It’s been such a busy month that my third anniversary of blogging, January 10, 2008, passed unnoticed. I completely forgot until now.
That is partly due to the attention that my blog’s move to a new home required, as well as the demands of work. And among the tasks involved in that move was the slow sorting-through and creation of categories for over 650 posts, the product of 36 months of blogging.
Among my archives I discovered several posts that reminded me why I continue to blog — some thoughts I’d like to share with you as I look back on three years.
Blogging of course is an effective marketing tool, one reason why many businesses and entrepreneurs are drawn to it, as my friend and fellow New Englander, Tammy Lenski, reminds readers today in asking an important question, “Is blogging a good mediation marketing strategy?“
Blogs are also tools for gathering and disseminating knowledge and information. In a post from June 2005, “Five reasons why ADR professionals should be blogging“, I argued that blogging may make you smarter:
Successful blogging requires research. So bloggers surf the web, cruising for news. We’re Internet blood-hounds, tracking down the elusive scent of stories that will pique the curiosity of our readers. That constant prowling alerts us to stories, trends, breaking news in our field—and even in fields that have nothing whatsoever to do with our blog’s focus, which, I would argue, makes us well-rounded individuals.
But blogging by nature is designed to connect not just ideas but people — for me blogging’s greatest appeal. As I wrote in November 2006, “Get the connection: building your network through blogs“:
Although I have made many contacts the old-fashioned way—through personal introductions, conference attendance, and committee work–nothing has connected me to the world around me faster or more dramatically than blogging has succeeded in doing.
Blogs bring people together like no conference or convention can. It allows for conversation in a multitude of ways.
Here’s one: Publish a post and instantly the whole world hears your message. But this is no one-way conversation–because most blogs permit reader comments, the world can talk back.
Here’s another: Another blogger reads your post. Intrigued by the viewpoint or links you shared, he or she riffs on what you’ve written and links back to you, amplifying the conversation. Suddenly your voice is joined by someone else’s. Other bloggers chime in and the chorus of voices grows.
Here’s another: Someone discovers your blog. One of your posts has sparked their imagination or triggered questions. They email you to tell you. Or they email you a link to an article they think you’d find interesting. Or they email you just to say hello.
With a little encouragement, these conversations can ultimately give rise to meaningful connections–to collegiality, to inspiration, to collaboration. These connections, as I have happily discovered, can produce discoveries, insights, and, most rewardingly, friendships.
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not a solitary activity. It is joyfully, boldly public.
You can shout into the canyon and hear your own voice echo back.
But wait and shout again, and you will hear other voices rise in greeting.
That, more than any other reason, is why blogging remains such an essential part of my professional life. It is the collegiality, the friendships that have sprung up across geographic distances. It is the pleasure of mutual discovery, of interests shared. It is the sparks struck and the ideas that ignite when viewpoints collide.
Here on the web, what matters most: Only connect.
Thanks to all of you for sharing some or all of those three years with me. I’m glad you were here.