Phil Windley on blogging

Last Monday I went to a lecture on blogging and wikis by Phil Windley. Here are my notes:

  • the internet is like a river and we are like fly fishermen — our experience depends on where we’re standing and what flows by
  • My Yahoo and Personal Google let you customize what information you want to be in front of
  • reading blogs lets you customize your experience
  • bloggers practice the virtuous cycle — they write about what they read, then others write about what they have written — everyone learns — the body of knowledge grows
  • blogs are conversations — you can respond to things you read and then other response to you; comments and trackbacks help with this
  • if you find a blog you’re interested in, that person becomes a human router for you — he or she finds and filters information that’s interesting to you
  • by regularly reading blogs you like, you create your own panel of experts (or “cabinet” or “brain trust”) — you can learn about any topic you want from an expert
  • you can be someone else’s expert
  • if you don’t write about something, you’re probably writing about nothing (not all bad if readers are just your friends)
  • [non-friend] readers want to know what to expect, they want a topic
  • be sure to practice the virtuous cycle — link to others, comment on others’ blogs — they’ll see it
  • centuries ago, journals and letters were for sharing scientific information and other learning — today blogs and wikis allow everyone to share in the learning
  • the old model was to peer review, then publish — the new model is to publish, then peer review
  • everyone can publish (start your own blog!) — and the best stuff floats to the top through services like and digg
  • wikis are collaborative websites, like multi-person blogs
  • Wikipedia, an encyclopedia built on wiki software, is the “best encyclopedia ever” including World Book and Britannica
  • blogs to help hurricane Katrina victims popped up quickly — blogs are great for non-tech uses as well — anytime information needs to be published

On the way out of the lecture, I heard Paul Allen say that he wished even more people had been at the lecture because it represented a “massive shift” in the way we get information. Incidentally, one of Phil Windley’s lectures a couple years ago was what got me started blogging.

Update: Errors in the Britannica that have been corrected in Wikipedia, why it works, and why it sometimes doesn’t work.