Kyra has an interesting post today about blog backlash. Now that her kids are both in school, she is back in college finishing up her degree. Apparently signs abound on her campus warning the students about the perils of blogging. While one’s blog content certainly can put a person at risk of being “dooced” or not getting one’s dream job, I do think there are many advantages to blogging.
I first heard of blogging back in the summer of 2004 when Brad Feld, a venture capitalist, spoke at one of my entrepreneurship classes. One company he was considering investing in when he gave his lecture supported the blogging environment. He mentioned that he liked to understand and immerse himself in the technologies he invested in, so he had started his own blog. After about 6 months of reading his and other blogs, I decided to start my own. At that time, these were my reasons. Wow, looking back, most of those goals are complete, although I am still struggling to become a better teacher. I still use my blog to organize my thoughts and interests, to set public goals and track my progress.
This medium allows me to use a ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ mechanism for sharing knowledge. I find an interesting tidbit, usually in my Bloglines inbox, email or a magazine, let the idea percolate a while and then post it. Rather than pushing it upon my colleagues and then being disappointed that they haven’t read it, I wait for others to find me and the information. Of course, I try to make it easy for people to find me (tagging, using sensible post titles etc). When people do find it, they are more likely to be interested and engaged, as it is on their terms, rather than mine. I suppose exceptions would be folks who have subscribed via FeedBlitz, but the majority of readers of this site either find it as a result of a direct search for information, or are returning readers who I suspect work in a similar industry. This makes blogging a much more appealing proposition to me as an author than emails ever did.
There is more in Mel’s post that is thought provoking as well as a list of helpful blog tools but this excerpt was the core for me. I had not really thought about blogging this way before, but when I read her post I had an “aha” moment. Although the random stranger sometimes stumbles across my blog, generally there is a small core of people who read my blog (family members, coworkers, women with similar interests/blogs, and few close friends). It is still surprising to have a conversation or email start with “So I was reading your blog and ….” and yet, it’s perfect. I put the things that interest me or that are important to me out there and if others share those interests it is there for them to read or follow up on. I love this.
Of course, there are topics that I simply will not blog about: in-laws, specifics about students (FERPA), and specifics about work. I am grateful for my j0b and plan to keep it; I do occassionally blog about the general issues I face; how the experiences feel to me; how they make me grow. It’s a fine line. It tends to take me a few days to determine whether the value provided to me of blogging about a work issue outweighs the inherent risk.