You just kinda wasted my precious time: Another reason for blogs and wikis

I’m walkin’ down that long, lonesome road, babe
Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
But goodbye’s too good a word, gal
So I’ll just say fare thee well
I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right

from Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right by Bob Dylan

One of my favourite songs, though I must confess I’d gotten quite used to the Peter Paul and Mary version on In the Wind,



long before I heard Dylan’s original. It may even be possible that In the Wind came out before Dylan recorded the song. It remains to this day one of my all-time favourite albums.

We’ve seen incredible price-performance and network-effect productivity gains in the last forty years; we’ve seen communications and reproduction costs slashed as well, particularly over the last decade or so. But.

But. Human longevity has not shown any such improvement during that period. And everyone understands that simplicity and convenience and usability and screen real estate and time start mattering more and more.

Everyone knows all this. Despite that knowledge, I tend to feel we underestimate one thing about blogs and wikis; the provision of current and valuable context.

Unlike e-mail or voice or instant messaging, there is an incredible ability to sustain context within conversation using blogs. The same is true for wikis, but the conversations are different in tone and structure.

Why is this important? For three reasons:

  • Reduced switching costs in a multitasking world as a result of context provision
  • Reduced risk of misinterpretation as a result of contextual consistency
  • Faster and more accurate responses as a result of the active learning that takes place

Spending time listening to music, reading, even smelling the flowers, is a good thing.

Wasting time trying to re-acquire context and orientation is not a good thing.

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