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Blogging as breathing or how to find time for blogging?

From Ton’s write-up of BlogWalk in Umea:

On the use of time for blogging

The most asked question when I speak to people who don’t blog, is where I get the time to do it.

In Umea we discussed time consumption and listed a number of time-consuming factors. Time is needed:

  • To get used to the tools
  • To grow a network
  • To get into action with others
  • To grow trust
  • For getting to know and find useful (re)sources
  • To find your voice (for yourself, for others)

This seems like a list of things that apply to a lot more situations than just blogging. For instance we compared it to Stephanie’s experiences when she first moved from the US to Sweden, and had to find her rhythm in a new country. It also resonates with my own perception that the time I spend blogging is either not very large, or all of the time. Reading blogs, writing to reflect and digest, writing to collect and gather, and sharing along different channels (blog, wiki, company portal, e-mails, etc.) is just the way how I collect and process my personal information flow. Asking me how much time I spend blogging, is treating blogging as an additional activity in my life (which it was at first), and feels to me like asking how much of my time I spend breathing.

My answers to this question are pretty similar: I can afford spending quite a lot of time blogging only because it’s so integrated with my regular activities that it’s not an add-on anymore.

A brief brainstorm of the role blogging plays in my own work:

  • professional awareness
    • I read weblogs instead of reading mailing lists and searching professional web-sites to stay updated with news and trends
  • work-related search
    • saving time for searching as in many cases I come across papers/information I need for my work via weblogs and blog/bookmark it
    • social search – very often I know whom to ask for a specific information/advice
  • networking
    • reading weblogs is a low-cost way to stay in touch with others (if they have weblogs 🙂
    • writing my own weblog exposes my own work and expertise, so it’s easier to establish contacts
    • better use of f2f time as with bloggers there is no need for updates on each other news
  • conversations
    • getting help or answers fast without being too intrusive
    • feedback on ideas and early drafts
    • development of ideas in a community (actually: in different communities 🙂
  • research
  • data collection, interpretation and presentation (e.g. as everyday grounded theory)
    • reading other weblogs and being a blogger are part of my data collection instruments
    • I use my weblog to test my interpretations and to get a feedback on ways of presenting some pieces of research
  • weblog as a research notebook
    • keeping notes on reading, research progress, ideas, publications
    • organising notes into themes to support thinking and future retrieval
  • writing
  • low-threshold space to start writing that helps to start small when working on large pieces (like papers or PhD as a whole)
  • space to get an early (or urgent 🙂 feedback on writing
  • getting emotional support
  • I guess there is more… Anyway I’ll be back on it because I’m thinking about writing a paper on blogging as a research method 🙂

    Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2004/12/03.html#a1445; comments are here.

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