur and Most of All, A teacher

By whoever wrote the About blurb on sethgodin.com

When I see that blurb, I think to myself (aside from pondering the confusing but possibly correct application of title case), “Can’t argue with that.” To say that Seth is merely an author is like saying a Vitamix is merely a blender: a vast understatement. And to my ear, his written voice is pretty much the same as his spoken voice, so I’m not sure if he actually writes, but rather just speaks into the paper.

Furthermore, I’ve always marveled at the fact that, as far as I can tell, Seth was the longest running Typepad blogger of note in Web history. I’m sure many of you have never tried out Typepad (I think I did, briefly ~2006, but it’s hard to remember, but hey, they’re still around!), and his URL seems to have changed only recently to seths.blog, but whenever I saw the old URL sethgodin.typepad.com, I was always reminded of people who wear sunglasses where the logo is just too prominent. You expect to see a face made cooler by sunglasses, but what you get is a weirdly conflicted visual attention experience:

Am I right or am I right? At ~$1300 a pop, you can decide for yourself.

But I digress, and am being silly out of pure joviality. Really, the impressive thing is that he posts every day. Very few people I follow do that. Check it out: scroll through his blog, and you will generally see a post for every day. That’s pretty impressive, but not because it’s some Herculean feat of content production. Some posts are longer, but many are quite short and bite-sized. Rather, it’s the dedication and focus, over a very long time horizon (decades), on thinking and sharing, that’s truly wondrous. And to my brain at least, this kind of “sustained” blog sharing is more impactful than, say, if someone tweeted exactly once a day. Is it just because the blog writing is often more than the Twitter character limit? I don’t think so.

For me, it really has to do with the lack of noise. Twitter is like a noisy bar. You can have a good conversation at one, and sometimes your brain will even tune out the background din, but eventually someone will yell or laugh really loudly or some song will come on, and you’ll lose that focus and the moment is gone. But Seth’s blog is like a quiet room with a comfortable chair: you can sit, and read, and think, and even have a clean and full snack bowl, and it feels good and personal. And you can even invite a friend over to chat, if you want.

To be honest, I didn’t always have all these dots connected in my head. Writing helps me sort these things out. It’s a more systematic way of organizing my thoughts into useful outcomes than my normally free-association-surfing gray and white matter can muster on an average day.

And so, being the logical-deductive type, I then have to ask myself, why would I refrain from doing something that helps me think better? Historically, I’ve always been of the mind to write and post infrequently, in the hopes of focusing my time and effort on less frequent but more well-thought-out, complete, polished ideas, in the way that published magazine articles delve more deeply into a topic than a single Twitter post generally is. My assumption had always been that such output was better for the reader: you.

But maybe I’ve been wrong. My old thinking really is either-or thinking, but it’s good to remember the value of both-and. There is room in my blog (and yours, if you’re in the same boat) for all kinds of posts. Short posts, long posts, serious posts, funny posts, quick posts, deep posts, etc. Blog away!

That said, I have to further conjecture that, for a well-intentioned writer (i.e. not a clickbait grifter), a blog full is better than a blog barren. The Good People of the Web are fantastic at looking past surface-level concerns (prose styling and all the rest) and finding the really good ideas, and giving them life beyond the initial genesis. The more we give out, the more that might happen. I can’t claim to be chock-full of good ideas, but maybe I got a few, with a little textual sass to boot.

So, in honor of Seth Godin, and his ability to change people through the power of good ideas generously sprinkled into the media-ether, I am now chang├ęd myself, and will attempt to post if not every day, then pretty often.

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