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Is Blogging for Everyone? December 1, 2006

Posted by Noelle Archambeau in Trends.

Before I make a confession to you, I have to begin with some background information. I love technology! I have a wireless network in my home, and I’ve ditched a traditional phone line for VoIP. I also have a BlackBerry and practically hyperventilate if I accidentally leave home without it.

Now for my confession: this is my first blog. Based on what I just told you, this may sound surprising. How come someone who self-proclaims to love technology hasn’t used one of the hottest technologies that’s out there today? I’ve asked myself the same question many times. Since it’s definitely not the technology that’s kept me away, the only conclusion I’ve come up with is that I’m hesitant to post my innermost thoughts and feelings for the whole world to see.

When I was growing up my innermost thoughts and feelings were written in a diary that was protected by a lock and key to make sure that no one would read it. Now, not only am I not locking my diary, but I’m also putting it out on the Internet where anyone who wants to can read it.

This brings me to the point of my blog. Is blogging for everyone or only for certain types or groups of people, and who are the people out there blogging? Is it people who like technology, and I’m just the exception? Or maybe it’s a generational thing. After all, the generation of people over 60 is dubbed the “silent generation” because they don’t like to share personal information. Does that carry over to blogging? Do you know anyone over 60 who blogs?

Millennials, people under 25, seem to be blogging the most from what I can tell. Is that just because they grew up with computers and the Internet, or is there more to it? And what about the generations in between—the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, the diary generations—where do these groups fall in the blogging sphere?



1. Ben Craigo - December 1, 2006

Welcome aboard! I’ll also let you in on a secret…this is my first blogging experience as well. Well, one that has sustained itself from the one or two posts and then dying out. What’s kept me back are some of the usual excuses:

* There are so many blogs out there so who would read mine?
* I’m too busy.
* I might write something “wrong” or tick someone off.
* I’ve got so many ideas I don’t know what to write about.
* Will I be too politically correct so that my blogs are blah? What if I’m not PC?
* What if I write something that my employer, partners or clients object on?

There is a certain risk to blogging and putting yourself out there. The trick is to focus on something narrow and that you are passionate about. The goal is to generate conversation, link ideas together and keep the conversation moving.

Everyone has something to learn from everyone else. One quote from a professor that I’ll never forget – “The more I learn, the more I know that I don’t know. So the more you learn the stupider you get.”

My goal is to be a world-class idiot. Blog away!

2. Cynthia Huber, CTM - December 8, 2006

Well put…both of you. It is no surprise to those who know me that this is my first blog — since I am still trying to figure out how to sync all my various email accounts and keep up with all the “zillions” of messages that come to me each day – most of which I feel compelled to read/answer.

While not a technophobe….I came into the computer game late and got overwhelmed quickly. Ben, your professor is right — I am getting stupider each day! However, I think it is better than ignorant.

As a baby boomer, I hear that many of my friends and associates are like me: we grew up hand writing personal letters and notes on nice stationary. They took a great deal of thought to compose since it was your “one shot” to get your true thoughts out. Then….wait and wait and wait for a reply. Christmas cards came in abundance since everyone sent one to everyone and most people put personal notes inside which were saved for a time when they could be responded to.

We were dependant on the phone for our “instant” needs (even those of us who had party lines). Then came fax machines…instant notes but still only for business, and with a whole bunch of rules including proper grammar and spelling. Then came email, but for most of us, only within the confines of our organization’s network. When personal email came into our realm of understanding, we were told to be selective since not everyone had an email address. Then the internet exploded and for many of us, it was just too much to fast and took a while to figure out how to derive value from it.

So, here I am, about to send this message with the understanding that “the world” can read it. Here are some of my fears…did I spell something wrong, do I have a misplaced comma, are my tenses correct, what about the agreement of singular/plurals within a sentence? I know that the youth have little concern about those things since they shorten everything to a few letters…. but I still remember that big red grade on my paper from my English Teachers…and always wanted the “A”.

Looking forward to relaxing with the experience!

3. Ben Craigo - December 8, 2006

Cynthia – Great comment!

You bring up a powerful point – everybody has their own preferences and comfort level in how, when, why, what and where they communicate. In turn, those who are looking for information have their own preferences and expectations. You touched on the generational piece.

As you mentioned, Boomers tend to be more formal in their communication and with less frequency. In general, Boomers also prefer in-person communication to get an idea of body language or in talk real-time over the phone.

Gen X’ers tend to be more direct, less formal and get information quickly. Technology is a big part of how they communicate. Millenials (a.k.a. Gen Y) tend to prefer instant communication, access to information and feedback. Plus they tend to be savvier in technology and expect more from it to be engaged.

Keep in mind that none of these generalizations of generational preferences are “good” or “bad.” And these are generalizations. Everyone is an individual. Think “bell curve”.

Tying this back to the main question that Noelle posed, “Is Blogging for Everyone,” I think the answer is probably not. However, communication involves at least two people so the expectations and preferences of both need to be taken into account. Often you have to compromise a little, and break some new ground, to reach your audience and be heard.

4. Bobbe Baggio - December 10, 2006

I have another question? How do you think blogging can best be used in instruction? It has some unique features…like chronological access…it is a conversation that is not only shared but builds…..it is also a bit like a magazine it hangs arround…..unlike other social softwares that may be more syncronous….so…How might this be used in the worlds of training and teaching to enhance the learing environment?

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