Why blog?

Every once in a while I revisit the question of why I blog. Not because I doubt that I should, but because I see by blog as a living, evolving part of my personal and professional self.

Rod Boothby of Innovation Creators sums it up nicely in reference to MBA students:

With 10 minutes of effort a day, they use blogs (which are web pages that are easy to edit) to reach a massive audience. They can develop a worldwide reputation as an expert in their field. These MBAs don’t blog about parties or their dog. They blog business topics like marketing or financial derivatives. Even with traffic of only 5 to 10 people a day, that quickly translates into over 1,000 people who know who they are, and respect their knowledge and opinions.

This is from Rod’s whitepaper “The Next Wave in Productivity Tools – Web Office White Paper” in which he discusses how many Web2.0 technologies and the folks who use them are entering the corporate world. It’s well worth the read.

Thanks to John for sending this on to me.

blog, blogging, web, web 2.0, internet, information technology, technology, web office

5 thoughts on “Why blog?”

  1. A very interesting (and, I think, astute) observation about blogging.

    It would be interesting to compare why someone would put their thoughts on a blog as opposed to a forum, newsgroup or wiki.

    Indeed, with comments, many blogs look like forums where only one person gets to decide the initial topic. It’s almost like everyone having their own forum.

  2. Good point Rob.

    To a large degree what I post on my blog is reference for my own use. If I figure something out that I know I will forget (which could be just about anything) I can post a blog entry about it and refer back to it later without having to wade through other people’s posts. In the meantime if someone else finds it useful, all the better.

    The other things I typically post on my blog are things I want to share with the folks I know read my blog (friends, co-workers, etc.) that I think they may find interesting or amusing. Again, if others find it and enjoy it, all the better.

  3. Blogging can also be a useful tool in your job search as a way of establishing your “brand” and differentiating yourself.

    During my job search I’ve gotten to know Kent Blumberg. Kent is a dynamic manufacturing and process industry operation exec also conducting a job search campaign. As part of his marketing plan Kent uses a weblog or “blog” ( Kent Blumberg ) to discuss timely issues in Leadership, Strategy and Performance.

    Because of my desire to stay current with the issues facing IT and never having been shy about voicing my opinion I’ve taken my lead from Kent’s example and have started my own blog ( Mike Schaffner ) . In it I discuss “Management of Information Technology for Strategic Alignment with the Business” plus other related topics that come to mind.

    When I started to think about it, blogs offer a number of advantages in a job search. They don’t replace any of the standard techniques but they can complement them.

    ** It is yet another form of networking
    Through blogging and linking and contacting other people you have the opportunity to expand your network in way you could not have done otherwise

    ** It helps to “refresh” your name with your network
    One of the rules of networking is to keep your name in front of your contacts so they don’t forget about you. RSS feeds and email subscriptions make this easier and can give your contacts useful information without the overt pressure of you asking for a job lead

    ** It is a great form of viral advertising
    Blogs can help to give you a web presence and get your name out to the whole world. Many prospective employers will google you before the interview (as you should google them). Blogging will build your search engine presence. One master of blogging says that “blog” stands for “Better Listings On Google.” In my experience, that is certainly true.

    ** It is a great form of “push” marketing
    It is a promotional strategy to create a demand complementing the “pull” marketing of your advertising i.e. resume

    ** It keeps you in the game
    When we start a job search we leave our professional world behind and concentrate on networking, resumes, networking, interviews and networking. In today’s world, a few months away from a subject is an eternity. By writing about current topics in your field you “stay in the game”

    ** It demonstrates comfort with and a mastery of current technology
    It shows that you “get” current technology which is especially important for more senior job seekers. Blogs can help counter the perception older folks don’t understand the use of technology

    ** It shows a maturity and depth of experience
    Blogs give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and thinking in more detail than a resume. This can be especially useful for younger job seekers by countering the perception they lack “depth”

    ** It helps to answer the third question
    Hiring manager basically have 3 questions: (1) Can this person do the job? (2) Will this person do the job? and (3) Will this person “fit” with our culture? A resume goes a long way toward answering the first 2 questions but provides no insight to the all important third question, a blog does.

    ** Its fun
    Blogs offer the opportunity to discuss issues with others and what can be more fun than a good healthy debate?

    Blogs are relatively inexpensive. You can get one going for about $50 to $150 per year depending on what you want to do. The hardest part is the commitment to make 3 to 5 postings of roughly 300 words each week. Fortunately this should only take a few hours and depending on the blog host you choose you can prepare your posts in advance and schedule them to post whenever you want. Writing well is tough, and the discipline of saying something meaningful in 500 words or less is even tougher. Blogging builds writing muscles.
    It is too early for me to personally comment on results but I’m optimistic. However, Kent who has been at this much longer than I have reports “It can be a great source of interview questions. In my last three interviews, my blog came up (positively) in each, and generated questions that allowed me to expand on my approach to the world.” and “One of the interviewers had googled me, and then read my blog and my comments on others’ blogs. About half her questions were related to those links. Since I blog about areas that I believe are my strengths, it gave me a great chance to reinforce what makes me different.”

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