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Do you take blogs seriously?

By Toni Bowers ·
Here at TechRepublic, we like to offer subscribers practical information about a number of topics that affect IT pros. Like other sites, we do this with downloads, articles, image galleries, white papers, webcasts, and blogs. My question is what weight do you assign as a reader to each of these types of media? For example, do you give more editorial weight to articles than blogs or does it depend on the author and/or his agenda?

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No Politics

by yobtaf In reply to A little bit of everythin ...

I like everything except when people post their extreme political
views.

My opinion is that everything should be related to IT issues.

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Sorry 2

by NOW LEFT TR In reply to No Politics

I hate when people keep saying sorry!

No need for it. IT only!!

"But when you consider that
you spend more then that for groceries or gas in a week, it's worth
it...." your words....

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Content type, then author, then subject

My first criteria is content type. If it is not text (podcast, webcast, etc.) is is 100% ignored, regardless of all else. Period. The fact of the matter is, not only are those content types a pain in the butt to consume, but they waste my time (I read faster than anyone on the planet can talk), and I cannot consume them at work. Even a Flash piece with moving text gets ignored, I need to be able to read text while waiting for progress meters (compile, SQL queries, Excel macros, etc.) to advance, that is when I get a chance to read. Even when I get down to the text, PDF will be ignored much more often than HTML. I despise PDF as a format, it makes my life miserable. As soon as I see Acrobat start to load, chances are, I close it before it even opens the document. so keep everything in HTML.

That being said, who the author is plays a large role in my decision to read something. Some authors (no names) are top-of-the-line and seeing their name (preferably a picture, too, to assist me in associating content with the author, that's a note for the folks doing the newsletters too!) almost guarantees that I will read the item, regardless of the content or subject. Some authors are that good, that they always add value to my life, and give me a fair exchange for my time. Other authors, I refuse to read for the opposite reason; as far as I am concerned, they are time theives, for wasting my time with trifling things. If I am not familiar with the author, I do not take it into account.

The subject is the final item in the decision. The vast majority of the technical content on TechRepublic (I would say 98% - 99% of it), even the TPG stuff, is of no value to me, because I already know it or I am 100% unaffected by it. That is not a subjective statement, just an objective one. A lot of the content here is great stuff for a beginner or someone with some experience but treading new waters, but for me it just is not useful in the slightest.

That is why I generally stick to reading the blogs and discussions. Even for them, I have to be very careful to not waste my time. Anything that is unrelated to IT ("my co-worker's personal habits annoy me") is not helpful to me. Even in the tech related stuff, anything that is trolling ("[name of product] stinks!") or otherwise unimportant gets ignored. I know, I have been guilty of the same thing on occassion... What I need to read, and choose to read, are quality, well written, reasoned analysis. I find it interesting. Even when it does not directly affect me or my job, like a discussion of the technical merits or drawbacks of an obscure programming language, it is useful and interesting to me.

J.Ja

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Order of Criteria

by khigh In reply to Content type, then author ...

I agree with your order of criteria, with one exception. If I'm researching something, and am in a time crunch, subject matter comes before author. At that point, I don't care who wrote it.

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Even then...

by Justin James Contributor In reply to Order of Criteria

... author is important! If source has given me lousy information in the past, and time is of the essence, I am certainly not going to bother with a source with known problems. That's like being in a hurry, and taking the first road that goes to your destination, with no regard for the average traffic levels or speed limit.

J.Ja

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True enough

by khigh In reply to Even then...

I should have taken the time to be a little more elaborate in my post. I will always take the sources that have proven themselves over unproven ones.

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I trust nothing...

by Ibanezoo In reply to Do you take blogs serious ...

...But my own eyes. I've been witness to too many things in "traditional" media that were later reported completely wrong. My general perception is that most bloggers are wannabee journalists, pseudo-intellectuals, or conspiracy theorists. Its nearly impossible to sort the crap from the truth without seeing it for yourself. I have a friend with a conspiracy theory blog who is a master at the English language... if I didn't know him personally his stuff would seem pretty believable. This is in general though...

When it comes to purely tech blogs I tend to take them with a grain of salt. I do like to read guys who post things like "hey this is what the whitepaper said, I did it this way, and this happened, be aware..." That kind of thing. Direct experiences can be useful provided they aren't overly opinionated.

I've also read articles on Cnet or whatever other tech site that were just not consistant with my personal experiences.

My preference for the most part is whitepaper. Its cut and dry without any attempts at humor (usually), opinions, and hopefully no inaccurate information.

I watch webcasts when I'm ordered to by my boss, otherwise I find them completely boring.

We listen to some podcasts (like twit) in the office but I chalk them up as digital audio blogs.

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