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I'm Not The Only One

Posted by davidepstein on May 11, 2006 at 12:06 AM PDT

With limited blogging experience to date, I am learning that blogging is not only about an individual, but also about community. It is nice for me to have a blog, where I can express personal values and feelings. (geez, after days of focusing on web page content, API specification, and User Guide, it feels strangely nice to write both "me" and "I" in something other than an email ... in the same sentence noless.) Beyond "me" and my desire to express myself freely, world-wide feedback to my blog is proving to be quite valuable. Maybe this is something about blogging that people do not realize until they actually start blogging. I surely didn't expect immediate feedback from my first blog. And, nice for me and my plans for quality, borderless education, is that feedback comes from around the world. Instant seeds of a potential community. Absolutely perfect for where we are heading.

As a little background, over the past several months, computer novices (for example, both mom and mother-in-law) have asked me, "what is this thing, 'blogging'?" Until this post, my answer has been "nothing really, other than a web page, but some people use it more as a diary than a typical business-oriented web page". Now, older and perhaps somewhat wiser, I realize that blogging can actually become more like a community project than simply an individual's diary. Again, didn't know this until I started. And, not really sure about this recent realization about the community aspect of blogging, but am interested in what (if) others think about it?

Sitting blogless for a few weeks (since my previous blog), enough brief moments of clarity accumulated until the concept for the new blog was formed. Unfortunately, although for some reason it is important for me to write this, I am less certain than previous attempts about having anything to say in this blog. I think I am just looking for feedback. Bare with me as I ramble on a bit more ...

It occurs to me that a blogger might attract certain bloggies (sorry, not sure if there is an official word for it), thus creating a blogger-bloggie (one-to-many) community of sorts. Also, since comments are made on comments, there is potential for a bloggie-bloggie (many-to-many) community. Since I am into "the community thing" (currently, Java education community, but soon growing into "education community" (all topics, not just Java)), I greatly look forward to learning more about blogging, writing, and clearly expressing myself. Of course, I don't expect to learn much without the help of bloggies.

For example (based on previous paragraph), instead of simply making up vocabulary, I look forward to learning some blogging vocabulary. I am assuming that blogging vocabularly has already been mostly defined. But, I also hope to learn as much non-blog, "borderless" vocabulary as possible. For example, from previous blog, I learned that the word "university" is better than the word "college".

I also look forward to learning more than just vocabulary. I look forward to all feedback--grammar, style, typos, as well as comments. Why? For one, I find it is always helpful to learn from readers. For two, I tend to make up words and style (in the middle of one right now), knowing (actually, guessing) that people "get it" without me having to follow exact style rules. For three, I have a lot of writing to do. Why not use a blog as another opportunity to learn? My writing may be awful or it may be perfect. I know it is not perfect, not close, but with help it could evolve in that direction. For four, there isn't really a four, but couldn't resist the "for four" (even if it doesn't translate well).

As a little more background, I recently reviewed a document that is soon heading out to over 20,000 high school programmers, yearly. It was amazing to me how many problems there were in the document's information, terminology, lack of consistency, etc. Can I do better? To be fair, a blog is (and should be) far from an official document. Nobody is reviewing this text before I press the [Submit] button. You are the reviewer. I learn from your comments, and move on to the next blog. This evolution of my writing and my education happens live, and "in the clear".

I am guessing that many bloggers might just spit the words right out their fingertips ... off the tops of their heads and onto your computer screen, without any reviewing (re-reading). I must admit, I read, modify, and reread my blogs many times. Pretty sure it helps, but not sure it is worth the time.

Since my non-blogging life involves both writing and reviewing documents that head out to many thousands of readers, a side benefit of my blogging will hopefully be improved writing skills. (No smiley here on end of previous sentence, but somehow I hear laughter ... somebody out there having a sarcastic thought ... something along the lines of how far I have to go.)

Anyway, having blasted through the limit of initial rambling on a single blog, the reason I am quoting John Lennon on the title of this blog? Well, I am fresh off a conversation with a like-minded individual, aiming to provide quality, borderless educational materials. Nice to know I'm not alone. In the end, of course, I am just me, an individual and part of a community. But, for now, while I am here, I would like to contribute something, be part of something powerful.

For me, it is often not a question of "if" something will happen, but simply a matter of "when". What does all this have to do with Java? Well, there is so much more to share in the near future. Sit tight, the time is almost right. Thanks for making it through another early blog, being patient while I lay the foundation before launching into technical releases.

Meanwhile, it will be helpful to learn from you about my writing ... do you "get it"?