inessential by Brent Simmons

How to Be Wrong on the Internet

Sometimes I hear from people who’d like to blog more — or at all — but they worry, they say, about “being wrong on the internet.”

Me, I do it all the time. I’m constantly wrong on the internet. Here’s how I think about it:

Blogging is, for me, part of the process of getting to the truth.

Everything is provisional — it’s what I think now, and I might change my mind in a year. Or in a day. Or in a minute, when somebody posts (or tweets) more or better information or has a solid argument.

And that’s the part I love. A recent example: while writing the Vesper sync diary I got a ton of great feedback that changed my mind on some things, and that feedback ended up making those articles better and it made the app better.

The fun part is documentating all this. It’s learning-out-loud.

But to do that means thinking a little bit differently than you may be used to. Instead of taking feedback as criticism or correction, take it to mean that the process is working. If you learn something or change your thinking, then that’s great. That’s the point.

The feedback may also not change your thinking, but you may understand your thinking better and end up being better at defending and articulating it. That’s great too.

This may take some courage at first. But soon you’ll find that it doesn’t hurt at all.

Me, I’d be happy if everything I post is wrong. Because then I get to learn.