Monday, November 15, 2010

Blogging benefits? Revisited from CDAA workshop 2010.

Back on the 19th April 2010 after speaking at the CDAA (Career Development Association of Australia) conference in Adelaide, and at the beginning of this blog's life I asked myself the following question:

"Why have I created this blog?" 

At my workshop and others, as well as in informal gatherings, there'd been a lot of discussion about whether blogging and other social media could in any way benefit CD practitioners. I understood benefit to mean "can it help us grow our profile and get more business?" Growing your business isn't a bad goal when you're a private practitioner. Or was it just going to be a timewaster?

If you're going to spend up to *2 hours per day or more on social media it needs to be worthwhile. This of course begs the question of one's definition of 'worthwhile' ;)

*I really didn't believe this figure when I first heard it, I thought I must have misheard, and they meant 2 hours per week: surely it couldn't take two hours per day could it? Yes, it probably will.

Dinosaur bead, a visual reminder not to be one
Not wanting to be a dinosaur, and with the expectation that our ppt's would be available for members to access after the conference, I jumped in - I figured that putting the ppt on a blog would be the least stressful option given that mine consisted mainly of pictures that needed explanation.

 - That's the rationale for the creation of the blog -

Of course, life doesn't do what you expect, and as I've discovered, neither do blogs.

What have I learnt?

That blogging is really good for the things I initially thought it would be (this was my list from 19th April)
  • clarifying thoughts
  • neatness in presentation
  • 'morning papers' as recommended by my mentor
  • thinking aloud to work through problems
  • self expression: finding out what I really think (at this moment)
It worked well for sharing the ppt. An added bonus was reminding myself why I wanted to work in a variety of settings rather than for one employer.

But the blog is valuable for all sorts of other things 

  • communicating with clients on themes that a number of them are working on
  • connecting with people outside my usual group - it's a whole new exciting world!
  • stretching myself by exploring different ways of writing (not many of which I post)
  • creativity - trying to make the posts more visually appealing by adding photos
  • clear thinking and articulation of ideas (an ongoing battle)
  • self confidence
  • a challenge
It hadn't occurred to me that I would still be posting reasonably regularly 6 months down the track. I'd tried sending out a monthly newsletter via my website, but I never managed even a measly one. NOT ONE after months of procrastination, so to be here after 6 months is a real achievement. I'm kind of pleased with myself.

From a professional perspective

Has it been worthwhile? Yes.

Can you earn an income from it? I'm still unsure about that, but it's not my primary motivation.

Will I continue? Yes, I hope so.

There are times when I'm not exactly sure what shape this bloggy creature is taking, and I'm reminded of the wonderful poem "Interview" by Sydney Carter (I suspect it'd break copyright to include the whole poem, so I'll only include the last verse).

Where are you going next?

Like you, I ask that question.
I can only travel with the music.
I am full
of curiosity.

But perhaps I could, for once in my life, live with the curiosity, go with the flow and not overload myself with trying to understand the medium?

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