Conversations, blogging and Thud Factor Architectures…(yes Thud Factor is Back after nearly 10 years!!!!)

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We have an interesting debate going on at work right now. I am losing horribly by the way. In terms of sheer numbers there are many fewer people that agree with me than with the other side.

(I won’t dignify the other side with a name, let’s just say at this point most of my team disagrees with me).

The debate is around the concept that blogging, Texting and Twitter are slowly forcing the decline and fall of the English language. First off I do concur and acknowledge that I am one of the worst at texting. I do not text complete sentences. I also personally struggle with some of the arcane and annoying rules of English. As a writer I prefer the language flow rather than the language be absolutely grammatically correct every time. To me flow is more critical than grammar.

I am also willing now to acknowledge that twitter is eroding language a bit, although we could argue that it does force you to think in smaller thoughts. Frankly technology itself is ruining meetings. More and more meetings regardless of where you are people bring their computers into the meeting and basically attend the meeting and work on their other things at the same time.

But blogging I will still argue isn’t destroying the language. First off I believe many bloggers are artists. As a long time poet I can say that the rules of grammar and poetry are often a bad mix. There are poets who go out of their way to deride the rules of grammar. Personally I know that the many years I wrote poetry impacts my ability to write in proper grammar. Blogging however doesn’t do that. People complain that blogging is conversational writing but why wouldn’t conversational writing be good?

It is a fun debate. It is one that I am happy to lose on two of the three fronts (twitter and texting). I still maintain the bloggers are artists and therefore exempt in many cases from the “grammatical” laws that rule all other writing.

I do also after long thought wonderful if perhaps we are forgetting the reality of conversational writing. Are we in the end losing that entire genre as we move towards a brave new world of writing? Many IT professionals create dry and arcane technical documents that are read once (by the author in creating the document) but are never read again. They gather dust in the directors office, occasionally pointed to but seldom pulled down and looked at.

Isn’t all writing a conversation?

Not mind you that software architects should suddenly embrace conversational English in building designs for solutions. There are rules and requirements for conceptual, logical and physical architectures that are critical. The document of those components should be and must follow the established rules. I get that. I think in the end the requirements should be conversation thought. The presentation of static defined architectures often becomes simply the presentation of something that people don’t always return to or reference. I used to tell customers that architectures are living documents that die if they are not updated.

Thud factor architectures still rule. There has to be a fine line between architectural documents that are shared but never used and hallway conversations that result in ah hah moments that change the architecture (without ever being documented).

In the end it is an interesting debate. I’ve expanded it a little to include the reality of conversational blogs and ultimately the reality of bloggers as artists. In the end writing has to appeal not to the reviewe4r but to the consumer. If the reader loves what is written then it doesn’t matter what the critic says.

Blogging isn’t ruining the English language. It is expanding the conversation to many more people than could have had the conversation before.

.doc

Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.