2011 was the year of Jacob’s Ladder. At the start of the year I set a goal of climbing Jacob’s Ladder 5000 times. That goal was completed in early November. It defined me and set a very clear mandate for every day, every week and every month.
I also set a goal of a daily blog post. I was on pace for about 2 months and then fell away. One of the issues I struggle with is what I’m going to write. I get started and then can’t figure out what I want to achieve, what I want to say and then it all falls apart.
One post in particular brought me undone. It was a long and well thought out post about the future of real estate data. Unfortunately it took me days to research and even longer to put what I wanted to say into words. Instead of publishing I thought and worked on getting it right. In the end it was a post that achieved some kudos from some key players from the industry but it cost me about two weeks of posts.
During my recent uni studies my blog was used as a research tool. It was where I kept all my research notes so you’ll find articles about the hupomnemata, technologies of the self and the death of god. I loved it but once I finished my studies I started thinking that I needed to blog for Google juice and write what my audience wanted.
The problem with doing that is that often I don’t want to write for other people, I want to write for myself. I did that during my studies and it changed the direction of my honours thesis. It introduced me Jeremy Crampton (@jeremycrampton), who, through a pingback on a post about Foucault’s theories on power relationships, alerted me to his book and created in me a drive to analyse the dismissal of Heather Armstrong using Foucault’s theories as a tool kit. So without this blog I would have written a very different honours thesis and wouldn’t have experienced the joy of months of immersion in French philosophy.
What’s been valuable about this blog – and blogging generally – is that it’s been a place for me to get my thoughts in order. As Crampton put it so well,
Now the content of the post is unremarkable and not especially exciting, but the author remarks that this is a post designed to help him think through some issues. It’s not the content, it’s the process (emphasis mine).
So this blog is going to (continue to) be a public hupomnemata, a public place for me to record what I’ve learned and a way for me to take actively take care of the (my) self. It’s a place for me to record what I’ve learned from my daily experiences. Although some of what I learn will be about social media and digital strategy it will also include what I learn from personal experience, such as what I learned from leaning into the pain.
This strategy will have its costs. For a start it will be difficult for Google to work out what my website is about. Is it about social media, digital strategy or Michel Foucault? Google will find it hard, almost impossible to work out. It’s going to cost me traffic.
Then there’s the readers or subscribers. Those who subscribe to my blog wanting posts about digital strategy will be disappointed when they’re presented with articles (like this one) about Michel Foucault and the hupomnemata. If you could name the top blogging sins what I’m doing would be close to the top of the list.
But I’ve decided that having a space to remember and reflect is far more important than worrying about readers and traffic. If this blog becomes a window into my mind then so be it. If it helps me become a better thinker, even better.
And I’ll end this post without a clear conclusion. That’s because I wasn’t sure what it was that I wanted to do with it in the first place.
Photo credit: The Magnet Magazine