Left-Brain Blogging

· Best Practices, Salon Bloggers, Weblog Concepts

The Raven talks about the impression he gets from a long blogroll:

I don’t know about you, but when I visit a blog that has 395 navigation links running down the side I get a funny feeling. Is this clown trying to tell me, “Look at all my friends!” Or am I supposed to check the list and see if I know anyone. Either way, the eyes tend to glaze over and you say to yourself, “Yeah yeah yeah, a bunch of links. Bully for you, pal.” In my case, I’m trying to keep the list short … real short. In my grouchy world, this is called “utility value,” and in today’s hypernet bitstream it’s called, “Guess he doesn’t have any friends.”

Raven goes on to explain his categories.
This got me thinking that logging (journaling, blogging, k-logging) has solved the problem of “how do I keep my website fresh?” by making it trivially easy to refresh the content. That’s great for the right-brain—I’m stereotyping here—free-associative, creative part of the brain.
I like the guilt-free lack of structure, being the chaotic type myself, and left-handed and kinda red-headed to boot.
But I think we also, as users, want to see organized links. There’s a reason why some people like drilling down into the Yahoo!/directory model of information indexing. I know others will say, “That’s so 1999. Just Google it.” But that I believe has more to do with the speaker’s personality and personal preferences.
Here in Radio, I should probably be learning more about OPML so I could build a hierarchical or otherwise relational set of links that might be output as a blogroll but also browsable in other ways.
What I’d really like to see is a tool that tentatively organizes all the links I embed in this blog, stored in some way so that i can reorganize, overrule filing choices, etc. Ideally it would even suggest reorganizations eventually.
Because, face it, you can’t design the perfect filing system in advance, unless you are replicating a perfectly worked-out process, and even then I’d doubt it. You need to start with some system, but as long as you can split big files and eliminate or merge small ones, you’re golden. I know I’ve covered this ground before, but it’s probably one of my central knowledge management insights, along with the idea of just-in-time organizing.
For example, I had trouble selecting the quotation above on Raven’s page. IEMac5.1/OSX kept wanting to select from his links panel instead of in the blog copy where I was clicking.
(I wonder if the CSS div for the side panel comes before the one for the main entry in the markup? I didn’t look, but if so, then it makes the page much harder to read for Lynx users. Checking in Lynx is a useful little canary-in-a-coalmine proxy for having every assistive browser on hand.)
The ad hoc, just-in-time approach is for me to e-mail Sosnoski, or tap his comments board, or see if he reads this. Then I’ve reported a potential bug and he can deal with it then if he wants, log it for later if need be, or decide it’s not worth worrying about.
Not every project has a project manager with a KM database in tow. Sometimes we’re just one person trying to manage one complicated third millennial life. I’m starting to learn that keeping the house clean works that way too. There’s no way to avoid the big dusting/vacuuming/bathroom/whatever cleaning days sometimes. Because I have the ability to ignore things so that they become part of the unnoticed background distraction of my life until I’m working in a corner surrounded by piles of books, receipts, post-its, computer equipment, CDs, cassette tapes, and bills, I’m only now finally learning that when you see something that needs putting away or cleaning, you just do it.