Saturday, August 22, 2009

200 Posts!!

200 is a completely irrelevant number, but I happened to notice it in the blog-log and it made me stop and think about what that meant. I started this blog between the 1st and 2nd semester as an experiment in trying to foster a new type of conversation between my classmates. My hope was that they might extend some of the classroom discussions online. That never really panned out, but I learned a number of other lessons in it's place:

  1. A blog, like anything else, takes practices. A lot of practice. With 200 posts, I've created just under one per day, which isn't too bad. It forces me to find a style (maybe 3-4 paragraphs), but also allows me to try some new things (embed videos, etc.). I am by no means approaching a "moderately average" level for quality, but by making it habitual it does force me to consolidate my thoughts and find ways to communicate them.
  2. I have found that a number of people/classmates do occasionally read the blog, but many of their comments are sent to me via email or verbally (face-to-face). I'm surprised by how many people tell me they don't want to communicate their ideas or feedback in public. I would think that MBA students seeking to become higher-level leaders would welcome the opportunity to practice their public writing or communication, but I vastly under-estimated that element of the blog.
  3. As I've mentioned before, it's been amazing to me how many people from foreign countries have visited. I hope that maybe that means I'm starting to take a more international view of the world and those international posts are somewhat interesting. The international aspect of our MBA program has easily been the most interestng portion for me.
The other experiment with the blog was to gain a much greater set of "hands-on" experiences with social media and online communities. This is becoming such a huge part of marketing, branding, communicating, community building (internally & externally for companies and new ideas), that I felt like I needed to really understanding it from the ground up. Could I do a better job of building my personal brand? Could I effectively communicate new or complicated ideas? Could I foster discussion with new communities of people with common interests? Could I master some of the basic techniques needed to spread content and ideas around the Internet?

The answer to all those questions is still a work in progress, but I definitely know 1000% more now than I did just 12 months ago. I've been able to take the learnings from this blog and turn it into a Social Media strategy for my company that has drawn over 100,000 visits to our company blog, 50,000 visits to our company's YouTube channel, and over 25,000 downloads of collateral that helps to drive new product sales.

So thank you to anyone that has taken the time to read the blog and provide any feedback. I've found it to be a great experiment and a needed outlet for my itch to write. I'll continue with it through our graduation in December, and take the learnings with me to my various other professional outlets. Maybe I'll be able to get to 300 before the program is completed.
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