To Blog or Not to Blog

Last week saw the launch of D.A.V.E at work, Dave is our College intranet featuring all the usual policies, procedures and forms. Where Dave differs is the inclusion of social networking facilities such as status-like updates, blogs, the ability to use @user very much like twitter and an influence rating based on your interactions with the systems and users. The system is the launch page for all our other MIS services (Management Information Systems/Services).

I would like to share a conversation I had with a colleague this week who raised many questions about D.A.V.E and made me reflect on how many staff members may be pondering similar question?….Hence the blog!

So the background on my fellow conversationalist, lets call him Dave (which it isn’t but it seemed appropriate), Dave is a tech savvy tutor but is happily a “non-social networker”. To quote Dave directly….. “wife does the social networking thing, I look over her shoulder and its all a bit irrelevant to me” I rose to the challenge, Dave was obviously somebody in need of some social networking enlightenment!

He raised some really good questions during our conversation which I think would be useful to share for other members of staff who may be teetering on the brink of engaging with D.A.V.E as was he.

Blogging Is an online diary open to a wider audience, most recent entry first (called a post) and can be from a paragraph to a full blown article that discusses your topic/focus from your perspective. A short sentence or comment that might be a statement or pose a question is generally seen as a status or comment (or in the case of D.A.V.E “What are you working on?”) and generally is not posted to a blog.

Do I need it in my life? Like anything else it’s not until you start to use it that the benefits start to become apparent I reminded Dave – remember life before the smart phone or sky/cable – he even admitted he would rather not!!!! It isn’t going to change your life but it does allow you to get in touch with like-minded individuals or groups, where you might even get answers to specific questions or share your own answers or findings.

Is it not a distraction or at the very least unnecessary background noise? I admitted it can be if the posts are not relevant or the blogger is developing their skills, but the benefits of using social technologies is that you can elect to “follow” and be informed of posts or move on. The saying “content is king” still counts for blogs – but whilst I may not be interested in hair dressing blogs (having little hair, or do they have a tonic secret!) I would love to see great tasting food recipes from the catering & hospitality team (hint hint!).

He went on to ask What am I not getting? It’s a great opportunity to tap into a wealth of resources, open up dialogue, expand conversations and reach out across our organisation to those you would not normally influence. Another tool or channel of communication. More importantly it is a great way to reach a larger interested audience.

He also questioned relevancy and time (in regards work)? Like any other channel of communication it has a settling in period, most have sent a funny email or a cheeky instant message (have you brightened up a colleagues day or cracked a smile from something you have received on MS Lync at work)? but these ease the burdens of our day, lighten our mood and generally are short lived humour. I remember getting a message to call a supplier back and getting ranted at down the phone by a ‘novelty angry chat line’. Well the novelty value will fade as people experiment and choose to either embrace or let it pass them by, and that is not a criticism, there are those that prefer face-to-face communication as much as those that like a phone call or an email.

He also raised an interesting point – Are we not just pandering to the Facebook generation and ‘liking’ everything? I would rather they did, I don’t want them to re-invent a social networking mechanism for each platform, although I still don’t get why we don’t have a ‘dislike’ or ‘meh’ [sic] option!

After a very engaging and thought provoking discussion he threw down the gauntlet and asked How would you engage me? Wow, this is the thought provoker…..

1. Read some posts, ignore those you don’t like and follow those you do
2. Got something to add? post a comment or question – ignite a debate or two – that’s what your blogger should welcome (as long as it is healthy)
3. You want to post? pick a topic or focus – most people do not want to know about every aspect of your day to day life – mine is edu tech related, I like to think I have a few relevant opinions, I don’t tell you about my latest recipe (although I can if you want – I make a killer focaccia)
4. Posting should be sustainable, I have blogged everyday for 100 days straight and it is a killer, aim to blog at intervals to maintain interest but to not burn out and never post again (called blog fading!). Once a week is more than acceptable
5. Include an image (reference source if necessary) and links for further/recommended reading

So how did the conversation end up? Well I throw the gauntlet back by looking forward to their first comment on this post and their future blog post (you know who you are “Dave”), maybe your first post could be about the path to blog enlightenment! Oh, and thanks for the material that made up this blog post, next step podcasting 🙂


One comment on “To Blog or Not to Blog

  1. Pingback: What Makes a Good Blog or Website? | christest243

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