Crisis

2010 reflections: “I now know why I blog”

When I launched this blog on Jan. 7, 2010, I will admit I was flying blind.  But, oh, what places I’ve been!   As a 2010 wrap-up post, here are key things I’ve appreciated and learned through this experience.

 

This is my book.  This blog began as a book outline.  The working title was “Crisis Management in the Culture of NOW!”  Within a week of typing “CHAPTER ONE,” I realized I was racing to catch the sun.  I rationalized that by the time I sought a publisher, there’d likely be a half-dozen books on my topic.  I also found myself reading more crisis-expert blogs to bolster points I wanted to make in the book.  I quickly began calculating the benefits of blog vs. book.

A blog has no shelf-life – it’s a living, breathing thing.  A blog would allow me to explore multiple facets of crisis management and communications coaching, not just the angle tethered to a book title.  A blog doesn’t require “new editions” to be updated.  And – perhaps most enticing – a blog encourages interaction through comments and “likes” and retweets. 

Thus, after a maddening month trying to learn web hosting and WordPress (it’s not nearly as easy as advertised), this blog was born.  If I may be immodest, it’s a lot better than my book would have been.

 

This is my database.  Here’s an admission – I have a terrible memory.  If I don’t write something down, it’s very likely that I’ll forget something useful I’ve created for a client.  (Clients who know me well joke that I’m the perfect crisis counselor – unintended disclosures are unlikely because most details of their ordeal are completely forgotten “within a month.”  Har, har.) 

To some degree, this blog becomes my digital memory.  Now, I can use this site’s links, search bar or “tags” to recall those tools and perspectives.  And so can you.

 

I’m better at networking.  Being a curator of a blog requires two-way networking.  To be topical, you read a lot of similar blogs and connect with other experts.  In turn, they connect with you. 

If not for this blog, I probably would not have enjoyed the brief-yet-meaningful connections I’ve made with Peter Sandman, Mallen Baker and Gerald Baron, whose perspectives I admire (among others’).  I also would not have shared client assignments with experts like Ed Eaton and Drew Levinson (whom I plan to interview in 2011 if he’ll let me).    

I can also thank this blog for reconnecting with former colleagues who were drawn to particular posts which were shared with their current clients (specifically, my Pampers and Qantas posts were shared, I’ve been told).   

 

I’m a better counselor.   This blog has focused me on emerging trends.  This “hobby” also prompts me to develop perspectives before I receive a client request to do so.  Developing specific posts during 2010 has provided me with a greater depth of appreciation for areas like business continuity, CSR and risk management.   I find myself more deliberate before reaching conclusions or offering opinions (of which, I still have many).  I’m challenging old assumptions and refreshing some standard approaches to my craft.  In summary, this blog has probably improved me more than I can ever hope to improve this blog.

 

I’m fatigued.  In a good way.  You know those people who say, “when I’m into my workout routine I find that I have more energy!”  I don’t relate to those people.  I get sore and fatigued.  But I do it anyway, because it’s good for me.  The same goes for blogging. 

Although I sought Ketchum’s blessing before launch, this was born under no company charter.  I blog on my own time, after hours (and after my son goes to bed).  Yet, I think these pages hold up well against some other crisis management blogs out there (although I assume some of those boutique agencies and independent consultants build blogging time into their business day, as a new business expense).  Each post takes about triple the time I anticipated spending.  But, for all the benefits I’ve listed above, I keep at it. 

On my own terms, too.  Yeah, I know I should post once a week.  And put “UPDATE” in the title when I add to an old post.  And use more video.  And conduct more polls.  And use titles like “7 Reasons This Post Will Save Your Client.”  And yada yada yada.  If I cared about reader quantity, perhaps I’d do those things.  But my focus is quality.  So, there.  Like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, “I blog for me!   FOR ME!!!”

 

I hope you have enjoyed year one of this blog.  My only promise for year two comes from a strong suggestion from my wife (and executive editor):  make these posts shorter!

Jan 19. Update:  Of course, I might be bucking a trend by keeping this blog going, according to this article in Crain’s.  But no matter.  As stated above, my reasons for continuing are different than those quoted in the article.

 

14 thoughts on “2010 reflections: “I now know why I blog””

  1. Awesome post. Whatever the realm or business, blogging gets your ideas out there and that takes guts confidence in what you do. You are great at what you do and it great that you are willing to share them with others. Keep writing and keep blogging. You are the best in the business J.D.

    Jason

  2. Interesting to hear the blog started as a book outline. I have to say that for those of us who enjoy your posts, learn from them and get a lot of useful insight, I, for one, am very happy you decided to keep the blog going on a regular basis, rather than keeping the best info and advice held back for a book!

    As always, a thoughtful and enjoyable post. Looking forward to your insight and perspective on crisis management in 2011. If it's anything like 2010, I'm sure it will be one hell of an interesting year to follow and comment on.

    1. Thanks for the kind words (and all the re-Tweets), Keith. I plan on keeping the pedal to the floor in 2011.

      I really hope we get more interaction here next year. My biggest surprise this year is how under-utilized my "Ask The Crisis Manager" offer is. I've basically agreed to answer nearly any open question on the topic. (Maybe I'll fix the link in the upper right hand corner!)

      Cheers,
      J.D.

  3. JD, you've done a stellar job with this blog, even if I am a bit biased. Your tough questions are just that…tough…and they require thoughtful responses. I look forward t ocontinuing to read them.

  4. Well done J.D., I have enjoyed your work here. I appreciate your expertise and that you are sharing these perspectives.

    I was also interested to read that this started as an alternative to a book. Have you ever thought about developing some of the key posts into a book?

    The idea crossed my mind recently about my own blog, and would appreciate another perspective on the idea.

    Kee those posts flowing!

    Ken Simpson

    1. I have thought about it, but I'm leaning against the idea at this juncture, for two reasons: 1) Not sure I'd have the time to do it…this blog already eats much of my "free time." 2) Not sure of the benefit of a "static" book when people can just come here for updated posts, searchability, etc. Increased readership would be a benefit, I suppose. But that's not really my goal. I'd rather have "quality followers and readers" than quantity.

      Thanks for the kind words, Ken, and for contributing here.

  5. Kudos and do keep going!

    Despite speaking as a wife who also tries to get her husband to write shorter articles, I have this to say about your promise for Year Two to "make these posts shorter":

    If that promise is ever in conflict with your credo that "Like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, 'I blog for me! FOR ME!!!' ", I hope "longer" wins.

  6. JD, Agree completely with your summary of the value of blogging, particularly the archival memory and networking. I find that blogging gives me the opportunity to clarify my thought on issues I know are important. When the issue comes up, my perspective is at least partially prepared.
    Bob Page

  7. Edelman Trust Barometer | Trust is up?

    Really? True.
    The conciente and the power brokers in DC are very excited, why?

    There is an intellectual in the White House.

    This past fall the IPR reported that trust in the establishment has dropped to an all time low, it's in the teens!

    We are more optimistic . . . trust?
    Verify first.

    Andrew Ciccone
    Media Strategist

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