The recent exchanges about "The Laws of Blogging" in recent posts have gotten me thinking about how we learn from different approaches to education.
There are those who teach by telling us first about all of the things we shouldn’t do and the harm that will befall us if we do not learn the dangers in what we are doing.
You might say this is education through fear. It certainly works, because there are millions of people who are frightened of the unknown amd are effectively barred from trying anything that has not succeeded before. They in turn teach their children to be afraid, and so forth.
There is another way to teach, and that is to show the possibilities inherent in a process or technology and let the student work his or her way through the barriers to succcess, without any guidance. This Darwinian strategy has its drawbacks.
I prefer a third system in which the possibilities are outlined in enough detail to be instructive, but not stifling, and examples of successful actions are examined in enough detail to be useful. Warnings are provided in terms of taking responsibility for endangering oneself unnecessarily.
With the plethora of books being written about blogging by people new to the medium, I think I should gather up my posts on blogging and publish a book of my own. I think I should call it:
Subtitle: Citizen Publishing Will Change The World
I want people to know why they should blog and why it is important to them and their businesses, not why they should be afraid of blogging.
There is a hierarchy of factors that will lead to a long-term life for a blogger:
1 Understand why you are writing. Have a mission statement, even if you don’t publish it. Revisit it occasionally if production drops.
2 Write about things that interest you
3 Write so you do not have to apologize for your choice of words.
4 Try to make your topic as interesting as possible, without bending the truth too much. Parodies are excepted, of course.
5 When the words don’t come, work on something else.
6 Keep track of what you have written so you will know when you are revisiting subjects.
If you want a warning, I can give you all the warning you need with this:
Blogging is going public. Very few people understand what that means. When you write, just consider that the CIA, FBI, your ex-wives, your creditors and your worst enemies will eventually read what you have written. Don’t include anything that would give one of these people access to you or power over you. When you consider that you can Google someone’s name and get their telephone number and address, that tells you that you may want to write under a pseudonym and provide no other personal information.
Not everyone has the freedom (or temerity) to put their name and photo on their weblog. Those who write under less favorable circumstances can reduce the negative effects of being forced into public view by observing this simple rule:
Blog like you mean it and be prepared to stand behind everything you write.
Here are some of the posts I’ve written about the potential of blogging. Each one can be the basis of a chapter in a forthcoming book:
Why Do I Blog
Blogging is not a Zero-sum game
Your Weblog, Branding, and You
Explaining blogs – lighting candles in the wind
Blogging is a civilizing process
Your Weblog – the ultimate power tool
Survival of the fittest
Playing with fire
Blog like you mean it
The Future of Blogging – my version…
Citizen publishing – get your mind around this concept
We have become those people our mothers warned us about
Blogging will continue until morale improves…
Have a slice of life – more about citizen publishing
Making ripples on the Internet – write with care…
How do I make a living from my blog?
If I add the posts on self-publishing as a complete section covering the topic, Publishing Your Weblog Content, I may have a good start on a book for pre-bloggers.
What do you think?