Morning rant

This is a rant that has been a long time coming, so take this as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak. It might seem like I’m being a bit harsh and over the top to this particular comment, but it’s a much more general idea than that, as you’ll see.

From Rob Fahrni yesterday:

Here’s my question, do more Mac users or PC users have blogs?

Now, normally Rob writes a pretty good blog, but in response to this question let me just say, who cares? Is this really what writing online is about? I thought the whole “big thing” behind blogging was that it made it easy for anyone to publish their ideas and their knowledge online. It gave people the ability to build places to share their ideas with the entire world. That’s a “big thing”! The machine you use, the blogging software you use, the programming language you use, the hosting provider you use, etc., are all tools that help the process along, but they aren’t “big things” in and of themselves. I often compare this to a carpenter who looks at his hammer, examines his hammer, talks about his hammer, wonders who else uses this type of hammer, or why anyone would use that other type of hammer, even nails some things occasionally to demonstrate how it works, and then picks up the next hammer to see how it works, and repeats the process. Do you see how ridiculous this behavior would be? Our carpenter will know everything there is to know about hammers, which is not a bad thing, but would never actually create anything and add something to his world.

Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, or what new tool the “cool kids” are using. Like a good carpenter would, pick the tools that work best for you, and then start building something worthwhile. You have the tools available, and they range from easy to use, one-click publishing, to more complicated programming and scripting tools. But they are all just tools, and they all do slightly different things. You can decide which works best for the kind of “house” you want to build, and the way in which you want to build it. As you learn more, feel free to switch tools to something more complex, with more bells and whistles. Experiment all you want, but build something that says more than “oh look, I can use this tool”!

Would this blog be different if I used a Mac and Movable Type? It might look different, it might have some different functions, but the ideas and knowledge coming from it would still be mine, the writing style would still be mine, the actual content, the house, would be the same no matter what I used to build it. At the end of the day, when you look at the new house, does it matter what hammer the carpenter used, or does it just matter that he got the job done?

We spend so much time talking about building, and about the tools, that sometimes we forget to actually build something.

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