Time Zones Don’t Matter in the BlogSphere

(Reformatted and relinked from the original post on February 19th, 2006 at Java.Net – Also see Distance in the Internet, Time Zones and Geos and The Impact of Blogs.Sun.Com)

The World is smaller and it only takes a few minutes to get an email message across almost any two points. Geographic distance does not matter, but in one of my earliest blogs I argued that Time Zones Still Matter in the Internet. But that statement was based on email interactions and for the last few months I’ve had quite a bit of experience in the use of blogs over distant Time Zones. Based on this new experience, I now believe that Time Zones Don’t matter in the BlogSphere.

The contributors to the GlassFish Community are from many locations across the globe. Over the last few months these engineers have started blogging with increased frequency, and since late November, several of us have been using these blogs as sources to create a news blog (The Aquarium). Most of the blogs are very informative and, somewhat to my surprise, the geographic origin of the blog – and its Time Zone of origin – is totally irrelevant to its relevance and impact.

I think that what happens is that the communication style encouraged by blogs encourages a careful writeup that is self-contained, which is exactly what is recommended for communication across distant Time Zones. Also, the comments of a thread create a stream of communication that is directly tied to that content, and in most cases, it is quite acceptable to the author of a comment if the response happens many hours after the posting. All of this means that the author of a blog can be many TZs apart from the reader, with no substantial impact on the quality of their interaction. As a typical example, Sahoo is located in Bangalore, and I am located in SantaClara, California but, as an editor and a reader at TheAquarium, he is just one of the good contributors at TA.

There are many types of blogs, and I don’t want to make a universal statement, but our technical blogs have proven to be quite immune to the Time-Zone problems that are very evident in email. In the new world of global communities, blogs are proving to be a very useful tool.

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