This is a quick response to Lazy Writing, a post yesterday by Sacha Greif (who I'm a big fan of). While I agree with the general sentiment and I love the writing tips he offers in his article, I feel obliged to offer a contrarian opinion.
The Digital Water Cooler (A Good Thing)
In his article, he talks about the effect of unresearched, off the hip articles that have appeared more and more in industry blogs and publications.
"You probably come across these articles every day. They feel right, but you don't actually gain any knowledge from reading them. They're basically the blogging equivalent of talking about the weather around the water cooler."
I would offer that talking around the water cooler is a good thing.
As a freelancer, one of the things I miss when not working with a team is the casual chit chat around the office. You hear opinions just sitting next to your co-workers about different technology, political topics, behavior and current events. Sure, these opinions are unresearched, personal anecdotes, but they are valuable to create connections.
In this brave new technology driven world, connections can flow one way - I might know who Sacha is and read his blog, but he may have no idea who I am. By adding my opinion to his piece, I'm contributing to a potentially global conversation.
Sacha makes a good point I feel it's important to share my agreement with below.
"Lately I feel like I can spend the whole day reading, yet not have learned a single new thing."
The danger in this continual, global, conversation is that it's a constant draw for our attention. Whenever I knock a task off my list, I'm almost always drawn back to Twitter to see what's happened during the time I spent coding or designing - it's habitual and wastes time.
Just like spending all afternoon around the water cooler in the office would be a waste of time. But hey, let's not throw out the water cooler, it has its' place.