Learning in Public

Learning in Public
Photo by Library of Congress / Unsplash

Some time ago, I came across the phrase "Learn in Public," also stated as "Build in Public." This concept intrigued me.

What it means is that you should share with the world what you're working on. It's not a completely foreign concept in the IT world. Open-source software development is a way to build new software in the public arena.

It's much the same way with learning in public. This blog is my way of sharing what I am exploring in my reading. It's not enough to consume content, and we, as humans, need to refactor that content into our own personal phrasing and create something "new" out of it.

When we share that "new" refactored content into the world, we open a dialogue. We can receive feedback from others and further improve our understanding. We expose ourselves to new and different perspectives, further refining our viewpoints.

Shawn Wang has written an article titled "Learn In Public" on his blog and even developed a whole course around this concept.

Learn In Public: The fastest way to learn ∊ swyx.io
The fastest way to build your expertise, network, and second brain.

He talks about the habit of creating "learning exhaust." We can do this by writing blogs, creating YouTube videos, and participating in online communities.

"Whatever your thing is, make the thing you wish you had found when you were learning." – Shawn Wang

He's got some other fascinating thoughts on learning in public. I encourage you to read the full post.

Shu Omi gives a more concrete way of engaging in this process.

He recommends in the video to use Wikipedia as a starting point for research into a new concept. Think of that Wikipedia as the opening of the rabbit hole into new knowledge. From there, blog about what you learn in your world. You will likely also expose yourself to other ideas and other pages and sites where you can dig deeper into the subject. Tweet about it as well.

Inevitably, this action will start your feedback loop, and you will build an audience of people interested in the same subject. With consistent effort over time, you'll be surprised at what you learn.

Anne-Laure Le Cunff also talks about learning in public. She says that the "only way to learn in public is to build in public."

The only way to learn in public is to build in public
Our natural fear of being judged leads most people to build, learn, and think privately. But seeking validation should not be the goal of learning in public.

Our fear of being made fun of is what keeps our learning private. Today's internet world, where likes and shares judge us, only reinforces this behavior.

My blog is my public log of what I am learning, and I share it freely with the hope that I become a better, more knowledgeable version of myself.