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Why Blog? October 26, 2009

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Random Musings.
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In a recent article, Andrew Keen opined that CIOs have no business blogging.  His intentionally provocative piece was in response to an opposing view by John Suffolk, who is both a blogger and the UK government CIO.  I’ll presume that Mr. Keen was doing a bit of trolling and forgive him his somewhat grating approach, but he has touched on a question I get asked fairly frequently: “Why do you blog?”

The glib response, of course, is “why not?”  But now that this blog is approaching it’s second birthday, it’s worth a moment of reflection to understand why there might be value in executive (and not just CIO) blogging.

I started blogging as an attempt to informally share my thoughts on IT leadership.  I believe that teaching is an important aspect of leadership.  Rather than subject my team to periodic lectures on effective IT strategy and management, I began capturing my thoughts as blog entries.  Those on my team that were interested could read them; those who were not could ignore them.  While I do get occasional feedback from coworkers, I have no idea as to who reads this blog, or how often. That’s OK with me; if even one person finds value, then the exercise is worth it.

I also thought it was important to experience the technology first-hand.  Since I believe that CIOs should test and evaluate things, I wanted to see what it would be like to produce a blog on a regular basis.  Given the constant discussions of the value (or lack thereof) of social media technology in a corporate environment, having direct exposure makes me a more informed participant in the conversation.

In the course of writing, however, I discovered that there are many other side benefits to blogging:

  • You meet all sorts of interesting people. This is a huge, unexpected, pleasant occurrence. Many people have taken the time to either comment or email me about something I wrote and always teach me something new.
  • It can be clarifying. It really helps to write things down.  Many of my blog postings have allowed me to explore things in unexpected ways and given me insight into issues that I am dealing with.  I’ve found that writing enhances thinking; the opposite is not always the case.
  • It makes you a better writer. Writing is like public speaking: the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You also become very appreciative of those who write well.  Dashing off 500 words is not easy.  Dashing them off on a regular basis can be daunting, but the discipline required to do it builds character.

In the end, perhaps the best reason for blogging is that I enjoy doing it.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and I certainly love my job.  Combining the two seems like a natural fit.  It isn’t for everyone, of course; there seem to be fewer than two dozen blogging CIOs in the world.  That said, if you are at all inclined to write, I suggest you give blogging a try, regardless of your position in the world.  Mr. Keen’s opinions aside, anyone who has something to share should share it.

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Comments»

1. Tom Catalini - October 26, 2009

I disagree with Mr. Keen’s premise that good writing and good CIO skills are mutually exclusive, though as you pointed out there are in fact very few CIO blogs out there. I applaud your efforts and plan to join the ranks myself soon, motivated by similar reasons and seeking many of the benefits you cite.

2. Dave Martinez - October 26, 2009

Chuck,

Great post on why you blog and the benefits that you see for blogging as a business leader. I would like to point out another benefit that you may have missed: teaching others, who without your blog would not have access to your opinions and insights. You mention that one of your reasons for blogging is to share your leadership thoughts with your team. However, you inadvertently are assisting your fellow CIOs across the nation. As a sales partner I have used the information that you provide to better understand the roll of the CIO and have had much better conversations with my CIOs and CTOs. Knowing what motivates and drives my CIOs, from a global perspective and not just my individual perspective, helps me create business plans and propositions that are better able to deliver more on their needs and less on mine.

3. Susan Mazza - October 26, 2009

I too applaud your efforts and willingness to be on the leading edge here. It says a lot about you and your leadership. Your writing is excellent and I very much appreciate the insight you provide into the world of a CIO and as a leader.

Congratulations on making it to the two year mark! I for one am very happy you decided to blog for all of the reasons above and most of all because that is how I have had the good fortune to get to know you!

4. Raj Menon - October 26, 2009

Chuck – Its a good feeling to know I am not the only one asking that question – every time I click refresh hoping to see more comments, every time I am unable to free my mind from the never ending to-do lists and write the next post, every time I feel there is no one I know who shares my passion to write. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. Glad to know I am not alone. Gives me the motivation to keep going.

Congrats on your 2 years of blogging.

5. Lynn M - October 27, 2009

Congratulations! I’ll keep it simple. I love your blog and I agree with your reasons. I’m not even in an IT job.

6. brewerma - October 27, 2009

Enjoying to do it is a good enough reason. Plus all the other good reasons you state. I think that it is good to put your ideas out there and have the conversation with those who stop by. Both parties can learn something. Thanks for doing this.


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