It's About the Dialog, Stupid!

Scoble shocked us (a bit) earlier in the week when he wrote that he was quitting blogging (again). It wasn’t that he was quitting blogging that was so startling. It was the reason for it that shook me a bit:

Tonight I looked over my Twitters and blogs. They are angry. Confrontational. Disturbed. Hurt. Dismayed.

Those are not words to describe someone in a state of mind to improve the world. Part of it is so many people are making stuff up about me and/or my employer without any care as to my feelings or the truth that I’ve got to get some distance. Over the weekend a variety of people said I had quit my job. Then another “A-list” blogger said I had been fired. Neither are true. Much of what I read over on that Silicon Valley gossip site lately isn’t true and they have demonstrated over and over that they really don’t care about the truth. It really depresses me cause I thought blogging would be a tool for humans to get smarter, not stupider. Depression isn’t fun.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like seeing one of the world’s most notable mouthpieces speak these kinds of words. It’s just not right. Maybe it’s just the last bit of idealism in me that says the world shouldn’t be this way. Take a look now because the idealistic side of me only comes out a few times a year on weekends and holidays. :-)

Really though, the whole incident has cause me to take a step back and look at what I contribute to the blogosphere. It’s about the conversation and dialog, but I think I, along with other bloggers, have taken to flaming people, companies, ideas, concepts because it generates traffic.

I think I’m realizing that, although I haven’t been a flamebait kind of blogger overall, I’ve done my fair share and the trend is a destructive one. How can you expect to encourage the growth of our beloved internet ecosystem when everyone is so polarized. It’s like, how can Bush expect to have a productive government when the politics are so polarizing.

This should not be so.

This morning, Jeff Ascough quit blogging too. In his case, he was too busy. The startling thing is that a bunch of other photography bloggers followed suit within the span of a few hours. (Will post links as I get them – the email is in to my source on this). These bloggers, in most case, simply followed Jeff’s lead because they were not doing anything compelling with their blogs.

This should not be so. It’s about the dialog.

I’ve decided my posts will add value to the blogosphere. In most cases, I do not echo the Techmeme echo chamber. I unsubscribed to Valleywag. I reached out to Jason and Mahalo. I’ve had long conversations with Anil Dash from SixApart and even posted a video of me installing Movable Type – something that I hope helps their community, as well as encourages bloggers to reach across “party lines”.

If we can’t talk civilly, we probably should bow out of blogging altogether because at the end of the day, what makes the competitor better is good for all of us.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

4 thoughts on “It's About the Dialog, Stupid!

  1. Thanks for the mention, and more importantly for the effort, Aaron. Maybe I’ve just been in a particularly idealistic or optimistic mood lately, but I really do think that there’s an opportunity to change the negative parts of our community.

    I know we haven’t always gone about it the right way, but so many of the conversations we’ve had over the years about encoraging accountability and civility really were well-intended. It may just be that we all had to be doing this long enough to learn for ourselves the value of being positive towards one another. :)

  2. Nice post, myself I tend to look for people like yourself in space more than these guys. They have the experience, but the outside has better insight.

    And btw, im the mahalo Ombudsman now :P

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