CodingPleasure

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Reasons for Blogging

I blogged before about encouragement of developers to blog (here and here). It turned out, I also needed some sort of direct encouragement. After all, every person’s actions are better executed if there is some sort of encouragement and motivation driving them.

So what type of encouragement did I receive?

First I have to describe the purpose I am blogging. This is a question I had small problems answering. It’s not because the purpose isn’t clear to me, but because it’s difficult to explain someone why “I’m wasting time” doing it. After some analysis, I can say I properly defined the purpose of my blogging:

  1. become a better writer: like so many things in life, you can only do them better if you do them repetitively. It’s a matter of exercise. Some examples that come to my mind: speaking, cooking, dancing, sports, and even programming. The more you exercise, the better you will get. The same applies to writing. I must say, I’m pretty sure about this: writing can be improved. And it doesn’t really matter what you are writing – the very act of trying to serialize your thoughts in a concise and understandable manner is like doing push-ups on a regular basis: at first you can do about 2, but after some months of practice, you can do more push-ups by a factor of about 10-20. Of course, I could just write something in notepad or on a sheet of paper. But if you don’t receive feedback about your actions, if you’re the only person involved in some activity, you won’t know if you’re getting better at it. That’s why I’m writing to a public blog.
  2. socialization: software development is all about interaction and communication! And I’m not thinking here about the classic image of a “hacker” who sits alone 24/7 in a dark room, trying to crack something. I mean professional software development, which has to deal with a product, a product owner, a team, and of course the users. In software development you have to communicate with the client, with your team members, with your users, with other members of your team and probably with other departments inside your company. Although it might seem odd, developers really communicate a lot, but I think their not aware of it. They do communicate in a lot of different ways: daily stand-up meetings, development meetings, pair-programming, code comments, check-in comments, documentation, code review, bug analysis. I’m most certainly 60% (of course I guessed here) of the developers don’t realize that when they write a comment inside their code, they actually communicate to someone else: the other developers who will investigate the code in the future (and be sure that someone will eventually look over the code!).
  3. having a permanent online reference to my thoughts: some people keep an online diary, some twitter 50 messages/day, some are posting everything to facebook or other social networks and some are blogging. It’s an extra-professional activity, which defines you as a person. It’s important to let others see what your thinking, what your interest are, what your concerns are. It will eventually become a part of your resume! And this is something important! Almost every time I have an hiring interview coming, I first try to google the person’s identity online. I want to see if the person exists online: is he/she having a blog? Does he/she have a facebook account, and how many friends? Does he/she have posted comments in forums? Is he/she part of an online community? Does he/she asked questions on stackoverflow.com? I think every employer in the IT branch should do this type of checking before hiring someone. If someone would google me or directly access my blog, I hope they will get a clear picture about what my interests are.

The above 3 purposes make sense to me. They most probably don’t make sense to all readers, so I will try to sum up why I have set these purposes:

  • writing: is definitely a soft-skill I need to improve and will help me permanently in my career.
  • socializing: I want to get in touch with others who think like me. Or with others who don’t think like me but can properly share their different opinions.
  • online reference: if someone gets my business card and searches me online, they should be able to get a better understanding of me.

Now lets come back to the encouragement I mentioned at the beginning of this post. You will definitely understand it if you see the statistics of my blog:

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The spikes are after publishing the CodingPleasure post! I intentionally removed the Y-axis scale because it should not be relevant. This should be obvious from the above 3 goals: achieving a huge audience is not one of my goals!

From CodingHorror: There’s certainly value in audience metrics. But it’s easy to overanalyze, too. Instead of obsessing over who does and doesn’t link to you, concentrate on writing a blog entry you’d like to read. Instead of worrying about audience feedback, focus on delivering a presentation you’d like to attend.

So my actual encouragement isn’t the number of readers, but the fact that with that post I got my first blog subscriber and have received feedback from several persons!

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