In a video from an American Express conference, business gurus Seth Godin and Tom Peters talk about the value of blogging. And while they’re focused on business and marketing, their advice applies just as much to journalists. Godin:
Blogging is free. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. What matters is the humility that comes from writing it. What matters is the metacognition of thinking about what you’re gonna say. How do you explain yourself to the few employees or your cat or whoever’s gonna look at it? How do you force yourself to describe in three paragraphs why you did something? How to do you respond out loud?…This has become such a micropublishing platform that basically you’re doing it for yourself, to force yourself to become part of the converstaion, even if it’s just [pinches fingers] that big. And that posture change changes an enormous amount.
That is the fundamental reason I argue every journalist should blog — either for her news organization, on her own, or (ideally) both. So much of the public’s disdain of journalists is rooted in the one-way-conversation model traditional news is based on. No one likes to be lectured. The very format of a blog forces a journalist to rethink her relationship with the audience. It makes you conscious of the unappealing voice we assume when we write a traditional news story. And I think that reconsideration is going to be critical in rebuilding good will toward journalists and the work we do.
Tom Peters adds:
No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging. It has changed my life, it has changed my perspective, it has changed my intellectual outlook, it’s changed my emotional outlook (and it’s the best damned marketing tool by an order of magnitude I’ve ever had). And it’s free.