I had a good email exchange yesterday with a friend. It started after the Tuesday post on improvement – and my comment about switching from MYOB to Xero. My friend is a big MYOB fan, and challenged the assertion that Xero is better.
Now I happen to believe Xero is better as a result of meeting too many people that rave about it, knowing how good the people that work there now, worked there before and invested in the company are, and by seeing it in use by others. But that’s beside the point – as he said:
I thought consulting taught you to work on facts and not anecdotes!!!!
later on he also said:
As consultants we cannot constrain advice to what we have experience with….but if we give advice we should do analysis.
The issue I have with blogs is the kind of “no discipline” approach to writing. Its easy to have ideas but when you put facts behind them a lot of good ideas become bad ideas. How many time have you done consulting…had ideas…but when you use discipline and write them down…using facts…you end up discarding them.
Also the fact that I believe the problem of the world is not lack of information, but lack of proper analysis of information.
All good points. My take is that bloggers are not alike – and that some blogs find news, some add analysis to the news, and some add informed or uninformed opinion. Indeed some blogs are ‘faith based’ rather than fact based.
The more faith-based opinion blogs (which are often political) can be good fun to have a decent argument in, and the great ones generally get a lot of traffic from their fans and detractors alike.
The analysis blogs need to walk the line between writing insightful content and writing articles that will actually get read. It’s hard, takes a lot more work and boring prose is ever-threatening.
In reality we bloggers all do a bit of everything – using faith and fact as the basis of our analysis or opinion. I see it as a continuum.
And here I should present a chart showing popular Kiwi blogs on a continuum from fact based to faith based, and from rigorous analysis to canned opinion:
As you can see – it is empty.
I tried – I really did – but it is too hard and only going to get me pelted from all sides. Who wants to be ‘faith-based’?. What I should really do is make up a scoring system to measure each of the two axes, and systematically measure the top blogs in NZ and the USA.
That’s a great idea – but it would take time that I’d rather put into other things – but I will continue to mull the idea for a while.
Meanwhile aside from the occasional Valuecruncher, which stays consistently fact based and analytical, most bloggers vary from post to post. I would posit they we have to do this to stay interesting and insightful while being with fun to read and more importantly, fun to write.
So over on interest.co.nz/blog you will get boring fact based analysis on exchange rates (though I’d say that any analysis on short term exchange rates is faith based) along with highly charged opinion pieces, albeit with supporting facts, from Bernard.
WhaleOil meanwhile mixes facts and analysis into the polemic faith-based opinions, making for both entertainment and interesting reading.
No Right Turn and Kiwiblog (commenters aside) each operate from a particular faith-based angle, but they strongly support their opinions and analysis with facts and vary their posts across the spectrum. Both blogs make for entertaining, informational and insightful reading.
Personal blogs like this, Rowan Simpson‘s and Natalie at Simpleandloveable and many many others (I’ll stop there for risk of offending anyone I miss out – one reason I don’t do a blogroll) vary between the occasional rant, the odd bit of analysis, some genuine insights and the odd bit of personal news. They also operate across the spectrum.
What do you think – is this a chart and measurement system that could work? Do we care? What do we really want?