2014-02-04

Not Just Commentary, But Good Commentary

Recently someone encouraged me to go above and beyond my inclinations. Don't just tell me what you're thinking, she (essentially) said, tell me something substantive. Don't just say it, say why. Say how. Say anything, so long as there is more substance to your comment than the comment itself.

It was a welcome reminder that, especially in public, we might be better-served by saying something useful, or saying nothing at all. If what you say doesn't leave your audience better off having heard it, maybe it would be better if you just kept it to yourself.

Naturally, this doesn't mean that we should refrain from speaking unless we can be certain that what we say will leave others better off. That would be a bit extreme. But we should at least have a good reason to believe that others can benefit from our comments; absent that good reason, it might be better if we just kept it to ourselves.

I made this point rather ineffectively in a previous post, and commenter "Alex Kostko" rightly called me out. The catch-22 for any blogger is that a blog lives and dies on writing something and posting it. The less we do that, the less interesting our blogs are. So here I am, trying to think of enough topics to keep up a pace of two or three blog posts per weekday. That's a substantial output, but is it a substantive one? Perhaps not.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, except to say that perhaps it pays to keep quality over quantity. Or, perhaps even when quantity is important, a focus on quality becomes all the more crucial. Or perhaps I just need to remind myself that it can be displeasing when people - such as myself - talk for the sake of talking.

Maybe nobody needs to hear about how much I agree with X about Y. They might care if I explain why I feel that way, but just knowing that the Stationary Waves blog agrees with some thing, somewhere does not really enhance anyone's life.

Perhaps the reader would feel better if I kept in mind that nobody just wants to read verbiage for its own sake.