I have changed my Twitter approach, and I think it is time to make a shift in blogging too. Inspired by my friends asking about blogging I started to think about it more…I also started writing my posts down in my journal while sipping coffee in the local restaurant during lunch time, and vice versa – posting my diary online. It’s really strange to see people lining two extremes: or avoiding social media like fire and later, when forced to, picking up the pieces and joining the online conversation in a very unnatural way; or being there since ‘the beginning’ and losing the sense of reality and no matter how genuine on their sites – completely lost in an everyday chat on the street. I am also very, very happy to know, gradually more and more engage in conversations of a new generation of bloggers (and to simplify I call a ‘blogger’ everyone, active in any type of a presence online) who wisely combine the two approaches and arrive to the melting point where technology, ‘We-Think’ work, citizen journalism and interactive discourse deepen, enrich, enable and cultivate their offline social life. And so I see geeks, who ‘tweet-up’ for a pint to share their skills (Oxford Geek Nights) and Twitteratti who go out to support charities (Twestival). I see people with great skills, impressive knowledge and high profile available to reach out and talk to any time – and once engaged online, available to meet offline too. And guess what – it’s a great feeling to see for yourself that you actually know them already:) There is also a sense of openness and cooperativeness among this generation of web users, where even competition is healthy – post exchange is profitable for both specialists of the same topic, because the genuine person always wins and there is plenty of space for winners here:)
Barcamps – and no, it’s not another post to promote ours! – barcamp is a perfect place for thought management! As a linguist, event organizer and person with a little bit (not much really) of business experience I cannot see any better format of an event for moving things, people and communities forward. Even Barcamp Transparency was both out of a discussion during a similiar event! It took a lot of e-mails, few committed people and a lot of good feedback, sponsorship and tips, to actually make it happen – and at the end of the day, it was not hard! Why? Because the motivation behind it was to open discussion, bring people together and let them talk… Deep in my heart, I am an artist, but on the rational side of things having a strong background in linguistics (from home, school and interest) and I know that if you want to clearly and correctly classify a word you need to ask the right questions. But what questions do you ask when you approach blogging? I suggest just a few basic ones:
- Why are you here, why are you a part of this community? Even if you do not call yourself a blogger, you do post somewhere? And most of the services move on to creating communities and linking content with other sites. You might be a quiet person who wants to stay unnoticed…but really, if that were that case would you really be here? So why? Be honest to yourself and to us – you want to share your skills, find friends, find local events, make money, start a new career or simply be cool? Why not? Just realize it and stay consistent and transparent in your approach.
- What do you want to achieve with your blogging? What are you doing? Like in business – where do you see yourself in 10 years time…no, let’s think web 2010 – where do you see yourself then? So who do you want to be, and how will you do it?
- Which in a way leads to the next question: How do you behave? Be humble and wise. Having opinion needs a place, time and audience – are you sure you are doing it right? (It took me 5 years of blogging, meeting bloggers and listening and reading them to arrive at the point where I dare to share my opinions and still always leave a place for opposing arguments or corrections) Do you know what you are talking about? Do you share meaningful content – and by this, I do not mean dissertations, just content suitable to the site? Do you speak to the right people in the right tone? etc etc
- How far do you want to go with your privacy? You can be anonymous, you might want to be careful about your address, e-mails, names you mention. You might have to adjust your content depending on your work or use disclaimers – whatever is the case – are you clear on that? And if I ask you, can you answer with few exact examples of your own privacy limitations?
- What do you bring to the party? (Even if ‘nothing‘, if you do it right, it does make sense;)) So, with all this you have to say or.and to show online and represent coherently offline – what do you give to others? Apart from a strong opinion of course? Do people talk about your blogging, and ask you referring to your online content next time they see you on the street: ‘Gosh, I saw you were down, are you better now?’ or ‘Ah, you are preaching again, and once again I must disagree…’
- Is it fun? Do you take a step back and check let’s say Popjam.com? Do you step out and order a beer with a fellow blogger or simply take her for a walk int he park? Do you read books printed on paper? Do you enjoy being called ‘big nose‘ with a smile?
And much, much more! I see people who answer all of those questions of mine easily, without a blink. But I also see the blind, the ignorant, the ones who or know better, or do not bother to patiently learn and listen. Like 2-year-old children, they simply cannot comprehend that iron should not be touched, because the other person knows better! And they need to wait and learn to understand, not to burn their precious fingers!
I think it’s time for me to re-think my blogging. I actually have thought about it for a while now – I was a bit quiet too. I went through a lot of self-initiated changes recently and I think my blogging should reflect this shift as well. Additionally, I have been a witness or a ‘victim’ or many interesting coincidences leading to one simple conclusion: many of my friends and readers want to learn to blog, and once they do, it enriches their life! They gain another channel for their voice, and they gain even more friends! My friend, after 30min of basic WordPress training, starts posting her shocking experiences with British NHS, and gets invited to an interview on the topic (and wait and see her thoughts, once she starts networking too!) Another friend, @agakwiat, really aggressively encouraged, not only helps me out on global Voices Polska, but turns out to be a very talented, witty writer! A fellow blogger from Poland, Magda, based in the UK puts me in touch with an artist who simply inspires me from every possible point of view! A new fellow blogger, Dawid, who has a social media marketing degree from Warsaw steps into my life to share knowledge and give me something I so much lack – Polish terminology and insights! There is the whole #bct09 organizing experience! There is Ben Walker with his new project, who always makes me happier human. And there are instances, where people completely disregard the ‘here and now’ of social media. luckily there is always those, who admit their lack of knowledge…and simply ask for support:) Their life changes. And I stand beside or maybe next to them, completely aghast! And very happy! So I want to share all I know about blogging with a larger audience, and I want to ask you for help so we can all see if this will bring us the same sense of satisfaction and generate little miracles.