We all have our little areas of specialty. My sister can tell you all about public speaking. My very good friend can yap at you for hours about project management. I can make computers do stuff and find sort of interesting information online. Specialties, you see. You probably have one or two of these yourself, isn’t it ?
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A popular idea exists among engineers that we call the DRY principle, which stands for Don’t Repeat Yourself. When we’re implementing a piece of functionality in one place and then find that we need the same piece of functionality in another place within the engineering we are trying to achieve, the best practice is to draw it once and make it accessible to the entire site engineers. There are several reasons this is a good idea, but the big two are that the more times you do the some thing, the more likely you are to make a mistake and engineering the same thing twice is a waste of time and effort. Same is true with email. I can’t count the number of occasions I’ve described the difference between Interfacing and Integration to coworkers and curious barroom chums. My IT Friend has been asked about fixing computers, many times. Part of being an “expert” is sharing that knowledge with other people, right?
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So why in the hell do we keep writing the same 4-paragraph email to every joker who asks us about our specialty? If there were ever a case for having a blog, this would be it in my opinion – a place where you can write out those long-winded essays about the best way to make sheer kourma or draw a perfect circle or even whats the easiest way to learn excel. Whatever your particular flavor of knowledge happens to be, surely there are more people that are interested in it than the one dude to whom you just spent the last hour composing the email in question.
So, try this out. Next time you’re tapping out 2 single-spaced pages to your Aunt describing how to set up her mobile for some function, consider emailing it to something like Posterous instead; then, fire Aunt Gertrude a link to the page. Now, not only will your Aunt have all the related knowledge her head can tolerate, Google will probably stop by and maybe send some other interested parties your way. And the next time somebody hits you up about it, you need only send them a link to that thing you already wrote instead of retyping the same email all over again!
With the amount of knowledge that exists among those still running around this planet and the amount of email that gets routed around the world every single day, I’m guessing that we could all take advantage of this at least occasionally. If you do it, I’d love to hear about it and maybe grab a nugget or two of whatever speciality is kicking around in your head!