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May 28, 2008

Meme: How has blogging impacted your work?

chained to computer
I never feel chained to the computer
when blogging.

While driving home tonight I began pondering this week's blog entry. As I considered various topics, my mind wandered back to the events of the day—events that included more than the usual number of e-mail and phone calls, many of which included some mention of the blog. Sitting in traffic I started thinking about how this blog has impacted the work I do here at Case Western Reserve. This in turn made me wonder how blogging impacts others.

To find out I'm starting this meme. Here are the rules:

If you blog professionally, or even semi-professionally (this would include students blogging on their field of study) and you think participating in this meme would work with your editorial agenda, please do the following:

  1. Write a blog post describing how blogging has impacted your work. (If you have any data on how it has affected your audience and how it reflects on your organization feel free to include that as well.)
  2. Post the link to your entry in the comments area below. (If the spam filter gives you a hard time, just paste it in as plain text or email it to me, and I'll make a list of these links at the bottom of this entry.)
  3. Tag 3 or more bloggers you think should also participate.
  4. Link back to this blog, so we can get more participation and keep track of who is posting entries.

And now to get things started, here's are my thoughts on the topic.

3 ways blogging has impacted my work
Blogging as customer service

When I started this blog, my intention was to use it as customer service tool that would provide how-to resources to the the various Web developers here at the university. As the content has accumulated this has worked out rather well. Regular readers know they can peruse the blog in search of answers to many frequently asked questions, and if something isn't here they can pose it to me as an entry for the future. This saves me time and makes it easy for clients to find the information they need.

It's a great place to post announcements and instructions for procedural changes, such as those we've recently experienced with the new server, and it's a place I can send callers when they need a tutorial on how to crop images, upload files, etc.

Most importantly though the blog can educate clients so that we can work together more effectively. Today, for example, I received a call from a woman who wants to update her department's site. The site is a bit old and she wants to be able to manage it herself so that she can add materials easily and focus the content on the needs of her own clients.

When she called me this afternoon she had already perused the blog. She'd read through a lot of the material and already had a good sense of how she wanted to take the site to the next level. In our short conversation we came up with some next steps for her to take and planned to meet in a few weeks after she has followed them. Although Web development is not her field, she'll be sufficiently versed in the subject so that when we meet we'll be able to work together to construct a productive plan.

The Case Blogging system provides tools and features unavailable in a static Web site.

I often hear from clients who want to include a feature in their site that would normally involve a database and some sort of complex programming that we don't provide on our server. As we examine the actual goal it is not uncommon to conclude, "I bet we could do that with a blog." Not only does the blog provide the tagging, archiving or whatever else they need, but it also makes it easier for their staff—usually unfamiliar with HTML—to enter their own content.

RSS lets the world know when new content is ready. While visitors can't easily tell when, or if, I've had added new material to our Web development site, those who subscribe to the blog know exactly when this happens. I can also use the RSS feeds to provide fresh content to other sites. For example, I pull in the headlines from the Web development blog on the Web Toolkit as well as on our Web Development page on Facebook.

Although this is the only work blog I write myself, I work with a number of sites that use the Case blogging system. At the end of 2005 I moved the Case News Center to the blog server. Where in the past we'd have to create a new page and update various index pages or menus, now we just add an entry. We still post them in HTML, but using the blog has been a great time-saver. It also offers convenience to readers. Whether they're members of the media, or alumni trying to stay in touch, they can subscribe via e-mail or RSS feed.

To teach—via blog or otherwise—is to learn

Case professor and blogger, Mano Singham, has said that the act of blogging helps him to formulate his thoughts and fine tune ideas that he may use in future projects. I find it also helps me to learn. In a field such as Web development I need to keep up-to-date on technology, social media, marketing, etc.—whether by attending conferences or teaching myself.

In this spirit I read any number of blogs and online resources, but I find I learn the most when I'm trying to explain something to you, my readers. Although I usually have a good sense of my topic when I'm writing, the desire to be thorough and accurate also requires me to do further research—to understand the topic in greater detail and to see if there have been new developments in the field.

Once these thoughts have assembled in my head, it is the act of translating them—into something that will make sense to you that—really brings it all together. If I can explain a topic clearly to others then I know that I've mastered it too.

Back in college, one of my professors used to say that the reason he could keep teaching the same subjects year after year was that he expected to learn as much from us as we would from him. I think blogging is similar. I learn from the process of writing as well as from the insightful ideas you all share in the comments. There is something very satisfying about the whole process.

Tag: you're it!

To get things started, I think the following bloggers could add some interesting insights to this topic. (It's more than 3, some of whom are super busy, but I thought I'd dream big.)

How has blogging impacted your work: meme participants

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Posted by: Heidi Cool May 28, 2008 09:11 PM | Category: Blogging , Heidi's Entries , RSS , meme

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Comments

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I hope one day to evolve into a semi-serious blogger. I have enjoyed your tutorials, and used a few of them while getting my blog together.

I have to agree with you on the learning while sharing. While researching certain things to discuss/explain, I often pick up a lot of knowledge along the way.

Interested in hearing from Wayne Smallman on this one! I know he is pretty dedicated.

Posted by ob81 on May 28, 2008 09:36 PM

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I love learning how to blog, and I find it stimulating, on the other hand, it really is so very time consuming. I love the pic you put up there, it so makes sense to me. I feel like I'm doing this for ten minutes, and look up at the clock and 4 hours have gone by. You have been very helpful to me. Thank you for your insights.

Posted by Robin on May 28, 2008 10:40 PM

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Thanks Howard. I'm anxious to see what (if) people submit. Perhaps Wayne will have some insights on his new work blog.

Nice to see you blogging again as well. That was a long hiatus. Perhaps when you come back to the states you'll be less seasonal about it!

Posted by Heidi Cool on May 28, 2008 10:42 PM

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At first I was prepared to hate blogging sites such as myspace, since students seemed to be wasting an inordinate of time on them.

Then I started one myself...and loved it! In addition to my own personal page, a family page, and even one for my dog, I put together one for the tutoring center (Learning Resource Center) at Cal Poly Pomona.

We use it to post upcoming events, information about tutoring, photos of tutors and staff, and we also link to various students and other organizations on campus, facilitating communication among us all via the bulletin board and comments.

It's a fun and creative way to "keep us all on the same page," so to speak.

Posted by Pame;a Marsh on May 29, 2008 01:30 AM

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Heidi I accept your challenge, but it's been a busy week of catching up so I've been slow to respond. Seeing that I've been blogging for over five months now it's probably a good time to write up a little reflection about what I've learned along the way. It might not be this week, but I promise to respond in the near future.

You do have a wonderful blog here and I'm so glad that BlogHighEd introduced me to it. I've read through many of your backlogs and it's just great stuff. I can't wait to meet you in person at eduWEB.

In the mean time I'll direct you to my very first blog post, Look ma I'm a Blogger!. It will be good to reflect on that initial post and the goals I set and how I've meet, modified, or failed on them.

Posted by Kyle James on June 1, 2008 08:32 PM

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Also since I've been posting it on lots of other blogs as I write comments, you need to setup a subscribe to comments option so I don't have to keep checking back for responses to comments. ;)

Posted by Kyle James on June 1, 2008 08:37 PM

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Thanks Kyle,
I look forward to reading your response and appreciate your kind words. I just read over your first post, well-done. That's a great example of setting a goal and creating content that serves it. Now that I've been following you for awhile I can see that what you've been writing is exactly what you set out to do.

Setting up a feed for comments in a good idea. I'm not sure why I've not thought of it before as I know plenty of other people who have them.

Posted by Heidi Cool on June 1, 2008 09:20 PM

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I believe we've only seen the beginning as far as warfare in blogging is concerned. Blogging has certain fad-like qualities because it is new and cool, and it is certainly going to leave the footprints everywhere, whether it is corporate world, human development or social communities. The concept of writing our thoughts on the web is not new and people are doing it for a decade or so, but real progress has been made in the last 5 years. Thanks to blogging, which has helped legitimize the practice?

Blogging is a way to write about anything people want and which ultimately potentially reaches a global audience. Really, this wasn’t been possible in the past and we've only begun to see the consequences. At a minimum, blogging is considered to be making our society more transparent; thus causing acceleration in the flattening of the world. Obviously, this will directly or indirectly have some sort of influence on our daily routine activities. The only real question is when are you going to start a blog?

Posted by Associates - Medical Coding and Billing on June 4, 2008 12:28 AM

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It's still a confusion for me. Blogging had a good effect on my work in fact. Made me learn SEO and what not and because of that I might be joining our company's SEO department (Soon) :D

Posted by MoiN on June 5, 2008 08:19 PM

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Heidi, I look at blogging as a way to communicate and express myself. My blog is not personal (it's focused on real estate), yet it's is not just a job. I find people start blogging and stop, if they don't have the internal need for this type of communication and expression.
It is also interesting to see when the blog reaches beyond the intended audience,for example, like this blog.

Posted by Faina Sechzer on June 8, 2008 08:31 AM

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I've just found your blog, and am enjoying what I've read so far. Blogging has taught me all kinds of things, and it's quite addictive. It's also helped to increase my online presence far more than my static websites could do. When customers and clients find me, they feel like they already know me because they've been reading my posts for awhile. That's a great feeling when they do reach out and contact me.

And I've learned all kinds of words and acronyms that might never have crossed my path - SEO, keywords, meta-tags, blogging, etc. All good stuff!

Posted by Ann Cummings on June 8, 2008 05:36 PM

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blogging made me learn SEO and social networking. Also, it is a way for communicate and express myself .

Posted by Shiela on June 12, 2008 02:11 AM

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I made the leap into blogging to promote a couple of businesses last fall. But there are side effects to blogging. I wrote a post recently at ezinearticles about how blogging makes you fat. I gained over 10+ pounds when I started my wife's real estate blog and neighbors pet sitting business blog. If you are interested, here is a link to my blogging makes you fat post http://ezinearticles.com/?Blogging-Makes-You-Fat&id=1252223
BTW...I enjoyed your post.

Posted by Scott on June 19, 2008 09:54 AM

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After graduating from CWRU in 2002 I started using blogs to increase the SERP and PR of the company websites that I worked for.

Posted by QLS on July 11, 2008 08:25 AM

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well wants to know how blogging has impacted my work. I honestly don't think that it has. Isn't that kind of like the tail wagging the dog? I would be doing the work I'm doing regardless of whether or not I blogged about it later. I almost view work as separate from blogging. My job is to advise my "clients" on their web, email and e-marketing strategy and to produce collateral material to help them execute their strategies. My advice and execution of my job functions are not going to be affected by whether or not I think it will make for good blogging later.

Posted by mevric on July 28, 2008 03:04 AM

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Blogging has a greater information value then most traditional webpage’s we see on the Internet today. Blogging in its infancy was created as a source to log information on the World Wide Web and was given the name weblog in 1997; it was finally shortened to blog… The Internet now hosts well over 100 million blogs and is growing every day, with over 1407 million Internet users.

I have to confess, being the owner of three of the 100 million blog’s can make for a very long day. I can see having just one blog can be very time consuming, keeping fresh content, filtering comments, answering posts, and SEO. I am sure any of you that have your own blog can relate. Well just imagine running three blog’s, each blog on a different subject and not related. This is my life… Most days I get up at 5:00am, shower, shave, eat and jump in front of the computer, I don’t get finished until 9:00 or 10:00pm. I do however take the weekends and an occasional sunny day off to cater to my one great passion and that is to ride my motorcycle.

As far as how blogging has affected my life… Well I am addicted, that’s right, my name is Michael and I’m a blogoholic. Anybody out there know of a good BA meeting!

Posted by Motorcycles and women on August 4, 2008 08:49 AM

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When I first started blogging in May of 2007 I thought blogging was for kids and a way for them to stay in touch with one another. I soon learned about the power of blogging and when done correctly as you have suggested it can play a powerful roll as many have proved. I recently heard that the CEO's of Coke and Toyota are now blogging on their own sites and it has increased sales for their companies. This says it all.

Posted by George Tallabas on August 8, 2008 10:38 AM

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Heidi I wantd to leave a note congratulating you on your work here. It is quite incredible to think that the humble blog has come so far, and this blog really brought it home to me. You have done some great work here, keep it up!

Best regards, Mike

Posted by Mike at Motorcycle Parts, Accessories and more on September 21, 2008 11:40 AM

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Great article on blogging. I find it is a great way to connect with the public and it let's your personality come through. If people can get a better sense of who you are, they are more likely to do business with you.

Posted by Linda Reynolds on October 3, 2008 08:41 PM

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You do have a wonderful blog here and I'm so glad that BlogHighEd introduced me to it. I've read through many of your backlogs and it's just great stuff. I can't wait to meet you in person at eduWEB.

In the mean time I'll direct you to my very first blog post, Look ma I'm a Blogger!. It will be good to reflect on that initial post and the goals I set and how I've meet, modified, or failed

Posted by Msn nickleri on October 7, 2008 11:35 AM

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I think that blogging is a great tool as long as it's not abused. I use blog blog to keep clients posted on what I'm doing and I also use to offer tips and advice on keeping your home in tip top shape. I think the problem for some people is finding the fine line between blogging too much and blogging not enough. I try to blog once a week and maybe up to 3 times but I also think once a day is also acceptable ... any more than that is spam.

Posted by Nordaune at Real Estate in Rochester MN on October 31, 2008 04:28 PM

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Posted by: hac4 (Heidi Cool) May 28, 2008 09:11 PM | Comments (21) | Trackback