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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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