Please read obligatory apology for blogging about blogging .
Like Con, I began this blog when I was investigating blogging for work , but according to one of my first posts (where I outline the fact that I have already started four blogs in the last two months ), it was around nine years ago. I wanted to understand by doing, rather than reading the rather puzzling and confusing accounts of what blogging was and how it was useful. Around mid-April 2006 blogging was at the stage of the peak of inflated expectations in Gartner’s Hype Cycle. It was hard to find anything sensible that did not seem to be promising that third world debt, embarrassing personal itches and all issues in professional communications could be fixed by a good blog.
I understood how hard it is to write clear, short prose that conveys an original-enough idea, has a personable voice and is appropriate for audience.
It took me about a year of blogging rather freely to find out what I was actually interested in/capable of blogging about. That is when my tagline changed from:
“It is and we do. Here’s an apostrophe if you want to add it somewhere ‘ I’m in Fremantle. A librarian at a University Library. Mum to two boys. Balancing both is interesting.”
“It is and we do. Musing, enthusing, libraries, technology, balancing, being mum”.
The word “creativity” currently in the tagline came around 2013 … so I guess it is an ongoing process.
I learned how to read, read, read what else was happening in the same space and to engage with the discussion both by commenting and by expanding further on my own blog.
I made mistakes and learned what not to do (Oh, having an RSS feed means that if I publish something then change my mind and amend it there are still some people who have read the first version in their RSS reader???… Ah – check, check, check then publish). I learned to sit on posts that didn’t feel quite right, even if I was unsure why. I learned how to pre-write posts, breaking them up if necessary and to schedule them for later so I didn’t flood my feed. I learned my own limits for personal and professional sharing, Drawing the veil, which on reflection stills feels sensible and like a good fit for me.
I blogged very regularly for about four years. This lead to a lot of opportunities.
People in the profession, who I did not know, knew me. Sometimes I could approach them to ask for advice or information and feel far more comfortable about doing so, because we had “met” and, due to a positive comment on a post, I was confident that they would not think me a total idiot. It worked both ways, people approached me for information/favours and I was delighted to know that I could contribute.
I was invited to speak places. At many events, and in many places I traveled to, I already “knew” a crowd of like-minded and interesting people. That broke down my usual social hesitancy and unsureness so I felt like I didn’t need to get on a similar page with a group of strangers gradually, but I could dive in and play straight away. I have had people come to stay in my house and stayed in other people’s houses on the strength of a blogging relationship. I met people who transcended the “blogging relationship” and who I now consider personal friends rather than “people from the internet”.
The best, best, best thing was connecting with sharing, generous and questioning minds. I was stimulated by watching other people explore and “think out loud” about some topics I was puzzled by, and other topics that I hadn’t even considered. I saw the elegance and tact with which people skirted potentially divisive issues and were able to say “I disagree, for these reasons” with an elegance and grace. I would consider myself lucky if I learned a skerrick of how to do this.
I developed a lot of my own ideas and found out more clearly what I thought. To make claims I needed to think through things, express myself clearly and provide evidence. Very often I was able to present a point in a professional meeting, or writing in my job, extremely clearly and quickly because I had privately (?) done the “grunt-work” earlier in my blog.
All through this, I have been using the term “blogging”. In my next post, I am considering how I define “blogging”. Writing a blog, right? Well, for me, not exactly. It’s more.