Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"

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Why Aren’t We Experimenting More?

omsi volcano experimentIf you bother to check out my blog regularly (thank you), you’ll notice a couple of odd posts recently. The first was in some ways an accident. Being a smartass, I decided to react to some random subscriptions to both of my Posterous blogs with a post telling people not to subscribe there. There’s no point. Of course, my hope was that some people would subscribe anyway, despite the complete lack of any benefit- in fact, the explicit promise of no benefit at all. Why? Because it would amuse me. What surprised me was that the post all of a sudden showed up in my RSS feed; for this blog. I forgot I had set up automatic cross-posting, but was reminded of my penchant for experimentation.

The more recent post was a Storify experiment that I decided to demonstrate live in front of colleagues as an easy way to post to your blog. By George, it was in fact quite easy!

I feel that someone doing social media for a living should experiment. Often. Most of us who do this (come on, admit it) have blogs and other social media channels that are not meant to be polished business honey pots, but are repositories for our thoughts which are brilliant at best, a strange hash of trails at most times, and only a failure when it lies empty. Too many of us either do very little in social media because we either don’t want to be public (there are ways around that), or feel too much pressure to make our blogs look professional all the time, because, damn it, we are potential book authors or professionals.

Are either of you types of folks kidding? This is the place to experiment, to go out and ¬†figure out the possibilities of tools and of raw content. What types of posts/topics/titles/words/calls to action, for example, get people to respond to your blog over other types? We should be doing more, not less, shouldn’t we? Why are some of us polishing our blogs into tepidity (though I do understand that some folks are in business for themselves and use them to show their polished, professional sides), and others letting their blogs and other channels lie empty?

Empty, you say? In 2011, I published about half as often here (42 posts) as I did in 2010 (85 posts). That disappoints me.

My publishing on this blog has been less frequent for a number of reasons:

  • Work keeps me busy. Though I absolutely hate the “I don’t work on my personal brand because I’m doing billable client work” excuse- it is true from a “note enough hours in the day” standpoint.
  • My most interesting thoughts are too closely attached to current client work, and there’s no way I’m going to reveal the inner workings of things, especially when that would require permission (and might better reside on the Voce Nation blog anyway)
  • I write for other blogs (primarily Voce Nation), but not really that much. That’s pretty weak.
  • I can’t write the same opinions about the same social media topics as everyone else. That’s kind of weak too, but I do get topic fatigue and have no desire to be a “me too” social media marketing blogger any more.
  • I can’t write the abstract “advice” or “state of mind” posts about strategy and how to live your life or think or blog or whatever. At this stage in my life they come off as the blatherings of someone trying be sound smart or inspirational, rather than actually just being smart (and it looks like that in all the other blogs I read- is that mean? Too bad). Also, admit it; the title of this blog post made you throw up in your mouth.
  • I took part more voraciously in private discussion groups rather than publishing longer, more one-sided screeds like this.
Wow. That’s a lot of excuses not to be writing more often.

So, why not more experimentation on this blog rather than feeling a need to be controversial, relevant, brilliant, or topical every time out, or failing to do so because I don’t want to tread water in my writing?

Why not indeed. Far from a promise to do things, it’s a thought I would like to follow up on. I may need a few more kickses in the pantses.

Or should I just pile on and write about whatever, like I used to? Feel free to yell at me in comments. 2012 is a new year.

Photo Credit: Mavis (Flickr)

 

One Response to Why Aren’t We Experimenting More?

  1. Whitney says:

    I think a lot of us feel this way. I’ve been more quiet on channels lately not only because of offline work, but because they stuff I might want to share didn’t seem to be quite as ready for prime time, and is stalled in the draft stage, waiting for the “right time” or for me to feel more comfortable about these ideas.
    But if there’s anything I am learning is that there is never a perfect time for anything. Instead, we have to do the best to muddle through, and even that’s really okay. The more we treat each other as people and less as publishing machines, the better off we’ll all be in the end, because quality really does trump quantity. I’d rather read a few posts that stuff just generated for the sake of the stream.

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