The estimable Unity – who well deserves the title him- or herself – has nominated me as a ‘thinking blogger’, so I guess I’d better pass on the baton. I’ll take the easy way out and say that my blogroll is full of ’em, and I’d especially recommend you check out… well, any blog on the list that you aren’t reading already. (I’ve built up and merged two separate blogrolls, one consisting almost entirely of left-wing Brits and the other consisting almost entirely of Americans who know about Web 2.0, so I’d be quite surprised if there isn’t anyone on the list who qualifies.)
If I had to single anyone out, it would be Chris, who is utterly wrong in some way that I’ve never yet managed to put my finger on; reading his posts is always good, if frustrating, mental exercise. Unless it was Shelley, who’s very smart, very human and very rarely wrong. Or Jim, whose posts are a constant reminder not only that things could be different but, more unsettlingly, that some time soon things are going to have to be different.
The other part of the deal is to say what I think about the category of thinking blogger. I think it’s a bit of an unfortunate term, but it does correspond to a recognisable blogging style. A thinking blogger isn’t a comedian, a diarist, a fisking railer or a controversialist – they’re all good ways to blog, but they’re not what I’m talking about here. A thinking blogger is a blogger who makes you think: makes you develop your own ideas in response to theirs – or reconsider your own ideas in response to theirs – or both. A writer who makes you wonder, once again, just what the Guardian pay their columnists for.
A recent post by Dave Rogers reminds me that a thinking blogger is also someone who invites you to slow down. Dave:
“thinking” is kind of like preparing a meal. It takes some time, and if you want to make a good meal, you kind of have to work at it. … This is one of the “problems” with the internet, and I believe it contributes significantly to episodes like the one most recently surrounding Kathy Sierra. It’s too easy for us to jump on our machines, which we are far too connected to, and dash off the quick post. I will guess that it has something to do with the reward centers in our brains and dopamine receptors. We go for the “quick fix” (as in drug fix, not “repair” fix). We don’t take the time to really think.
So a thinking blogger’s blog isn’t the blog you read first; on the contrary, it’s one you sometimes save for last – and sometimes save for another day – because you know it’s going to need your full attention. Indeed, I could name some thinking bloggers who I never read at all – although that’s probably just me being lazy.
A thogger, on the other hand, is a devotee of the school of literary appreciation named after Thog the Mighty. But you knew that.