Eight years ago on this day in 2003, I started Blogging.
Here's some basic info about what has transpired in eight years here at the Six Pixels of Separation Blog: over 2700 Blog entries, over 20,000 comments and over 270 audio Podcasts. If you have read or listened to only one percent of all of that content, you'll know that both acknowledging this milestone or speaking about the numbers (how big/how many) is not my style. But, when I woke up this morning and saw the date notification in my Outlook, it gave me pause. It wasn't a sense of pride or accomplishment, either. The only question that continually popped into my brain was: was all of this Blogging worth it? And, the answer is obvious: yes.
Yes it is.
Starting this Blog was (and still is) without the question the single most important thing I have done in my professional life. It has changed me. It has changed the way I learn and grow and it has changed how I think about the world (and business and marketing and media and beyond). In spending some serious time soaking in this anniversary, I listed out why Blogging was (and still is) the smartest thing I have ever done.
8 Reasons Why Blogging Still Rules:
- It's slow. I'm in no rush. Most brand are. They think that Social Media is cheap, fast and easy. Blogging has taught me that nothing could be further from the truth. In 2008, I wrote a Blog post called, In Praise Of Slow, that evolved into a much longer and important piece of my first business book, Six Pixels of Separation and the idea still rings true. Blogging has taught me the merits of building true relationships between an audience and content... and that takes time. Lots of time and effort. As fast and simple as it is to publish content with a Blog, success with a Blog as an engine of Marketing is a slow process. And, like a great cup of tea, the process is worth it if you have the intestinal fortitude to see it through.
- Critical thinking. People like to think that Blogging is about the discourse (the comments, trackbacks, links, likes and tweets). While this makes up an important piece of the Blogging puzzle, the main reason I Blog is to publicly think about New Media and my media hacking ways. To be blunt: it's a selfish act. The only part that isn't selfish is that I publish it for the world to see, comment on and criticize. But (to be blunt again), that is selfish too, because everything that everyone tacks on to my Blog posts make me think more (and even rethink my initial positions). The simple act of Blogging forces me to think in a more critical way and to get that thinking down in writing. The writing part is (obviously) the hardest part of critical thinking. Putting your thoughts into words is not easy.
- The people you meet. People often talk about stepping away from the computer to enjoy the conversation and meeting of people in the real world (more on that here: The Real World). My Blog has allowed me to not only meet, but become very close friends with people I would have never met otherwise. When I was a kid, I often wished that someone at my school liked comics or martial arts as much as I did. Now, we take for granted how easy it is to meet and connect with fellow, like-minded individuals. I don't take our connectivity for granted. Ever. Blogging has allowed me to meet and connect with people by removing the challenge of geography. While I don't often get to press the flesh with certain individuals often enough, I enjoy waking up and hanging out online with friends like Seth Godin, Amber Naslund, Julien Smith, Hugh McGuire, Liz Strauss, Christopher S. Penn, Mark W. Schaefer, Hugh McGuire, Tamar Weinberg, C.C. Chapman, Arjun Basu, Joseph Jaffe, Tom Peters, Jeff Jarvis, Jay Rosen and countless other (just look at my Blogroll on the left for more or who I follow on Twitter or Facebook:) I have coffee with all of these people each and every morning - whether they know it or not.
- Writing (and reading) as art. This concept was really driven home to me after reading the book, Linchpin, by Seth Godin. Some people paint, some people scrapbook and others twiddle on a guitar in their basements. I write about business, marketing and media hacking. That is my art. For years, I thought it would sound either pretentious or ridiculous to say that writing about business is an art form. Well, this is my art. Take it or leave it.
- Personal branding. Really, it's about reputation. It's easy to say something. It's easy to do something. It's hard to build a real reputation that is based on who you truly are for the world to see. This Blog is as real as it gets. It has been a tool, platform and space for me to demonstrate how I think. I believe the results are reflected in how Twist Image (my marketing agency that I own with my three other business partners) has grown over the years. I also believe that there is no better resume than this Blog to define me. I wish more people understood the power of having a living and breathing ongoing publishing platform that allows you to demonstrate how you think, that anyone can access from anywhere.
- My place to go. I'm hooked on Arianna Huffington's line: "Self expression is the new entertainment." People often ask, "when do you find the time to Blog?" All I can think to myself is, "when do you find the time to watch half of the television shows and movies that you've watched?" By definition, I'm much more interested in active media than passive media. So, while you're relaxing and watching a sitcom, I'm relaxing and writing a Blog post. This is my place to go. My Blog is my treehouse. This is where I go for fun.
- It keeps me regular. I made a commitment to publish six pieces of text-based content and one audio piece each and every week. You can use all the Metamucil you want, my Blog keeps me regular. Knowing that I am committed to creating and publishing this amount of content makes my ears perk up. It keeps me open to uncover new and interesting topics to discuss. The regularity and consistency of the Blog has forced me to keep that "nose for news" that I first developed when I started off in professional journalism during my late teens.
- It connects me to you. Think about life before Blogging. You would be waiting for a new book to come out or for a published piece in a newspaper of magazine. No more. Blogging connects me to you. You don't need to read it every day and you don't even need to leave a comment, and yet it still connects us (some more than others). I Blog in the hopes my thoughts resonate. I Blog in the hopes that it creates a level of discourse. I Blog because I'm tired of "top 10 reasons"-types of Blog posts. I Blog in an attempt to raise the bar. I Blog because it connects me to people like you... the exact kind of people I have been waiting my whole life to meet.
Why do you Blog? Better yet, why don't you Blog?