Writing for the web is largely reactionary.
“OMG, Justin Beiber said this.”
You read something that makes you feel something, so you write something.
It’s fantastic and, based on how blogs and social media have been used to overturn corruption in the recent past, and increase the availability of knowledge, it’s needed. But I think very little of what we’ve produced will stick around as “artifacts” that say anything our generation.
Why? Because everybody has feelings, and the ease of interacting with the web has made it so that there’s no reason not to say what you’re thinking—whether your thoughts on any given subject are qualified or not.
Imagine if everybody had a bullhorn attached to their brain that shouted everything they were thinking all the time: That’s the Internet.
Luckily for you and I, there are some really good writers out there that don’t just write “for the web.” They write for people who like to think. They don’t pander to tags, views, or SEO (search engine optimization). They write because writing is a human thing.
Here are some of my favorites:
- John Gruber / Daring Fireball: Gruber is the only guy you need to follow for news relating to Apple, Inc. He aggregates any Apple news that’s noteworthy, and he’s an incredibly succinct, but thorough, writer. He also dabbles in baseball and sports writing. (His newest “thing” is a sports blog called American McCarver.)
- Merlin Mann / 43folders: What originally started as a productivity blog of sorts, turned into a site about… well, about not being so afraid of life. Often long-winded, sometimes almost making no sense, Merlin has a way of taking a story that sounds like it means nothing, and hitting you over the head with a big dose of truth. Or bananas. Or whatever.
- Donald Miller: Christianity for people who aren’t afraid to be people. Don’s a thinker and he writes for the not-holier-than-thou’s. He’s one of a very select group of people that make me (almost) ok associating with the term “Christian.”
- Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight: I hate watching “news” on TV because it isn’t news (hence the quotes). Most pundits are rodeo clowns trying to get their ratings and views up by saying what viewers think they want to hear. Nate Silver, writing a column called FiveThirtyEight for The New York Times, is all about the numbers. “Realistically, what are the chances of Mr. Obama being re-elected?” “Rick Perry is leading the Republican primaries, here’s the numbers.” “Historically, how has the stock market affect the re-election of an incumbent president?” It’s a bit heady and intellectual, so you can be assured that he’s no Glenn Beck.
- Frank Chimero: Frank understands how to articulate the importance of design and it’s affect on the world around us. He is currently writing a book called ‘The Shape of Design.’
- Simon Sinek: I discovered Simon through a TED talk about how great leaders inspire action. After that I was hooked. Simon really seems to understand that, fundamentally, everything boils down to leadership. If you have a good leader, you’re likely to have a good company/organization/marriage/whatever; and vice versa. If you’re in any position of influence, you should follow Simon.
All of these (and a few more) are plugged into my Google Reader so I can keep up with what they’re writing every morning over coffee. If you’re into reading, and you’re into thinking, consider checking these sites out often.
What about you? Do you have any blogs or columns that you read often? Am I missing something? Leave a comment with some of your favorite links.
Monday Wednesday I’ll be posting about some of my favorite authors.
Oh and if, for some reason, you like reading what I write, you can subscribe via email in the right-hand column on the homepage, or you can plug this URL into your RSS reader of choice (mine’s Google Reader + Reeder for iPad): feed://nthnryn.com/feed/