Lee's 'Better Communication Results' blog

A blog to help YOU communicate better for better business results!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Blogging: an heretical question


Something's been tugging on my coat sleeves this past few days and as much as I try to ignore the intrusion, it just won't go away.

It all started with a few comments on the IABC Cafe about blogging and comments and visitors and lurkers and re-invention and ethics and issues an' stuff.

Then today one of my clients asked me this:

What if the novelty of blogging wears off in seven months? How much would it have cost us?

The question was equally one of fiscal as it was of opportunity cost.

We all know that blogging can take up time: time to consider a piece of information just received, time to consider one's viewpoint, time to put that viewpoint down in some sort of coherent form.

It is recognised—but I don't have the facts to hand, sorry—that whilst the growth in the number of blogs is trending steeply upward, there is a percentage (low/medium/high?) of blogs that start with a flourish and die a quiet death, due to lack of posting by the owner.

Now, this could be for any number of reasons, but perhaps simply a lack of ROI (intrinsic and/or extrinsic) drove the blog into extinction as other more 'interesting and less time consuming' pastimes turned up.

So here I am, faced with no answer to my client's question. Blogging is still relatively new—how do we know that new internal company bloggers (who have been given the opportunity to blog for all the right Knowledge Management reasons) won't decide, after a little while, that the effort outweighs the novelty or that they've run out of things to say?

Does blogging risk running the same race as other 'key' management 'must haves' like any number of initiatives we could name over the last two decades?

Seeing as how my own list of influential bloggers ('sneezers' as Seth would say) come from a tight circle (we kind of all read each others blogs and those of some A-listers) are we just spinning our own wheels?

For a long time today I was disheartened.

Then, via circuitous route (I looked at who was subscribed to my blog at bloglines, then looked at the blogroll of one of them and found an interestingly-named blog in a subject area dear to me) I came across a fantastic blog that just lifted my heart and made me fall in love with blogging all over again.

This is the reason why blogging works: not because we all rehash each other's editorials, but because every now and then we find someone saying something that touches us deeply, in a well thought-out, quiet, introspective manner. Not shouting from the rooftops, but whispering quietly in a chapel.

And the power of blogging struck me again—blogging is Everyman's chance to publish something of value to another human being somewhere in the world. Not just inane crap or rehashed news, but insight, wisdom and quiet passion based on quiet reflection.

Whether that works for organizations is a different question, to which I have no answer other than "I think so..."