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Contradictions: Why We Read Blogs?

August 15, 2008
by Joe Bormel
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Paradoxes are the basis for all deep truths. This is one of the 33 paradoxes from Richard Farson in his leadership book, “Management of the Absurd.”

Recognizing apparent contradictions makes us feel good and become smarter. To elaborate, I’ll present some paradoxical examples, which I believe are self-evidently related to healthcare informatics and why you, who are already an expert, are reading this.

The core paradox, from Farson is, “the opposite of a profound truth is also true.” Some other Farson favorites that you can judge from your own experience are:

• effective managers are not in control

• the better things are, the worse they feel

we learn not from our failures but from our successes – and the failures of others

Before my first posting, I asked friends for their insights to and opinions of blogs and bloggers. I was genuinely asking for guidance, but only after I made the decision to blog, paradoxically not before. I heard two fairly common themes:

1. Nothing to say

Several friends said that they couldn’t write one (or publish a comment) because they weren’t sufficiently expert or had nothing to say. That’s the “because I don’t have everything to say, that’s exactly why I don’t say nothing” contradiction.

In reality, every single person who said they had nothing to say actually had delightful expertise. That’s part of why I hang out with them. So, the truth apparently contradicted their response.

A Farson paradox here is, “to be a professional, one must be an amateur.” Framed slightly differently, none of us is an expert, yet most of us have distinctive expertise.

I blog to share what I’m learning, or at least observing, and through the resulting comments and associated research, will fill in part of the 25 percent I don’t know.

2. Nobody reads blogs

Well, yes and no. Do you see where this is going? To a great extent, we live to learn , and now we need (or try) to learn with very short attention spans around specific topics.

These are often not topics we’ve chosen. Instead, we’ve been lured in by the potential to learn something important. So the whole structure of blogs is different from wikis or knols, or other packaging and delivery methods.

We knowledge workers read and benefit from blogs because they are the opposite of profound truth. Got that?

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