Someone recently asked me why I was starting a blog, and why I was doing it now.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I had for a long time steered away from Social Media – blogs, Twitter, etc. – for a number of reasons. But I am of the increasing belief that many of my reasons were, are at least are becoming, invalid. For example:
- As a research analyst, my clients pay for my knowledge, expertise, and advice. I had thought that blogging would put some of that valuable content out for public consumption for free, devaluing my client’s investments. However, it is clear that what I put out as advice for my clients is quite separate from what I Tweet or blog. The former is formal, well studied, action-oriented, backed by empirical research, peer-reviewed, and subject of deep analysis. The latter is likely to be casual, off-the-cuff, opinion-oriented, with little data or analysis, and no peer review. As a result, it is now clear to me that my formal research and analysis retains its value, even though I may post on similar or related topics in my blog.
- I saw Twitter and Blogs as very self-centered, uninteresting, without credibility, and generally not much use. So many words with such little meaning. This now-classic Penny Arcade comic (NSFW language) pretty much summed it up. But after reading Twitter for a few months, then using it, and discovering some excellent blogs from other Twitter users (and other analysts), I can see that some of these social media outlets are contemplative, interesting, well-crafted, and more than credible for their purpose. Besides, even though so many blogs are complete rubbish, mine didn’t have to be. Hopefully it isn’t.
- I could not see any business need for social media. On that, I was just plain wrong. Of course, social media doesn’t need to have a business purpose. I fully intend to blog on occasion about sports, cooking, TV, movies, music and a wide range of things in my interests, just as I occasionally Tweet about them. But social media also can have a business outcome. I know on Twitter I have expanded my circle, and am pleased my Twitter feed now reaches some excellent business contacts, and provides a wider audience for my analysis and research. It has also generated some very interesting discussions that have informed my research, and on more than one occasion, actually brought clients to my attention (or perhaps the other way around). I hope my blog will have a similar outreach, promote similar discussions, and even perhaps help generate business for me and my employer.
- I didn’t think I needed to. My clients had not asked me to, I had journal columns I wrote regularly as an outlet, and really didn’t think a blog would help. Well, since then I have noticed my clients and prospects increasingly paying attention to my competitors’ blogs (even as lame as some of them are! 🙂 ), and have actually had some of my clients specifically ask me if I had a blog, and when I said that I didn’t, they have even told me that I should start one. Given different outlets have different content, it seemed that a blog could help me express my views outside my formal channels, help my clients understand more of my views, and help my readers understand the technologies I cover.
- I thought I had nothing to say on a blog. I am still not entirely sure that I have anything worth reading – time will tell – but I certainly feel I have something to say. My work allows me a certain type of outlet for my research, my analysis, and even some of my thoughts, such as short briefs, advisories, journal articles, conference presentations, and more. However, it does not allow me to publish the sort of freeform musings that I can on a blog. My blog will not replace my work output; it will provide an additional, personal, outlet.
- I thought I didn’t have time to blog. Well, to be honest, I still don’t. But that shouldn’t be a reason not to do something important.
So, why now? Pretty simple, really. I started using Twitter at the beginning of the year. Lurking at first, and then sceptical, I soon embraced it for all the good connections and discussions it has given me, personally and professionally. For a while now, I have been an avid Twitterer, but I keep getting into the situation where I want to say more than 140 characters will allow. I see others expanding on their Twitter ideas in their blogs, so thought it would be a good thing to do.
So now that I have finally gotten around to blogging, I hope you enjoy it.