Blogging, Influence, Evolution, and the End Game

It was 2am and a cocoon of light from my laptop enveloped me. 647 words taunted me, begged me to finish them off properly for a blog post I was working on for the next morning but I was stuck. I heard a door squeak open and a recognizable shadow walk to my left hand side.

“You’re still up?” the groggy voice called out.

“I know,” I replied.

I was in full burnout mode. I worked at a job I was disenchanted with, I was trying to do side work to pay off medical bills and I was continuing to blog. Like an insane person, I continued to toll away at it hoping that something good would come out of it. There was no rhyme or reason to how I would get ideas or if they were actually any good. When someone asked me what I did to blog, I told them I waited until my wife went to sleep and the house was quiet and I’d write whatever hit me. Uncomfortable laughs would ensue.

(That’s not very sustainable by the way)

Eventually, blogging led me to good things — or more precisely, good people — to save me from myself. In retrospect, it was entirely by luck that any of this happened.

Fast forward to this summer and I’m sitting in the social media lounge at SHRM’s annual conference with Trish McFarlane talking about what’s taken place since 2006. I’ve met hundreds of wonderful professionals, been given great opportunities and essentially changed careers. And I look around and I see other people’s lives enriched by social media. It’s a good thing.

Then I see other things that I am less sure of: influence ranks, social media evangelism on par with the greatest TV preachers, politics and competition. I see new people blogging about HR issues but they don’t register on my radar as quickly as before. The HR issues I used to talk about here have moved (and evolved) to TLNT.

It goes without saying that the atmosphere will change. Not to get philosophical on you but what exactly is this all for? Why did I sit there alone in the dark in the early morning hours obsessed about finishing a post that would be read by a few dozen people? Was I hoping to influence people? What was I wanting to influence them about? Was I building a brand? What did I intend to do with it? And if I did luck out and become one of the best blogs in this small niche, what would I do after that?

Namely: what was my end game? And maybe I didn’t know exactly what I eventually wanted to be when I grew up, at least I could have a better idea as to how to chart a course.

While I believe there are many right courses, I also believe there is one wrong one: the “I just want to share information and network with peers” blogger. Only because that is absolute bullshit. That might be fine for a while but after you’ve invested hundreds (or thousands) of hours into something like blogging, you want more than to share and to network (though they certainly are very, very advantageous parts of being a part of this community).

The real difficulty is actually being honest with yourself about it and then carrying through in your actions.

That’s what I’ve been looking forward to talking about at HRevolution for the last four months. And while the conversation could go in a lot of different directions, I’m hoping the one people leave with is a point in the future when it comes to blogging (not just a nebulous idea).

Your body, mind and spirit (along with your significant other) can only put up with so many sleep deprived nights.

Originally Posted at Rehaul.


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