Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Why Blog? (Manifesto Zero-Six)

Over the last year I set out to teach myself how to blog in a more considered manner than I had attempted previously. I believe that I have made some progress, but I believe I have to pursue this more actively in Zero-Six. This implies that I am somehow going to have to give a greater time commitment than my current hour or two a week. Perhaps once I get my new work laptop and stop handwriting all of my blog posts in PDA Graffiti script on the 07:15 train every morning then the frequency of my publication schedule will increase. Given that the New Year is a time for reflection (I am stretching that one a bit at this stage I know), I have compiled my personal checklist of reasons to put in the effort required.

Blogging helps me to think
Even if I choose to think about relatively unimportant things like typefaces and web services, rather than philosophy, ethics or solving world hunger, the act of writing helps me to clarify my thoughts on many given topics.

Blogging makes me a better writer
The fact that my words can be read by anyone, coupled with the fact that my online writings are now far more permanent, compels me to focus more on the words that I use and the clarity with which I use them. As your blog becomes your Public Permanent Record, it has the upside of giving you sovereignty* and an enhanced reputation. But it can equally create a negative impression if you fail to take sufficient care over what you publish. As with anything else, practice makes perfect. The discipline of writing semi-regularly has already improved the quality of the standard non-blogging material that I write every day in work.

Career Survival
I do believe that blogging, or some iteration if it, is going to be an increasingly important and critical career skill, perhaps even a life skill. Particularly, but not exclusively, if you work in the area of communications – as I do. Reaistically, I am going to have to master this skill eventually, so why not do it now.

Producer versus Consumer
I want to spend more of my time making New Things, as opposed to consuming other people’s content. Today’s online tools and web services facilitate an increasingly active participatory role for all of us as producers of personalised media. Whether it be posting photos onto your Flickr page, your thoughts onto your blog, or whatever more advanced level you decide to take it to. In contrast to the traditional role of passive consumer of media, this seems a more interesting and productive use of my available time and attention.

*To paraphrase Hugh Macleod and his inspiring idea of becoming your own Global Micro-Brand.