In the book “This is your Brain on Music,” Daniel J. Levitin talks about the “ten thousand hours theory.” Levitin is writing about the brain, music and, among other topics, how long it takes to become an expert musician. In study after study the number 10,000 keeps coming up, talent matters, but time matters just as much. If you practice (effectively) for 10,000 hours it’s highly likely you will achieve a “level of mastery associated with a world-class expert.” You can think of 10,000 hours as three hours a day, or 20 hours a week for 10 years.
Levitin thinks the 10,000 hour rule applies to any pursuit, and that brings to mind the new media. How many bloggers have logged 10,000 hours of blogging? How many have 10,000 hours of Twitter? With new mediums like Twitter is it even possible to have 10,000 hours of experience?
When we talk about the professional and the amateur, we usually operate within the context of “mainstream media” vs. blogs; or traditional revenue model vs. adsense vs. free. Perhaps rather than talking about money, we should think about what makes quality?
The primary skill for both blogging and tweets is writing. A person with 10,000 hours of writing experience will have achieved a master level. 10,000 hours of experience in a particular subject matter (coding, politics, humor, short essays on life, the future, the direction of technology, enterprise technology, philosophy, human behavior, social networks) results in a high level of mastery.
When thinking about the idea of quality and depth, one might ask: how many things do you have 10,000 hours of experience in? How does each inform the other in relation to your writing, or photography, humor, film making, music or ability to make friends?