In my very first virgin blog post last year, I sought to make this blog as a repository of my thoughts, an online investment of my time to accumulate knowledge I might find useful in future. I thought of it as an expanded version of del.icio.us but one which allows me to capture the context of my interaction with material or experiences I had come across in my life.
Looking back, I have surprised myself by blogging thus far. I never thought I would be blogging this consistently after I got back to Singapore. I was never one to write diaries nor do I love to write. I never set out to write to get traffic or readers too or get famous. But what blogging has really helped me is in the articulation and expression of my thoughts.
Have you ever read a newspaper or magazine article and just felt the compelling need to share your thoughts with someone, anyone?
Humans are social animals, we thrive in an environment of social support or recognition, a constant need to know you are not alone. We are also intelligent mammals, hence the need to accumulate knowledge, be it useful facts or mindless gossip, we constantly work our brain. It is hence very natural for both our social selves and our mental selves to connect. And I think blogs provide this medium for near-instantaneous expression of our mental processes for projection to our society or group of friends/ family.
Blogging has become natural for me when I read an article that i feel strong reasonation with. It might be useful enough to reason and assimilate the thoughts within the confiens of your mind, but it is a multiplying effect when you write out and compose that thought into textual form, writing it out on a blog as that entire process has been very useful for me in structuring arguments and discourse of topics of my interest.
Associative thinking is also highly important in information assimilation or what I also call learning. I watched this movie at Peter Purushotma’s place last year, which talks about our physical unverse and how we interact with it (Name to be inserted later), about how the human brain constantly forms new neural links as we have new experiences with the world around us, be it in school, out socializing with friends, watching a movie or even walking the dog. In blogging, every time we link to another webpage, video, picture or article, we captures our thoughts in a digital format that mirrors actual learning in the physical world.
Associative thinking doesn’t stay limited to the links in an article, it also extends to the meeting or clashing of minds on a blog or a forum. By facilitating our readers to respond to a blog post or forum thread, Socratic dialogue is promoted which helps in critiquing the soundness of an argument or balancing a biased opinion in line with societal expectations. Of course, not all blogs have devoted readers that leave constructive comments but the ease and open-ness of the internet channel in exposing one to the thoughts of others is powerful by itself and a moderating influence on the thinking patterns of the readers at least.
Perhaps Aaron Swartz summed it up well here, but I will only lift these lines:
“… It also encourages you to capture ‘fringe-thoughts’: various ideas which may be byproducts of everyday life, snatches of conversation overheard in the street, or, for that matter, dreams. Once noted, these may lead to more systematic thinking, as well as lend intellectual relevance to more directed experience.”
Thanks to Noah Brier’s blog and his post on connectedness, not content.