Two of my favourite blog posts are these: ‘how to be creative’ by Hugh MacLeod and ‘how to be interesting‘ by Russell Davies. Everyone could do with reading them.
Yesterday, Asi asked me which my three favourite blogs are. I thought it was a very interesting question because when you are put on the spot to answer a question (‘which is your favourite ad’ for example, which I’ve been asking people on this blog in the Brain Tap interview series, or ‘what is your favourite website’, which is another question I was asked by the folks from Undercurrent), you find that if you are face-to-face, if you have one split second to answer a question, you remember bits and pieces of many different blogs or websites that stood out at various points but not one, or two, or three in particular. Is Seth Godin less brilliant than Richard Huntington, for example? If these two are excellent writers and the third is Russell Davies, does that make Hugh MacLeod a distant fourth because he is out of the ‘top 3’ and more a cartoonist than a typical writer?
My answer to the ‘favourite website’ question was Google, by the way. It came off the top of my head in two seconds. Very simple, nothing fancy. One website which has become a verb, almost. One website which helps you find information related to any topic under the sun you happen to be thinking about. But I also enjoy reading The New Yorker, for the opinions of its writers and the range of topics it covers. Both are vastly different kinds of websites – Google is technically a search engine, I suppose, even if it is a website. It may be too simplistic an answer for many. Does this mean that for me simplicity rules over thoughts and ideas? I am reminded of a phrase I saw on M&C Saatchi’s website – ‘brutal simplicity’. They believe in distilling all the ideas they have for their clients into one word. By that logic, because Google is so shorn of all frills as a site but ranks high on utility, and the New Yorker is packed with information of all sorts, probably low on utility but high on ideas, one is better than the other? And because I said Google that first instance, I am more simplistic than full of ideas? I think not.
For some people, it may be easy. The intellectuals may think that it’s a no-brainer – of course the New Yorker is a better site than Google. So does that mean it is less useful? Which is more creative? Does creativity count, or does utility count? And aren’t the definitions for those terms always, always subjective?
The answer, of course, is that both count. On a day-to-day basis you probably use Google more, but you’re not going to give up your weekly dose of The New Yorker because you like the way it gives you food for thought. I stand by my original answer, but I’d like to add to it – Google AND the New Yorker for me, thanks.
As for my favourite blogs – this is really a difficult one, but I’m going to stick with the few names I just mentioned, and I’ll tell you why. Seth Godin, Richard Huntington, Hugh MacLeod and Russell Davies, and an addition – The Sartorialist, in no particular order. And the reason is that the first four give me a lot of food for thought. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what they say and realising that I have very similar thoughts, only not as brilliant a way of putting them down. (Ha ha!!). In the case of The Sartorialist, I like seeing pictures of the latest fashions from around the world because I’m intrigued by the way global fashion consciousness changes from region to region and season to season.
And yes, you could add TimeOut (for information on events), and The New York Times (for content) and Modernista (for its uniqueness) to my ‘website’ list as well. It’s never going to end, is it? There is just so much good stuff out there. Sigh!!