In praise of blogging

Once upon a time, published content was the preserve of journalists or academics. Paid writers.

Not anymore.

There are something like 60m WordPress blogs out there. People blogging away, putting their thoughts out into the world. All for free.

I started blogging a couple of years ago. My early posts were very well received by my mother. Over time, my blogging has developed, and developed me. The process has made me more creative. Made me think harder. More reflective. But before I started my own blog, I was reading those written by others. And there are some amazing bloggers out there, writing about the people stuff. This particular blog post was prompted by a 24 hour period where I read three fantastic blog posts. All very different, but each making me stop and think in their own way.

Blogs are a rich stream of learning. I read them everywhere. On the train, in the bath, walking from one meeting to the next. Ideas, challenges, learning. Straight to the device in my pocket.

How awesome is that?

I go to plenty of events and conferences. I read as many books as I have time for. I listen to speakers. And I will say simply this. A lot of what I read in the free and accessible HR blogging world is better than paid for content.

There are the blogs that I learn from, like the ones written by Kate Griffiths-Lambe and FlipChartRick.

There are the bloggers that challenge me to think, even if I don’t always agree with everything that they say, like the ones from Barry Flack.

There are the bloggers that are brilliant at events, as they capture it all and get it out to you in the moment, like Ian Pettigrew and Helen Amery.

There are the bloggers that take me say ooooh, like Simon Heath, Perry Timms and Neil Usher.

There are the bloggers that post about things that aren’t my main field of people stuff, so have become my more knowledgable others in that space, like Sukh Pabial, David Goddin or Jon Bartlett.

There are the ones that are beautifully written, like those by Julie Drybrough and Megan Peppin.

There are the sometimes irreverent and funny ones, like those by David D’Souza.

There are the blogs that I look forward to landing in my inbox, like the fantastic annual advent series by Alison Chisnell.

There are the posts from the global HR community like those from Steve Brown, Richard Westney, Christopher DeMers that tell me how our challenges are shared, everywhere.

There are the ponderful, personal posts.

A global community of bloggers, sharing generously. There is power in this stuff.

The one thing that bothers me about HR blogging?

It’s a small world. Not enough HR folk are seeing it, benefiting from it. Finding the learning. It has much to offer, but is not yet delivering. There are ideas here, opportunities here, but unless we help get them out to the mainstream, the every day HR professional sat in their office wondering how to tackle the stuff on their desk, we will never realise the potential of social HR, and blogging in particular.

So I’d like to pose (or maybe post) a question to my blogging, social HR colleagues, writing about people stuff. What can we do about it? How do we make this stuff real, useful, accessible?

16 thoughts on “In praise of blogging

  1. Thanks for the mention here. Genuinely appreciate that. I blog infrequently as the “vibe” takes me. It is becoming my way of making sense amongst social noise.

    I look for much of the same you look for and I react much in the way you do.

    My “Soundbite city” blog called to much of the great things about social postings and the great research in some. And not in others but if they don’t make a claim to be researched pieces then no worries.

    What is evident is that everyone has views and opinions and so the motives for posting intrigue me.

    Is it about me and what I think or is it about things many of us think and may need to know about?

    We take what we find and we allow others to find for us and we do with the content as we see fit.

    I know my professional and personal intellect, insight and inspiration comes from much of what others post and share.

    Sure there is guff. Sure there is dismissable prose and there is provocative, stretching challenge.

    I will continue to consume how I like, post when I like and hopefully have the impact that I anticipated when I posted.

    Others…well I see it that we are all experiencing useful things from others via this blogging thing and I encourage others to consume, share and generate as they see fit. I blogged on Tumblr “it’s your heart blog about what you like” and I stand by that.

    You could become a noise contributor, a pompous prophet in the wilderness or a creator of better thoughts and actions.

    The “market” will decide. I’m not bothered by airplay statistics. I LARGELY blog for me, and to make something useful for others as a product of that musing and crafting.

    Blog posts may start a revolution. They may send academics rushing for their longitudinal studies, or may comfort a lost soul. Whatever they do, they are increasingly our way of sense-making.

    The soapbox is dead. Long live the blog.

    Great post Gemma.

  2. Thanks Gem – most flattered! As bloggers I don’t think we”re ever quite sure how others see our (blog) writing. In part I think that may be a solution to your challenge…

    I have an aversion to the word “repurpose”… but with the intent of supporting a bigger audience there is something in taking our blog post themes and structuring them appropriately for the more traditional journals etc. In effect, take our writing & thinking to that broader audience. I suspect lots of bloggers don’t take their blog writing further as they don’t know what value they have or how others see their writing.

    When do we encourage or facilitate fellow bloggers (or ourselves) to do this? Why don’t we?

    • Thanks for the comment David. I wonder if bloggers know how to take their writing out to a broader audience? Some of us are lucky enough to be able to do that through magazines. I write for the HRD Mag from time to time, but I will confess my content there is more measured (or should I say less ranty) as I try and tone it for the publication. Perhaps I shouldn’t?
      I also wonder whether the more traditional journals etc would welcome the ‘amateur’ blogger.
      As usual, I have just created more questions that answers…..

  3. Thanks Gemma for including me in this blog of bloggers, and with Julie too! Thank you.

    I had a chuckle when I read this, as my mum commented on my first blog, and occasionally emails me to agree/disagree/correct me. I wonder too how to engage others, and I’m on a one person, one conversation, one link via email to tempt them in. But sometimes, I feel that the door is firmly shut.

    • Hi Meg, she doesn’t really read them to be honest, but she does like it when I am in the HRD Magazine. A copy goes to work, to Tesco, and to the hairdressers.

      I’m with you on the one person at a time thing, and try to take every opportunity I can to share with other HR folks that I meet. Most of my session at the CIPD NAP was based around that. It’s going to take a long time at this rate though!

  4. Great post, I’m looking forward to checking out these blogs. It’s a struggle to get the word out with so many other blogs. I understand why as I have an entire folder of blogs I want/intend to read.

  5. While I don’t blog on HR, I do read most of the blogs you mention and from time to time share them with my non-social using colleagues. Sharing my HR blog post love 🙂

  6. An interesting question Gem. Honestly part of the challenge I think is when we are in discussions at work about problems, needs, etc., we sometimes preface solutions by coaching it as the HR answer, and in so doing turn some clients off. I prefer a principled approach: what’s the principal here, how does it matter, and what can we do about it? Offering ideas as business solutions can make them more acceptable so they can then be weighted and debated with all the potential courses of action. Its not just HR anymore.

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  8. Hi Gem, as a follower of your blog, I came about following you and your blog through mentions, tweets and retweets. I think it’s getting there, trickling down, out and across, slowly but surely. You mentioning others in this post for instance affords me the opportunity to hear about them.

    Thanks for sharing.

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