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Thoughts of this blog

Autumn Mums

I always think of brightly colored leaves in the fall but a close second autumn thought is the rich color of Mums (Chrysanthemums). My wife always insures there are wonderful blooms in our yard this time of year…just one of the ways she brings beauty into my life.

My reading each day covers a wide range of topics…from photography, technical/science, politics, news and social media. It’s usually a matter of skimming the headlines and then cherry picking those item that catch my interest.

One I stop at frequently is Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog. In a post yesterday titled “4 Lies about social media‘ one of the lies she listed was about blogs.

Lie #3: Blogs are personal journals.

Your blog is a record of what you’re thinking, and that record will represent you online, as a high-ranking search result when someone googles your name. So if you care about building a network, you’ll stop using your blog as a diary.

Your blog is intellectual exercise for you—to keep yourself thinking in a disciplined way about things that interest you. And it’s an intellectual exercise for other people—to follow your thought process and decide if they’d like to engage you in conversation. The blogosphere is a cocktail party for the intelligentsia without J Brand jeans or Jimmy Choo shoes. It’s just ideas, bouncing back and forth, and you’re deciding who to talk to.

I know I’m always telling people to stop worrying about what their blog is going to be and to just start blogging. I say this assuming that you understand that a blog is a networking tool. It’s one of the most important ways you can create career stability, by being who you are and connecting with people who like you for who you are. Your blog is a career-management dream-come-true.

I’ve never thought in great detail about this blog representing me. My post have tended to wander in focus over the years from computer/technical to photography with a liberal spicing of personal entries along the way. I suspected in early 2006, when I started this blog, that it might be that way which accounts somewhat for the blog name I selected–Meandering Passage.

There are probably a number of family and friends that are surprised this blog has lasted this long–hell, it surprises me too! Perhaps that’s one of the best things the blog says of me…not giving up.

Penelope’s second paragraph, about the blog being an intellectual exercise resonates with me. However, I’ve let this slip lately. It’s easy to not “do-the-work” and skim along the surface with blog posts and/or photographs. Yep, I need to do better with this. I also like her statement in the third paragraph about being “who you are and connecting with people who like you for who you are.” I do appreciate those who read, those who come back and those who also take the time to comment.

My purpose/agenda for this blog has never been to enhance a career or build a large network, but I do agree a blog can be a useful tool if that’s your goal. My reason for Meandering Passage has always been as a vehicle to voice my opinions/views and to hopefully get some feedback from people of similar interest. Sometimes it’s nice to know someone hears your voice. :-)

If you have a blog, have you thought about what it says (about you) and why you blog?

9 Comments on Thoughts of this blog

  1. QPB (Mary Ann) // 22 Oct ’09 at 1:11 pm // Reply

    I suppose, if you are blogging to promote your career, she might be right on target. I’m sure she is. And I’ve read over and over, build a niche if you want to have traffic. People want to know what you are writing about. Okay.

    I’m not too concerned about traffic. I have a few readers, or folks who are kindly enough to check in on what I am shooting or writing for the day. I read their blogs too. I don’t have a particular topic. Its whatever strikes me. I enjoy taking pictures, and I like to associate a writing of some sort with my pictures. I like it that I start out thinking I will be writing XYZ about a photo, and by the end, I am writing about something else that was stirring somewhere under my psyche.

    Or taking more photos of empty benches. Lol.

    So, I meander too. If I want to write about something relative to my career, I wouldn’t have any problem doing that–there’s lots to be written. But I write and shoot for enjoyment and I display it for feedback and interaction.

  2. I am also not blogging for my career, but for my creative hobbies. I converted my static html photography web site into a blog after carefully considering different options for “content management” on a dynamic web site. A blog offers a very simple (sometimes too simple) way to manage dynamically changing content. I felt that it was flexible enough (with the wordpress static pages feature and photo hosting on Flickr) to cover most of my needs for sharing my photography, ideas about photography and getting feedback from others. The social network that builds up surrounding the blog is a great side benefit of the feedback features.

    I agree with Ms. Trunk that one should be cautious about spilling too much of your personal life online (she should talk, BTW, sheesh!), but If I were to treat by blog as a self promotion and networking management tool for advancing a career (in photography, say, which is not my career), it would eventually become a chore. There is a balance there.

  3. I have created a number of different blogs over the years for various reasons and projects. The first few were project based. I was working full time on a photography project either in the Florida Everglades or across Australia and I posted a bit diary like along the way Typically a photo and a brief description of what I did that day.

    I have recently launched a new blog that combines a few different things. First, it is a showcase for photography and a platform for me to publish tips and tidbits of natural history. I can share my experiences in the field as well as throughout the business. Is this a way to promote my career? Sure, is that its ultimate goal? Not really. It’s simply a method for me to write on a daily basis and drive myself to get out and photograph even when I don’t really want to.

  4. My blog helps me sort out my thoughts and clarify my thinking on the creative process and the questions that thinking raises day to day. It is also a means of networking with other photographers and I regularly celebrate my good fortune for having found a lovely community of similar-minded folks and I enjoy our online conversations. While I don’t turn away income from my photography, it definitely isn’t a “career”. If I were using the blog to further a career, it would have a completely different look, tone, and content. Instead, I am another who wanders somewhat aimlessly from one subject to another, mixing topics in no particular order, and with no business agenda.

  5. @QPB (Mary Ann) – I like that process as well…where the writing takes its own course and the post becomes something different then first envisioned. I’ve never been disappointed with the end product when that happens and it’s certainly interesting following the trail or thought process taken from point A to B.

    @Eric Jeschke – Yep, Ms. Trunk doesn’t take her own advice about not sharing too much of the personal life on her own blog…TMI. ;-) But then I do find her writing style to be refreshing and informative. Eric, well said about being a balance. If it were more work then fun I wouldn’t keep doing it.

    @Drew Fulton – There’s nothing wrong with having more then one purpose for a blog. I believe you can have a personal blog that also present a professional image to showcase your interest, experience and skills. Again it’s like Eric stated in his comment above…balance. I do identify with a blog providing impetus to get out and photograph. However, once I’m out there my love of photography takes over and no other motivation is required at that point. Drew, thanks for the comment and I hope you’ll keep returning. I’ve added your blog to my feedreader and look forward to enjoying your photos and posts.

    @Anita Jesse – I sometimes wonder if we’re really wandering aimlessly or if perhaps it’s a matter of not being privileged to know what’s further down the path (see there’s that path thing again). :-) It’s like walking along a deep in an unfamiliar forest, having no clue where you’re at, then rounding a bend to find yourself exactly where you wanted to be. Until that very last moment you’d have swore you were totally lost…just meandering about.

  6. Earl: I found it rather funny to go and read her blog and see that, for the most part, it reads exactly like a diary. I had fun following her relationship with “the farmer”. As for what a blog says about a person, who knows? I rather like to follow my heart and talk about whatever I feel like talking about.

    I think that, coming from one who openly admits that she is a workaholic, I’m not surprised that she would think that a blog should be built around maximizing some return, whether that be networking ability or whatever. For her, it seems, it’s all about the numbers. For me, it’s all about the fun. I rather like stretching my brain openly and also, like your site, you never know from day to day what’s going to be posted. It keeps it interesting, I think.

  7. I began my blog nearly two years ago as I approached retirement; one of my goals in retirement was to attempt to break out of the mold in which one exists during their professional life. Maybe a simpler way to say it was that I wanted to try something that might stretch me and could also be fun!
    When I began my blog, I had little if any expectation that anyone would spend any time reading it so the numbers never entered into it for me. Since I had spent many years working in the woods alone or with workers who spoke very little English, talking to myself was something I was very comfortable with.

  8. @Paul – Ms. Trunks blog is very personal and doesn’t seem to follow her own advice. Perhaps it’s a case of don’t do as I do, do as I say in that regard. To her credit, she ofter makes me stop and view things from a different angle–in areas I’m not all that familiar with. And when we stretch we grow. :-)

    In a broader sense, I believe we’d all like to “maximize some return”, it’s a matter of what we’d like returned. Perhaps the return is no more then expressing ourselves in a manner so we gain a better understand of what makes us tick or to make contact with like minded people for sharing commonalities. We all do it for something or else we wouldn’t be doing it.

    @Steve Skinner – So has the reality of your blogging exceeded your expectations or do you still feel like your talking to yourself? ;-)

  9. @Earl Moore – My expectations have been greatly exceeded!

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