Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Testing the blogging waters

I'm going to be honest and tell you up front that I'm not sure if I am going to maintain an ongoing blog for the long haul. I wondered from the start if it was something I wanted to (or could) keep up with. I initially started publishing a few articles on LinkedIn when they opened up the publishing platform to the general public rather than limiting publishing capabilities to LinkedIn Influencers. When I was first considering whether or not to take advantage of the opportunity to publish something online, I went through the same list of questions I assume most people would have. Why would I want to write a blog? What would I write about? How long could I come up with new material? Who would read my work? Where would I publish my blog? So, for those of you still reading at this point, my first blog post from the Google+ platform will address how I answered those questions.

Why would I want to write a blog?

I am far from being an "all about me" kind of person. I am also not fond of being the center of attention. I certainly don't think what I have to say is so important that it needs to be posted online. So, you may be wondering, why in the world am I posting my thoughts online? Well, I continue to develop and refine my own abilities by training others. Writing about what I know (even if nobody is reading it) reinforces that knowledge in my mind and usually increases my knowledge as I see something new every time I review something.

Others choose to write for a variety of reasons. Professionally, writing a blog may get you noticed if you want to be a paid blogger, journalist, or book author. Others just want to be heard or be able to vent, rant, or rave about hot topics to them. Some like to be helpful....and I'm thanking all of you food bloggers that provide a non-stop supply of recipes. For me, it's just something new to try and why I stated at the beginning that I don't know if my blogging is long term.

What would I write about? 

As I initially started publishing via LinkedIn, I felt the need to limit my post topics to something that is business related. There is no real policy saying that it has to be business related, but it really makes sense as LinkedIn is a business oriented networking site. Having already spent quite a bit of time reading the posts of corporate CEO's, business owners, professional consultants, and the like, I realized that there isn't much "new" material out there. The bigger trick is finding a different way to look at the old material and maybe taking something different away from it. Don't get me wrong, there are new innovations and technology and there are definitely new legal and "politically correct" ways of looking at old material.

As a leader and trainer for many years, that's the broad topic I chose to start writing about. The "what would I write about" question then turned into what would be unique about what I was writing. My inspiration came as I was explaining something to my daughter one day. It dawned on me that being a dad is being a leader. You train, develop, guide, and correct your children. The same is true of employees. Unfortunately, the similarities between developing a child at home can be a little too similar to developing an adult at work. Either my children are extremely mature, or some adults seriously lack the ability to follow direction and be mature adults....but that's a topic for another day.

So, I now address the similarities of developing children to developing employees. That shouldn't be taken as an insult to trainees. The point I make with my articles are that it's nothing new. Basic concepts that should be common sense (notice I said "should") apply to a variety of different settings and age groups.

How long could I come up with new material? 

I quickly found out that material is never ending. Once I made the connection between management, training, parenting, etc, I get ideas non-stop. The bigger issue is determining when to broaden or refine the topic. I have all kinds of ideas that, by themselves, don't warrant a blog post. I also have ideas that need to be broken down into five posts rather than five paragraphs.

Since I am a newbie to this whole thing, I've just been making notes and shuffling them around until something fits right. I'm giving myself a lot of leeway as I'm not getting paid to blog by an employer with certain expectations and there are only a handful of people who even read them at this point. It's all part of my learning curve. So far, I don't see an end to the ideas, but I do see the ideas branching out from my original business related ideas.

Who would read my work? 

As I pointed out in the "why would I write a blog" section, I'm not concerned about being hear by everyone. That makes the who would read my work question pretty insignificant, but yet, it is there.It would be nice if somebody actually read it, right? Well, fear not. People read anything. Sorry, not trying to offend anyone, but it's true. I'm obviously not saying that anyone would want to read my blog (at least not more than once). I'm just saying that for every writer, there is a reader. Next time you're going through your social media account of choice, before you scroll past that "stupid, uninteresting to you" post, look at the thousands of likes, +1's, and shares that it has.

Where would I publish my blog?

I'm pretty much full circle now. I already mentioned that I started writing at LinkedIn because the opportunity happened to be there in my news feed as something new they were doing. I also felt that writing about management and training would give me the most topics to work with as that's what I do for a living. LinkedIn makes sense for that. My Facebook friends probably don't care too much about a mentoring program that works, then again, I do relate it to parenting. :)
My reason for trying out this Google+ blogging platform is because I can't get non-business related ideas out of my head. LinkedIn isn't the place for that and Facebook isn't (at least shouldn't be) the place for posts 2-3 pages long. Every social media site, networking site, and blog has the option to share links. Therefore, find the platform or host that you like most, work from there, and link elsewhere.

I'm liking the ease of use on the Google+ platform. The price of FREE is also very acceptable. We'll see what happens. Either way, thanks for reading (if you made it this far). I promise not to make every post ramble on this long. Feel free to let me know what you think. Although I did say I wasn't overly concerned with how professional my blog was, I do actually care. Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Another reason for me caring is that I happen to have friends that happen to consist of, to name a few, the general manager of a newspaper, the editor of a newspaper, and the editor for college publications....something I didn't think about when initially choosing to start a blog. Until next time......