In the age of StockTwits, Twitter and Facebook the idea of sitting down and writing out a fully formed thought in the form of a blog seems downright quaint. Some recent surveys show blogging is on the decline. However for any one interested in forming and communicating ideas the blog remains the best way to pass along that idea and engage an audience in a discussion.
Anil Dash has a great post up talking about how blogging, in that it is “permanent and persistent,” allows for the maturation and development of ideas. Anil writes:
Now, while I’d like to self-servingly pretend that everything I say here is “big” in the sense of being important, really what I meant is that some ideas are just bigger than 140 characters. In fact, most good ideas are. More importantly, our ideas often need to gain traction and meaning over time. Blog posts often age into something more substantial than they are at their conception, through the weight of time and perspective and response.
Discussions on Twitter are chaotic affairs that are often difficult to follow. Also hen a debate takes place on a forum like Twitter it likely lost for posterity. As Felix Salmon writes:
At some point, I hope that Twitter will roll out easily navigable and searchable archives of all public Twitter streams. But for the time being, Twitter is a stubbornly evanescent medium, for all its increasing importance.
In that sense the only way a discussion becomes permanent or memorialized is if it works its way into the blogosphere. Some worthy debates do occur in the comment sections of blogs, but that effort can be misdirected. David Merkel was wondering why some people were willing to write long comments on his blog. Some one like this should have their own blog. David writes:
You have ideas and energy. Build your brand. Why waste your wisdom on the paltry few that read blog comments?
Brand building is definitely part of blogging. But for traders and investors it plays another role. Michael Bigger notes how blogging forces you think through your ideas so that it can be communicated to others. Michael writes:
In a nutshell, blogging compels traders to sharpen their trading thesis by thinking it out loud.
In a certain respect all that traders and investors have are their ideas. If you can’t communicate those ideas in a coherent fashion, then you probably don’t have a fully formed idea. Admittedly trading does its best to turn those ideas into sausage, but without some sort of starting point, a trader is truly at sea.
Are there risks to blogging? Sure. People might disagree with you. You might end up being wrong. You might write something that no one pays attention to. Then again you might toss off an idea that blows up into something bigger than itself.
Let’s note a big caveat. If you think a couple of blog posts are going to somehow vault you into the A-list, think again. Investment (or any other kind of) blogging is hard work. It requires a significant amount of effort and persistence. A quick glance a the blogs on this list prepared by Josh Brown shows what it takes to become a notable blogger.
Blogging isn’t for everyone. Most forms of social media are dominated by “lurkers.” However for those who want to build a brand, test out an idea or engage in an extended discussion the blog remains the best way to do it today.