21/09/11

By @elusa, Social Computing Evangelist, IBM

Over the course of the years Hugh MacLeod has always been posting some of the most amazing content available out there on the Internet Blogosphere on various different topics, specially, related to Social Networking. One of the articles that I have enjoyed the most though was one he shared just recently, a couple of weeks back, under the title ““Reclaim Blogging”: Why I’m giving up Twitter and Facebook“, where he is stating, out loud, and very clearly, the main single use case of why blogging still has got a place within today’s Social Web: Your voice... Your blog *still* is your main personal branding tool!

Interestingly enough, plenty of people have been questioning whether, now that we have got Google Plus as well, it makes sense to dump your own blog in favour of your social activities in the various social networking sites. And Plus being the latest one joining the already existing crowded club. A few prominent bloggers have jumped the shark and eventually dumped their blogs and moved the conversations, and further insights, into G+. And a few people have been asking me for a little while now, on whether I’m ready to do that myself and move over to Plus as well … or not. Well, the answer, right now, as we stand, is No.

Yes, it’s true that I have dumped a good number of social software tools out there on the Social Web in favour of G+ itself, or, at least, thanks to it I have reduced my involvement with those social tools quite a bit. But there are two of them that I am not ready, just yet, to kiss good-bye and move them into SNS.

One of them is my Flickr account and the other one, of course, is my blog. And Hugh explains it very very well how I, too, feel about it overall on why I still think there is a place and a time for blogging out there on the Internet, as well as the Intranet, by the way. Here are a couple of noteworthy quotes from his blog entry I thought were worth while sharing across:

“The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important.” [Emphasis mine]

Which he then develops beautifully with this other noteworthy quote:

“And as I’ve said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else’s resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly” [Emphasis mine, once again]

And I couldn’t have agreed more with that couple of rather inspiring and thought-provoking quotes. Blogging, indeed, does require a lot of hard work, lot of energy and effort about being constant, authentic (i.e. The real you!), honest, insightful, willing to learn and share plenty more, etc. etc. However, the returns have always been tremendously powerful. Blogging is your own personal voice (Whether internal or external), your own opinions on those subject matters that you are truly passionate about, your own real self. The individual that the world would need to figure out whether you are worth while reading or not depending on the nature and the insights of the stuff you share across. Blogging, in short, is your own personal branding tool. Your digital footprint out there. Your digital eminence in a place where your voice is heard loud and clear and where you call the shots on owning the conversation initially, inspiring others to improve your own thoughts and ideas over time, making it a tremendously empowering learning experience. Call it your own essential personal Knowledge Management / Sharing System, if you wish…

Very soon, in just a couple of months time, my blogging experience will make 8 years and, as you may have noticed, it’s still going rather strong, with the exception, of course, of those hiatus that I seem to embark on every now and then, specially, when I am travelling. Yet, I still feel as if it were my first few weeks of blogging. The excitement is there, the energy, the effort and the willingness to start a conversation and invite others to chime in, as they may see fit, are all still there, just like back in the day, because, a long time ago I realised that my blog, more than anything else, became my online business card, my dynamic and ever-growing curriculum vitae, my own virtual community of folks who care and are truly passionate about the same stuff as me. And that’s just priceless!

But if there would be a single reason as to why I still think blogging is worth while doing big time, picking further up from Hugh’s rather enlightening blog entry, is the fact of how of those last 8 years of blogging, my blog has managed to provide me with some pretty unique opportunities, both in a personal and work levels, including the last three of my own jobs, while at IBM, one of them being my dream job where next month will mark my 4th anniversary there!

That’s just one of the many many reasons out there why I, too, wanted to take this opportunity to remind people, like Hugh himself did on that article , “on why we all got into blogging in the first place, all of those years ago…” Perhaps it’s a good time now to remind folks about it and, just in case you may be new to blogging and would wonder how you could get things going to help you start finding your own blogging voice and blogging style, allow me to recommend the one single resource that has taught me over the years a whole bunch of hints and tips, tricks, good practices, and blogging techniques: Darren Rowse , the one and only, ProBlogger. It’s probably as good as it gets to help you get off to a really good start in building further up your own personal brand and digital presence out there on the Social Web.

Oh, and if you are in Google Plus, allow me to point you as well to this thread by Darren himself under the heading Traits of Successful Bloggers where he has shared plenty of insights and various different links to 12 different characteristics of (successful) bloggers:

1.Playfulness and Creativity
2.Innovation
3.Connectors
4.Community Builders
5.Information Mavens
6.Communicators
7.Interest
8.Entrepreneurial Spirit
9.Originality
10.Perseverance
11.Focus
12.Curiosity

Now, on to the final reflection that I am sure most of you folks out there are thinking about already… With this blog post on reclaiming blogging am I implying that I’m about to leave the various social networking sites where I used to hang out at? Well, I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m ready, just yet, to dump it all, just like Hugh himself.
What I can tell you though, and share across happily, is how both this blog and Google Plus itself have allowed me to become thicker, instead of spreading thinner over and over, at my social interactions to the point where it looks like I may have reduced my online social activities out there on the Social Web to these magic three: my blog (with my Flickr pictures I keep embedding here and there…), my one single Twitter account over at @elusa (I’m in the process of deleting all other alter egos, so feel free to connect with that account or add it to a Twitter List near you) and Google Plus itself. And so far it looks like I’m enjoying it quite a bit. How about you? Does blogging still play a key part in your social interactions? If so, please do let me know! Would love to add you into my daily blogroll … Yes, I do still have one and maintain it as well on a regular basis!

This article originally appeared on Luis’ blog, Elsua.net

You can follow Luis on Twitter @elusa

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