Thursday, June 03, 2004

Why I Blog

I suspect that everyone who sets up a blog must at some point write this post. Most of the blogs I read regularly, whether they are written by friends or just people that I find interesting, are written by people that in some form or another are writers by profession or at least inclination. They're journalists, essayists, novelists, comic book writers, teachers, political writers, etc. That certainly does not describe me. I've never felt "compelled to write" and I don't have a novel inside me somewhere screaming to get out - I've tried writing fiction, I guess because I felt like I should, but it has been painful and gone nowhere.

After some reflection I think it comes down to two things, both having to do with my real work - what I do and where I do it. On the one hand, I probably spend more time in a day writing that Lex or PC or most of the bloggers I read. I spend most of the day writing e-mails and creating presentations, usually with one ear to the phone and 4 or 5 instant messenger windows open. So I write constantly. I am the Emperor of the Executive Summary, the Prince of PowerPoint, the Baron of Bulleted lists. But rarely do I have the occasion to actually write something more narrative or conversational or personal. It's all pretty cold and sterile and, well, business-y. The blog gives me an opportunity to be more expansive, to write something that has some feeling, something that doesn't have implications for my company or my customer or the peeps that work for me.

The other thing that came to mind is that as a telecommuter, there is a certain interaction with co-workers that I miss out on. I am absolutely blessed with the opportunity to work from my home and I treasure it and know that it could end tomorrow. Even better is the fact that JennySlash works from home as well, and we're able to eat lunch together and talk during the day over coffee (although you'd be amazed at how often she has to resort to MS Messenger to get my attention). But I do at times miss having the opportunity to have a face-to-face chat with coworkers. IM sort of takes the place of the coffee pot conversations. Quick, fleeting, a "how was your weekend?" or a "whatcha doing this weekend?" - IM is pretty good for that. What is missing is the conversation over lunch down at the company cafeteria or over a Golden Corral lunch buffet, where you can actually talk about something and have a real conversation. I'm finding that both blogging and commenting on other blogs is starting to replace that necessary interaction.

So I'm actually a little surprised at how much of my blogging has consisted of metablogging or quoting newspaper articles that I think are interesting - I suspect that's just a matter still of getting my feet wet, coupled with the fact that it takes a lot of damn time to actually write something substantive!

By the way, I firmly believe the advent of instant messaging technology has done more good for remote management of people and for managing business than anything since the telephone. For me, it frankly has come close to replacing the telephone. In the least, I can ping someone to ensure that they are there and not on the phone before I call, ensuring that the phone is answered (beats the HELL out of trading voice mails all day). Better yet, I can get amazing amounts of people management done via IM while I sit on interminable audioconference calls - it's pretty damned astounding.

Anyway, if you're reading, I appreciate it - it's all part of the conversation that I've been missing. If you feel like commenting, even better (and thanks to those of you that have done so over the last couple of months!). I probably owe you lunch at Golden Corral!

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