Skip to main content

What to blog, what not to blog...

... that is the question.

The Grand Canton's recent rant got me thinking. There's been no shortage of people losing jobs, destroying friendships and even being threatened because of what they put on their blogs.

On the other hand, I've had it drilled into my head on numerous occasions that the only truly effective writing, is that in which the writer is being completely honest. The most compelling blog posts I've read are unique because of the author's perspective, and honesty seems like a pre-requisite, or at least essential, to be able to do that.

But what is the cost of that honesty?

What the point of a blog is, even what constitutes a blog vs. a news/opinion website
is a pretty complicated issue, so I'll skip that. But let's assume that most personal blogs are used to communicate personal opinions and experiences. I've often heard the analogy made that a blog post is a one-way conversation, or a speech. Now, that to me is extremely dangerous, because this analogy assumes that
  • you know your audience well
  • you're speaking just to that audience
  • your audience cares about what you say
That's a terrible analogy. I think a blog post is a public conversation you're having ridiculously loudly in a crowded bar. Anyone can hear it, you never know who'll hear it and you have no idea how they'll judge you for it; and you need to be comfortable with that. Sarcasm gets mistaken for meanness, humor mistaken for stupidity, a particular interest for elitism; we humans are really good at using data to support any conclusions we're hoping to reach, and our own biases make us susceptible to go one way or the other.

Right now reading the paragraph up above,
  • Some of you decided I'm trying to make insightful statements I'm not smart enough to make
  • (Hopefully) some decided that I was thinking about something interesting
  • Others decided I really should shut up

The WSJ had an article about how recruiters now use personal blogs: and how they can both help and hurt. Yikes...

So what's my point? As with most of my conversations I don't really have one :)

I think, like any unguarded comment you make, a blog a can make you seem more entertaining and more interesting to some people, and even more annoying to others. I don't know how to strike that balance, or even if its worth trying. I have my own reasons for starting to blog again, but is it better to be diplomatic on your blog vs. controversial, polite vs. honest; if you start censoring yourself too much should you bother blogging at all? Is it better to let people to just suspect you're a nutjob, versus providing them evidence confirming that, that is indeed the case....

questions, questions....

Comments

Josekin said…
Damn you, now you have me 1. thinking about my post and 2. featured again, doubling the chance that some random dude will forward the post to McKinsey.

Oh well, that's how life goes, eh!?

Popular posts from this blog

Measure f-ing everything, and assume f-ing nothing!! - Or how mentoring ruined lives :-(

I've been really enjoying the Freakonomics podcast of late. This episode and the lesson we should take a away from it, was a stark reminder of one of the most important things we should be doing - but often don't - in building products or making any decisions: measuring the impact of absolutely everything we do, including the things that seem obviously good.

I recommend listening to the podcast if you have the time, but here's the summary. Stephen Dubner describes the Cambridge Sommerville Youth Study. The impact of social intervention programs in general is hard to measure and so they seldom are. This was the first attempt at measuring the impact over a long period of time.

It's a great story and there are a few good take-aways, but here's the main one: troubled or at-risk youth that received mentoring (good mentoring!) had worse life outcomes across every dimension than the kids that were left alone. Despite the recipients saying that the mentoring was incredibl…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.



Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)



It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…