I Blog, I Tweet, But Why

Fred Wilson has a great post up today titled Can We Live In Public?  If you go back in time to May 4, 2004 when I started blogging, you’ll see that Fred was one of the key inspirations with his post Transparency to my question of To Blog or Not to BlogAt the time, my interest came from a very simple place.

I’m a professional emailer / phonecaller / meeting taker (aka a venture capitalist). Much of my time is spend writing, reading, thinking, talking, and learning. As a result, I’ve been fascinated (and deeply involved) with the evolution of email and web-based communication and technologies.

I just wanted to learn how this stuff worked.  Blogging, RSS, user generated content.  All the corresponding web-based tools and technologies that were emerging in 2004.  To me, learning how this stuff worked wasn’t just reading about it and observing, but actually participating.  UGC was a big part of it – I believed that I wouldn’t really understand it unless I was a content creator.  So, while my blogging was motivated by transparency, my meta-goal was ultimately a selfish one – to learn.

I massively underestimated the value of this to me.  When I reflect on the last four years of my blogging, it’s been one of the most interesting, enlightening, stimulating, and – ultimately – rewarding things that I’ve done professionally.  It’s resulted in new investments, new friends, lots of stimuli I doubt I ever would have encountered, plenty of healthy conflict that has caused me to think through things I otherwise wouldn’t have thought much about, and an outlet for my desire to write that is clearly aligned with what I do every day for work. 

The notion of living in public is an unintended side effect of this.  It’s part of the package if you really want to engage with this stuff.  I’ve had my share of bad moments; like Fred the worst is when I piss off my wife Amy with something I write.  It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then I get an email saying approximating "please delete that tweet".

Over the past year or so, the ideas swirling around my head have coalesced into a construct that at Foundry Group we are calling Digital LifeAs I continue to live in public, the friction and overhead associated with it increases geometrically since I am both a generator and consumer of content.  I’m continuing to work on understanding (and investing in) the tools, technologies, and services on both sides of this equation, but I also want to knit it all together at a higher level.

I’ve got a long way to go.  I learn a little every day.  By doing.  Thank you for helping.

  • http://technosailor.com Aaron Brazell

    From one four year old to another, congrats on the four years and we're all just assholes trying to figure this stuff out. :)

  • Jamay

    Brad, I really enjoy your blog and have learned much about technology. As I say to my (usually older) friends and relatives as I encourage them to check my rudimentary blog, “there is no going back.” translation: There won't be hand-written, newsy updates with pictures of the kids included arriving in your mail box monthly.

  • rhhfla

    Very well stated. Blogging is in large part about the self-learning. With a bit of editing :), the post would be suitable for the home page at Typepad or WordPress.

    If your wife did not comment, you would be missing one part of the “learning”. The dog also probably has a few comments but is too respectful to mention them.

  • http://learntoduck.com micah

    not to belittle the post at all Brad, but I would imagine there are few folks that have blogged for 4 years and said, “man, this sucks! Its the worst thing I ever did.”

    So, I ask you, was there a specific moment where it moved from a “learning experience” to a “defining experience”?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      I'm not sure what your definition of “defining experience” is, but I don't think blogging has crossed over to that point for me yet.

      • http://www.ashimmy.com alan shimel

        Brad – like you blogging has taken on a life of its own for me. There is so much in my life that has been enriched in my life via blogging. And much as you thank Fred, I thank you for starting and inspiring me on blogging.

        To Micah's question: Actually I would cite 3 events that made blogging a defining experience. I actually blogged about each of them and would have to go back and look. But they are about why I blog (i think it might be called, I blog, there for I am), being recognized in the streets of NYC from my blog picture and lastly speaking to analysts and press on a “equal footing” with them having read my blog much as I read there reports.

      • http://learntoduck.com micah

        alan, thats exactly the type of stuff that I am thinking of. For me, it was when I got a comment from someone I didnt know, or my daily traffic went over 10 visitors. Or, when someone emailed me about a post and how it made them think.

        I still try and write as if the only person reading my blog is my mother and me, but I realize that blogging has become part of what I do and who I am.

        My favorite description for that exact moment is: “Why you have an experience or thought, and your first thought is, 'Wow, that would make a good blog post.'”

  • http://www.loupaglia.com/correlate Lou Paglia

    Absolutely a virtuous circle in blogging, blogging is participation but I'm sure there is a direct correlation between those who write and those who read blogs. Thus by reading more, you learn more just so you can continue to participate and quite honestly, keep up with the conversation or meme of the day.

    I admit, I started blogging to engage in the space that I work, same goes for Twitter and Friendfeed. I think I would do it just as much if I worked in a different industry but I wonder what the drop off would be if I was working outside the chamber.

  • Jerry W. Lewis

    To me, there is such depth on nearly any topic you want through many bloggers — and fast! Last fall I lost a close friend in a rafting accident in Ecuador, and most of the immediate news came from a blogger there. I'm following the smart grid closely here in Boulder, but realizing how much is going on around the world in that arena from bloggers.

    I was very surprised, and blogged about it briefly, that the Bolder Boulder race today was not live on TV, nor could I find it on radio (maybe I just could not locate it.)

    Race organizers chose Fox, and they will do a tape delay on TV. I walked the course, then got home hoping to see the elites race.

    After all, yesterday I watched the mars landing live on NasaTV on my laptop. Talk about a business opportunity for someone to stream the Bolder Boulder live!……more immediate news is really what it's all about.

    I think the Bolder Boulder screwed up by switching their live coverage to a delayed viewing on Fox…..what do others think?

  • Sheree Motiska

    You know what I really love most about blogging? The communication style writing that is acceptable and encouraged in the blogosphere.

    I love to write and have kept journals since I was a kid. I always wrote like I was talking to one person. That's why blogging is such a perfect medium for me.

    I also agree with the fact that you can just soak up soooooo much knowledge and so many different viewpoints through blogs. When I started thinking about online business after my surgery, it was other bloggers who gave me my education and mentorship, whether they knew it or not.

    I would not be where I am today without those people and their brain dumping. Seriously.

  • http://curryegg.blogspot.com curryegg

    I like the way your deliver your points. It's true. We're living in the digital life right now. I wonder will it be more on positive or negative effect? Somehow, I have a strong spirite for blogging. I guess it's because of I'm still new in blogosphere.
    Nice blog you've here..

    ;)

  • http://cuthrell.com Jay Cuthrell

    I'm on the fence as to what the long term value of my blog actually was or is. So, I took it down (fudge.org). I also unsub'd from most of the proliferating social network tools. I just realized it was more diary of a moment that was less meaningful with each passing year. More than anything… it is noodling. It was fun. This is just my personal experience. YMMV. ;-)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rhhfla4895 rhhfla4895

    Very well stated. Blogging is in large part about the self-learning. With a bit of editing :), the post would be suitable for the home page at Typepad or WordPress.

    If your wife did not comment, you would be missing one part of the "learning". The dog also probably has a few comments but is too respectful to mention them.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/micah105 micah105

    not to belittle the post at all Brad, but I would imagine there are few folks that have blogged for 4 years and said, "man, this sucks! Its the worst thing I ever did."

    So, I ask you, was there a specific moment where it moved from a "learning experience" to a "defining experience"?

  • Aaron Brazell

    From one four year old to another, congrats on the four years and we're all just assholes trying to figure this stuff out. :)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    I'm not sure what your definition of "defining experience" is, but I don't think blogging has crossed over to that point for me yet.

  • Jamay

    Brad, I really enjoy your blog and have learned much about technology. As I say to my (usually older) friends and relatives as I encourage them to check my rudimentary blog, "there is no going back." translation: There won't be hand-written, newsy updates with pictures of the kids included arriving in your mail box monthly.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/alan_shimel2002 alan_shimel2002

    Brad – like you blogging has taken on a life of its own for me. There is so much in my life that has been enriched in my life via blogging. And much as you thank Fred, I thank you for starting and inspiring me on blogging.

    To Micah's question: Actually I would cite 3 events that made blogging a defining experience. I actually blogged about each of them and would have to go back and look. But they are about why I blog (i think it might be called, I blog, there for I am), being recognized in the streets of NYC from my blog picture and lastly speaking to analysts and press on a "equal footing" with them having read my blog much as I read there reports.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/lou_paglia lou_paglia

    Absolutely a virtuous circle in blogging, blogging is participation but I'm sure there is a direct correlation between those who write and those who read blogs. Thus by reading more, you learn more just so you can continue to participate and quite honestly, keep up with the conversation or meme of the day.

    I admit, I started blogging to engage in the space that I work, same goes for Twitter and Friendfeed. I think I would do it just as much if I worked in a different industry but I wonder what the drop off would be if I was working outside the chamber.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jerry_w_lew6215 jerry_w_lew6215

    To me, there is such depth on nearly any topic you want through many bloggers — and fast! Last fall I lost a close friend in a rafting accident in Ecuador, and most of the immediate news came from a blogger there. I'm following the smart grid closely here in Boulder, but realizing how much is going on around the world in that arena from bloggers.

    I was very surprised, and blogged about it briefly, that the Bolder Boulder race today was not live on TV, nor could I find it on radio (maybe I just could not locate it.)

    Race organizers chose Fox, and they will do a tape delay on TV. I walked the course, then got home hoping to see the elites race.

    After all, yesterday I watched the mars landing live on NasaTV on my laptop. Talk about a business opportunity for someone to stream the Bolder Boulder live!……more immediate news is really what it's all about.

    I think the Bolder Boulder screwed up by switching their live coverage to a delayed viewing on Fox…..what do others think?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/sheree_mot34091 sheree_mot34091

    You know what I really love most about blogging? The communication style writing that is acceptable and encouraged in the blogosphere.

    I love to write and have kept journals since I was a kid. I always wrote like I was talking to one person. That's why blogging is such a perfect medium for me.

    I also agree with the fact that you can just soak up soooooo much knowledge and so many different viewpoints through blogs. When I started thinking about online business after my surgery, it was other bloggers who gave me my education and mentorship, whether they knew it or not.

    I would not be where I am today without those people and their brain dumping. Seriously.

  • curryegg

    I like the way your deliver your points. It's true. We're living in the digital life right now. I wonder will it be more on positive or negative effect? Somehow, I have a strong spirite for blogging. I guess it's because of I'm still new in blogosphere.
    Nice blog you've here..

    ;)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/micah105 micah105

    alan, thats exactly the type of stuff that I am thinking of. For me, it was when I got a comment from someone I didnt know, or my daily traffic went over 10 visitors. Or, when someone emailed me about a post and how it made them think.

    I still try and write as if the only person reading my blog is my mother and me, but I realize that blogging has become part of what I do and who I am.

    My favorite description for that exact moment is: "Why you have an experience or thought, and your first thought is, 'Wow, that would make a good blog post.'"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jay_cuthre36191 jay_cuthre36191

    I'm on the fence as to what the long term value of my blog actually was or is. So, I took it down (fudge.org). I also unsub'd from most of the proliferating social network tools. I just realized it was more diary of a moment that was less meaningful with each passing year. More than anything… it is noodling. It was fun. This is just my personal experience. YMMV. ;-)