Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why Do This?

As I was wading through what seemed like endless emails following an all too brief vacation, I was both surprised and flattered to see one from Steve Levy, (50% blogmaster of a very interesting, entertaining and well-regarded blog that he and Maureen Sharib have produced for some years now called The Recruiting Edge.

Steve's email explained that he was going to be part of a panel at Kennedy Information's up coming recruiting conference and expo that takes place in Las Vegas on May 9 and 10 next month. Should be a fun time.

The panel which will feature a number of "A" list bloggers is going to be exploring a number of questions about blogging and to get some perspective they decided to reach out to a number of folks in the blogosphere and ask them "why."

Why I was on his "ask" list I would dare not ask for fear he would tell me, but to be honest it was very interesting exercise as I found myself thinking about blogging from perspectives that I had not really considered before.

I reproduce them here in case as a blogger or bloggee (if there is such a word) you might want to think about why we all invest our time in this evolving electronic experiment in free speech.

Here's what I sent back to Steve:

1. Why do I blog? At first I just thought it might be fun to try since I had not done anything like it before, although since I write an internal newsletter every day that goes to everyone in our company lots of staff members here felt I would find it a natural extension. I also felt it was another channel to communicate with our members and other professionals interested in various aspects of career management at the executive level.

Since we are an organization that has been preaching the value of building a personal and professional network based on members helping each other for the past 19 years, when blogging came along it seemed like another opportunity to try and help as well as learn from others in the field.

2. What do I prefer to blog about? For good or for ill, I have been running around in the career management, HR, and staffing worlds for more than 45 years. Worse, I have never been known to lack an opinion (although I certainly can’t express them with your clarity or humor). That said, I tend to blog on topics where most of us are still searching for answers (e.g. what is effective leadership really?) or on subjects about which I feel strongly (e.g. education, business and personal ethics). My readers are concerned about a variety of provocative topics (e.g. age discrimination, job security, and compensation.) I try to keep them up to date with what we’re learning from our vantage point. My favorite topics are those that have the potential to really help readers improve their professional lives – even if it’s a tip that just gets them home a half hour earlier or a little saner after a long meeting with their boss.

3. Where does the inspiration come from? Much of it comes from the 45+ years on both sides of the hiring desk and the observations and “learnings” that come from the mistakes we have all made along the way. Much of it also comes from our members. The issues I talk with them about both by phone and email cover the waterfront and often have to do with effective career management in a digital age.

4. Who do I blog for? I approach my blog the same way I approach the networking meetings that we have around the country and in Canada. The blog is a forum that is open to anyone, ExecuNet member or not. Our meetings have always been that way. All we ask is that people come in the spirit of sharing and helping others. The blog is the same as far as I am concerned, it is one of the reasons I like the idea of allowing people to comment and add their own thoughts. One of the factors that make groups such a powerful force in problem-solving is because people bring different sets of experiences to bear. Blogs can be another forum that enables meaningful connections to be made.

5. How has blogging impacted the business/brand, etc.? I honestly don’t know, probably not a lot, although we certainly have received some very nice comments and commentary from many in the blogosphere who feel it makes a contribution, so that is great for the ego. In terms of our business, ever since we started in 1988 the vast majority of our members have come to us by referral, and I’m pleased to say that is still the case, so while it may be that the blog has caused some people to become aware of us who weren’t before, usually they have talked to a current or former member or a search consultant by the time they get to us.

6. When do you find time to blog? Now there’s an issue! Often I don’t and by the time I come up for air, the issue that got me thinking about saying something I sometimes feel is “old news” so I pass. Where folks like you and others on your panel find the time I have no clue, but I stand in awe, that’s for sure. All that said, I usually try to find time at night or on the weekend. It is very hard for me to blog during the business day. I have to find time to put my thoughts together, and for me, that means some quiet time.

If you blog or read blogs, I would be interested to hear your "why do this."

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