Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 5, 200810:38 PM

The Real Work Has Yet To Begin

Everyday, there are more and more Blog posts where people are saying that they don't have time to Blog or Podcast as much as they used to because the are busy with "real work." This raises the question: was your first stab at Blogging and Podcasting just a ruse to get real work and now that you have built up a community and your business, you have the right to cut back?

That is totally unfair.

Does "real work" really mean, "being paid"?

From a personal perspective, I have not cut back on the Blogging and Podcasting, and our agency, Twist Image, has more than doubled in the past little while, we opened up a second office, I even managed to write the book, Six Pixels of Separation, and start a business column for the Montreal Gazette and the Vancouver Sun newspapers. I state this not to get accolades or a pat on the back (or demonstrate how big of a workaholic I am), I state this because it was a very conscious decision. None of that agency growth (including the book deal and speaking events) would have been possible without you and the community that we have created here. Who am I to turn my back on the exact group of people who helped me achieve these many amazing things because now I'm too busy with "real work"? It's hard to convince clients of the power of these digital channels if you're not a living and breathing example of their effectiveness.

Blogging, Podcasting and staying up to date on Twitter, Facebook and more is real work. It's this kind of real work that affords me the luxury to acquire new clients, build interesting Digital Marketing and Communications initiatives, speak all over the world and think ever-more deeply about this space. 

When people complain about not having time to Blog anymore, it becomes reminiscent of the old saying, "people make time for the things that are important to them." So, in the end, what is really important to you? Was the Blog and Podcast just a platform to get more business and opportunity, and once you got what you needed, who cares about the community that was there?

That's just sad.

Blogging and Podcasting used to be a much more personal channel. You could do what you wanted and didn't have to answer to anyone. You had RSS to let people know when you had the itch to publish content, and being counter-culture by publishing whenever the mood struck was par for the course. Now, we're building communities, and communities can't be built by one person doing things whenever the inspiration hits. Communities are built through contribution and collaboration in an environment where everyone has a vested interest in the outcome. It's a place where many voices are heard and people gather out of mutual interest and communication. It's place where people meet, converge, connect, share and grow.

Blogging and Podcasting is real work... and it's hard work.

How do you feel about those who are no longer Blogging (or have slowed down) because they're busy with other stuff? Do you feel cheated?

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Chris Ritke
    Mitch Joel

    I agree that podcasting (video & audio) is tough. I've done enough of it to know. But is it real work? Not so sure. I had loads of fun. Met the coolest people. Learned a ton of stuff. Didn't seem like work for me. I did end up quitting both. Not really sure why - but that's a different story. Now I'm text blogging again. And I've made a point of writing about stuff that interests me. No, not about my dog. About stuff I encounter while I'm working. My extended thoughts on other people's posts. And it's fun. Invigorating. I try to post about every 2 work days. But I have a pipeline of posts that I write when I feel like it. And it seems there's always enough. It's not work. How about that. I think I'm going to write a blog post about this right now (instead of watching a movie on hulu)

    Reply
  • Posted by Paul Isakson
    Mitch Joel

    I can only half-agree with you on this one, Mitch.

    Your statement assumes that everyone who writes a blog does so to either "get real work" or to "create a community." That's simply not true.

    If one's goal is to attract clients or create a community, then you are exactly right and I agree with you that it is a sad excuse. But again, that's not why everyone does these things.

    (Sorry, I'm a planner. I have to repeat things. Ha.)

    Reply
  • Posted by John Ashton
    Mitch Joel

    Personally, I think you're right. Well, at least for the job you do and for the level at which you work. Firstly, you're a journalist. Writing is part of your work and if nothing else, a blog gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your craft. Secondly, being in the social networking and marketing industry, your blog is a practical example of how blogging can help a company to grow and thrive. Also, it gives you the right to write about blogging, podcasting and other web based social networking. You have a ready made topic.
    For the rest of us, particularly those starting right at the bottom with an audience of nil, keeping going is not quite so straightforward.

    Reply
  • I can't agree with you more. I spend probably less than half my time on billable work. The rest is spent blogging, FB, Twitter, my newspaper column, speaking to folks, meeting new people, etc etc. It's all part of the job.

    Reply
  • To riff on what has been added here:

    Anything that takes a lot of time and effort to do is hard work - even if you find it fun and entertaining. Everything comes to a point, where the fun shifts into maintenance.

    @Paul - I did not assume that. I was speaking about those who have done that. If you're Blogging just to Blog, then fine, but this post was about those who have built on their community, then stepped away because they are now too busy with paid gigs that the Blog brought.

    @John - I'm not a Journalist. I own a Digital Marketing agency, but I get your point and, again, this Blog posting wasn't about the entire Blogosphere it was a about a certain segment of it.

    Reply
  • Posted by Michelle Kostya
    Mitch Joel

    I think what you say goes for people who write - as you do - from the agency side, and for people who write Career blogs. At times like this - you never know when you just might need your blog to help you stand out from the crowd. Which is why I continue to do so!

    I find many of the blogs I have read in the past have been replaced by the blogger twittering more. While I enjoy Twitter - blogs I can do on my own time. Twitter is live which means I miss a lot of what people say!

    Reply
  • Posted by Mark Dykeman
    Mitch Joel

    I dunno, I can see it many different ways. However, if this community that you built is instrumental in making you successful, then I think you owe them a great deal.

    I'd be disappointed if someone who organized a community that I loved just let the thing die, but if they had a succession plan I'm sure I could deal with that.

    Reply
  • Posted by Matt Searles
    Mitch Joel

    Well I think so many people think of social media as a tool set for promotion.. and once you get to a place where your success has fed the hunger of your drive.. you now have a new equilibrium.. Or something basically like that.

    The thing is.. and I guess this is what I've always thought.. from those earlier podcasting days.. ( was it really that long ago? ) is that the metric of success of a life.. ought not to be purely one of externalities of.. material well being, status, and all that.. That really, we are whole people.. with whole people needs.. and that what social media is REALLY about is that wholeness.

    In Jungian psychology, which I feel can provide insights to social media that might just blow your mind, there is the subject of psychological types. In the world of psychology types.. people tend to be more orientated to ether the external or internal world: extroversion or introversion. And its the extrovert type type / part of us that tends to look toward the external metrics: It favors the objective over the subjective.

    We live in a society that tends to be prejudiced in favor of extroversion: Parents get afraid when there kids play too many computer games less they become, horror of horrors, "too introverted."

    And of course if you follow someone like David Weinberger.. you might be aware of a systemic shift.. where definitions of what knowledge is are shifting.. so that now we are starting to see a shift toward the value of "subjective truth."

    So we have all grown up, at least in the west, in this extroverted world.. so that the value systems which have a lot to do with what parts of our total potential get to be cultivated into our mature selves... and now.. we find our selves in a world where that part of our selves that didn't get the cultivation, is what is needed... And that, it seems to me.. is what's really at the heart of our "disruption."

    I think of this often in relationship to issues of business. Business is an amplification of natural human processes, after all.. and yet... if you are not focuses on external metrics and ROI and all of that stuff.. you are surely engaged in a worst practice, aren't you?

    And of course when we look at branding, and brand experience.. we know about that which is difficult to quantify.. and in this world of an ever accelerating rate of change.. how far does our ability to quantify lag behind intuition?

    All of this speaks to what of our total potential we are cultivating.. what we are valuing, and all seems, to me at least, to the lye at center of why some people fade in there social media adventures when they get there "real work."

    As I reread what I've written.. I don't mean to give the impression that I'm anti external metrics.. but I guess I do have a soft spot for someone like C.C. Chapman whom... for his personal managing the grey, and what not.. apparently doesn't even bother with the metrics and analytics.

    We need equilibrium I think.. and I guess I just think there's a subtle shift going on as to where the point of equilibrium is.

    Or that's my thoughts for the day.

    Oh.. and by the way.. it was very cool to hear you mentioned on the most recent This Week in Media..

    Reply
  • Posted by Paul Isakson
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks for the clarification, Mitch.

    I misinterpreted the opening text then.

    That being the case, we're no longer only half agreeing. I'm in 100% agreement.

    Reply
  • Posted by Connie Crosby
    Mitch Joel

    Even though I may not comment on each of your blog posts or podcast episodes, I do read and listen regularly and am truly inspired by how consistent and prolific you are, despite being (as we all are) so busy. Not so long ago I promised myself I would put more substantial content into my blogs, even if it meant fewer posts. The challenge is making sure I stay consistent and not let it dwindle. Your comments are a great wake-up call!

    Cheers,
    Connie

    Reply
  • I love it when people stop blogging and podcasting.

    More free space for me and my friends (like you) to gain mindshare!

    Reply
  • Posted by lynngg
    Mitch Joel

    Don't feel cheated. Relief, way to much nonsense blogging, way to much trying to impress, what happened to the "blog when and what" people. I don't care what someone is having for lunch and where, nor who they know or what they drive, talk on, listen on, watch on, wear on and on and on.

    Reply
  • My work as a programmer/application developer helps support my growing new media habit. Until I'm able to find a situation where they both converge, or I break out on my own.

    Reply
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