Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why Blog?

Recently a group of managers at work asked me to explain why I blog. This is a very good question, because the answer might not be intuitively obvious. Perhaps by sharing my rationale here, I might encourage others to blog as well.

  1. Blogging organizes thoughts. Recently I nodded in agreement when I heard a prolific author explain why he writes. He said the primary purpose for writing his latest book was to organize his thoughts on a certain topic. Writing an entire book is too much for most of us, but consolidating your ideas into a coherent statement is usually sufficient.

  2. Blogging captures and shares thoughts. Once your thoughts are recorded in electronic form, you can refer to them and point others to them. If I am asked for an opinion, I can often point to a previous blog post. If the question is interesting enough, I might write a new post. That satisfies this reason and the previous one.

  3. Blogging facilitates public self-expression. This is a positive aspect of the modern Web, if approached responsibly. Many social networking sites contain information people would not want to preserve for all time, but a carefully nutured blog can establish a positive presence on the Web. If you blog on certain topics that interest me, I am going to recognize you if you contact me.

  4. Blogging establishes communities. The vast majority of the blogs I read are professionally-oriented (i.e., digital security). I follow blogs of people handling the same sorts of problems I do. I often meet other bloggers at conferences and can easily speak with them, because I've followed their thoughts for months or years. Book authors share a similar trait, although books are a much less fluid medium.

  5. Blogging can contribute original knowledge faster than any other medium. Blogging is just about the easiest way to contribute knowledge to the global community that I can imagine. It costs nothing, requires only literacy, is easily searchable, and can encourage feedback when comments are supported.

Why do you blog? And if you don't, why not?

15 comments:

stretch said...

For the chicks, obviously.

Actually I started my site/blog as a way to get my name out there, which already has proven far more effective than I could have predicted. I like to think it provides a valuable complement to a traditional resume for potential employers (this may not be true, but I like to think it).

Red Pineapple said...

Great minds think alike!!!
Y do I blog? My main reason is to verbalize (organize) my thoughts!
I also think: "Blogging is like home cooked meals, while commercial sites are like restaurants."

Keydet89 said...

For me, blogging was a way to do bookmarking one step better. Rather than simply having a link to something, I could add context to that information, describing what led me to it (something from work, another link, a random thought, etc.), as well as other information.

Blogging allows one to build up in intelligence out of information.

I don't like to be dry, so self-expression is another factor, although for me, not a reason to blog, per se.

Of course, there is always the hope that someone will come along and add comments, suggest something, add their own thoughts and perspectives, etc.

netfortius said...

perfect points, Richard - I would even dare to expand this into an area I have found myself in dire need of, because of the pace at which we live our lives: twitting. So are (or aren't) you twitting?

LonerVamp said...

You hit pretty much the same reasons I blog as well.

I would flesh out the organization part with what keydet said: It also helps give me a place for notes for future reference. A bookmark here, a tool there, script snippets and how-tos. I find myself regularly referencing my own blog while at work. "Now, what was that tool and how did it work again?"

mish said...

Nobody has asked the obvious question, who was the author that you agreed with!? 10 bucks it's Neal Stephenson...if I was that dude, I'd really need a medium in which to organize my thoughts, due to the super-geniosity floating around.

Richard Bejtlich said...

I saw Andrew Bacevich on Bill Moyers' show.

Anonymous said...

I stopped blogging out of concern that my ideas and comments could be used against my by my company, despite not mentioning them, or anyone I work with. Specifically, my only "best time" to blog was during my lunch hour at work, or at the end of the day at work.

I tend to work 10-11 hrs with at least 1+hr commute. Leaves little time at home to blog.

How do you address that concern, and do you blog "during work hours"?

Matt said...

I started my blog because there weren't enough resources for sysadmins in small organizations, and too often we're expected to "just know" how to do things.

I feel like trying to create a place for people to share information is responsible in a world that seems to want to make information private and secret

John Ward said...

I blog for several reasons. Probably the biggest reason is that I believe in the sharing of information, and if I can help someone else not have to deal with the same hurdles I did to accomplish something, then I am happy. This is why I try not to blog on articles I have already read, and will usually just post a collection to those links, with an explanation of steps that I used. It also provides a great place to store steps, share with colleagues, answer newsgroup posts that get asked repeatedly so I can just link back, and provide a sort of notebook for myself.

The second reason was to get my name out in the field. This has worked out great, as it lead me to several presentations for conferences, and a book deal.

The third reason is for networking. I get a kick out of the people I meet through my blog, and the stories they tell. I've gotten good information, feedback on my articles, and great opportunities from just writing my blog.

There has been some negative sides to it as well. I have to be careful as to what I post, some of the stuff I do is key to projects, so I try not to post "trade secrets". I have also had to scale back on personal opinions and political stances. Despite that, blogging has been a positive experience for me.

Rocky DeStefano said...

I intended to use blogging as a journal of sorts, keeping my notes for the benefit of my company and whomever might care what I think about SOC/SIEM/etc.

I was really just looking for an outlet to make sure people didn't repeat mistakes that I could help them avoid and I didn't think I was talented enough to write a book.

Seemingly, my blog is helping quite a few organizations than the 2-3 I expected it to help. :)

Turns out to be a pretty fun activity (when I dedicate the time).

I probably spend more time twittering than blogging these days, but will get back into it as new ideas hit me.

-Rocky

Mikazo said...

Whenever I have a technology-related problem and have to Google a whole bunch of pages to solve it, I document it on my blog so that others might only have to Google once, instead of going through what I went through.

Offshore Software Development India said...

I was not into the blogging initially, but these days m very much into it.
I like to blog for one of the same reason given above, for information.
One can get and collect loads of information about any damn particular topic.

Security Application said...

I like to blog because this is the one way to interact with people.
I like to share things n also love to know what people think about so and so topic, thats y i started blogging.

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