Time to stop blogging?

Yes, it’s been a while since I last checked in.

This article from Wired magazine struck a familiar chord, but it doesn’t completely describe my funk. It points out that Facebook, Flikr, and Twitter are becoming the preferred social networking channels for individuals. I’m not blogging, but it’s not because I’m Twittering, Flikring, or Facebooking instead.

The article also says that today, it’s almost impossible for a single individual to be a big-time blogger. But that was never my goal in the first place and still isn’t.

Technical communication is and will always be a small niche in the blogosphere. Since we are writers by profession, more and more of us have started blogs. I’ve been reading some of them and they are pretty good. I slowed down partly because I didn’t think I had much to contribute to the conversation.

But the blogging conversation is different than a conversation at a dinner party or even on a listserve. In those situations if someone says, “Consider the oyster,” and you just happened to also be contemplating oysters, you would look foolishing saying, “I want to talk about oysters.”

In the blogosphere—even the narrow tech comm corner of the blogosphere—there is room for two, or even five or ten simultaneous oyster diatribes because we all have different audiences with some overlapping on the edges. If we are truly speaking in our own voice, we won’t be talking about oysters in exactly the same way. This may or may not be useful to our audience.

I began blogging as a way to reach out to the STC chapter in Atlanta when I was president two years ago. I had a lot of fun with it and decided to continue. I like to write and I like to share things I’ve learned or seen or thought about. Sometime over the summer I lost my inspiration. Then I felt guilty as each week passed without a blog post.

When I read the Wired article today I thought, “What the heck? There may not be any pearls inside this oyster, but I’m still swimming along in the STC/tech comm tide with some opinions, thoughts, and observations.” So I will chug along here at a relaxed pace for a bit longer even though it is so 2004.

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10 Responses to Time to stop blogging?

  1. Rhonda says:

    Hi Holly

    You said “I like to write and I like to share things I’ve learned or seen or thought about.” And that’s exactly the reason I keep blogging… That and a fading memory full of ‘might be useful again one day’ knowledge!

    My personal blog is about the things I’ve seen and thought about, whereas my corporate blog (http://cybertext.wordpress.com) is like a brain dump for all the stuff I learn and want to be able to find later. I think of it as the one place where I can put all that knowledge and where I can find it whether I’m at home, at a client site, or on the road.

    Often, I’ll find out how to do something, then forget about it as it was a ‘one-off’. Then, six months or three years later I have to do the same thing again, and so I delve deep into the memory banks to come up with… nothing. So off to Google and hope that I can remember the search terms I need to use to find that elusive piece of information again. My blog has solved that problem for me – I now put the information into a post. For example, what to do when an Office document won’t open in SharePoint (you have to replace a DLL), how to back up a SQL database and restore it on another computer, etc. etc.

    If someone else finds my posts useful, that’s fine. But it’s really just for me. None of us are getting any younger…

    BTW, I have a reminder to back up my blog each month, and I’m pretty good about doing it. Just in case WordPress doesn’t exist one day…

  2. Holly says:

    Hey, Rhonda,
    Yes, Mike Hughes uses his blog in the same way. A sort of laboratory for thinking on paper (actually, online). Anyone who tunes in can give feedback.

    Your point about backups is well taken.

  3. Mel Aclaro says:

    Hi Holly. Thanks for the ‘follow’ on Twitter. Just thought I’d stop by to get to know ya. Glad to connect. I do hope you keep blogging. Not only is it a great channel for mindshare, quite often more people than you’d otherwise think are actually listening. In that connection is an opportunity to touch and help. Case in point, thanks for sharing the Wired magazine article. It helps with something I’m writing. 🙂 (Cool how that works.)

    @melaclaro

  4. hharkness says:

    Hi, Mel!
    Yes, it is interesting how this viral stuff works; I found you on LinkedIn.
    I was interested because you are involved with change management.
    I’m doing that somewhat unofficially at my current job.
    thanks for your words of encouragement

  5. Tom Johnson says:

    If I suddenly didn’t have a creative space to write and publish, it would feel like someone had taken part of me away. Definitely do what fulfills you creatively. It’s different for everyone.

    Tom

  6. Anne Gentle says:

    Great post – really struck a chord with me for the reasons I blog and help others with blogging. I started in 2005 (three years ago instead of the four years cited in the Wired article) and continued to blog, even through two maternity leaves, so I know that blogging is something that helps me keep my energy flow just right. I just read this McKinsey paper about women and leadership – http://www.brescia.uwo.ca/iwil/programs_research/research/documents/CenteredLeadershipMcKinsey.pdf – and it also helped me understand how blogging helps me with not only connecting but also energy management (two of the five dimensions of leadership in this paper.) Blogging has been just right for my working parent life. I do have to be sure I’m not “my own annoying boss” since I do want to stick to two posts a week, but those standards can ebb and flow with the tide. 🙂 Thanks for writing this up!

  7. hharkness says:

    Thanks, Ann
    Interesting report from McKinsey.
    It’s refreshing to finally hear someone say “work-life balance is a myth.”
    I’ve never thought in terms of energy management,
    but that’s really what most of us try to do, isn’t it?

  8. […] Philosophy, Strategy Now that I have your attention: A fellow Tech Writer (Tina—I mean Holly Harkness) turned me onto a Wired magazine article about how blogging has lost the spontaneous, personal […]

  9. Wow! This is a great post. I don’t really consider myself as a pure blogger, but I do blog. I do the old way of expressing my thoughts – through traditional writing since I am not always online. In fact, essay writing is my forte and I have a hard copy collection of all my writings. I adore the bloggers for being passionate in their writing. Just continue writing and expressing yourself online. I’m sure you are going to inspire a lot of bloggers out there. Goodluck with all you endeavors:)

  10. Nice writing! i will come back again.

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