November 25, 2015
As usual, Jay Rosen captures both the essence of blogging, and how it has changed so much over the past few years, in Blogging is doing your work in public.
For me it’s slightly different – this and my other blogs are where I do my thinking in public – but I guess it amounts to essentially the same thing.
Thinking in Public remains one of the oldest reasons people blog, stretching back to the very beginnings of social media, before content marketing, affiliate sales and the rest of the buzzspeak tidal wave crashed everyone’s online signal-to-noise.
What I like about Rosen’s post is how he sees blogging evolving in response:
“Blogging is not the post I wrote … [it’s] the whole thing: accepting the invitation, tweeting the questions, creating a clip by asking what is good to blog about later, publishing the step-back explainer, crafting a distribution plan, negotiating a guest shot at AVC.com, participating in the comment section at Fred Wilson’s site. All of that is blogging. ‘Doing your work in public.”
Now I’m not claiming anything like Rosen’s thought leadership position (“34,000 page views so far. Modest numbers but this is niche publishing”), but it echoes how my online presence has evolved.
For example, a couple of years ago I opened up my online research, installing GTD systems to share the material I’m reading via a a searchable and browsable public library of the resources informing what I write and think.
Of course, I also share some of those resources via Twitter, LinkedIn and my shiny new enewsletter, but it’s all there in that library, tagged and commented, a public record of what I’m reading and thinking, a sort of thematic preview of the blog posts to come.
And this is how I approached my recent October workshop on online communities at EuroPCom 2015:
- issuing a call for ideas via the announcement post in May
- announcing the 3 speakers in July
- creating an online group on Knowledge Hub, for whom Steve Clift, one of my speakers, is global engagement lead, to discuss EuroPCom2015 (disclosure: K-Hub gave me a gig too)
- holding a Hangout on Air with Steve and two K-Hub online community managers to identify key issues for online community development and management, and then writing a very long ‘transcript blog post’ summarising it
- looking at the lack of online conversation about the rest of the conference, and publishing Let’s call time on ‘Park & Bark’ conference sessions in response
- once the K-Hub Group started generating some conversations, inviting two other EuroPCom speakers to a second HangOut-On-Air. Result: Fast, visual communications: a chat with Ezri and Charlelie
- … and then having a third HangOut-On-Air with Anthony Zacharzewski, boss of one of the other speakers at my workshop, leading to Communications, community & participation: learning from NHSCitizen
- finally, an account of my own session: Online Communities: Slides & Key Take-Aways from EuroPCom15
I didn’t plan that, but Rosen’s post got me thinking why.
I feel that it’s somehow more honest to do your learning and thinking in public. By sharing what I’m reading – the ideas and resources that go into this blog and my day job – I’m keeping myself on my toes.
Because it’s far too easy to keep regurgitating What You Learnt Years Earlier, to make claims without substantiation, and to regurgitate other people’s work as if it were your own insights.
And if and when I speak at conferences, I prefer to be seen studying and learning my subject in public, discussing it with other people who know more than I do, rather than simply turning up on the day and performing like some sort of circus animal.