Time in blogging: catching a moment to write.
There is at least one nice effect of not being able to blog a conference: bits and pieces start to merge revealing underlying themes, turning reporting into reflecting.
This time it's about time. Somehow different things get together:
BlogWalk discussion on time to reflect and to write, AOIR session on
time and responsiveness, Jill's talk about time as one dimention of
distributed narratives, time of not being able to blog, time to process blog post piling up in my news aggregator...
I guess I'll do a couple of posts. This one is about time in writing a weblog.
Alex Halavais on not blogging (and go there to read the rest and to see new t-shirt of Professor Walker :)
During one of the sessions on the last day of the conference, Nancy Baym, president of AIR,
suggested that someone was going to set up a web page with postings
related to the conference. This followed her request at one of the
keynotes that people write up their notes and post them to the AIR-L list. I noted that Lilia had already set up a Topic Exchange channel
to collect bloggers' thoughts. At the end of the conference, I ran into
Nancy again at Falmer Station. She noted that most of the posts so far
were just complaining about the lack of access. "Don't worry," I said,
"when people get back to somewhere with access they'll post." As I
watched her cross over to the other platform, I thought: what a stupid
thing to say.
When people get back to wherever they are going, chances are good
that their minds will have switched gears and they will have more
current things to post about. I am sitting on notes not only about AIR (which
I will post since they are required reading for a class Im teaching),
but on notes from a conference on Informatics a week earlier. Blogging,
as a practice, tends for many people to be off the cuff, and the values
of timeliness that apply to journalists everywhere apply even moreso to
bloggers; we operate on a 30 minute news cycle. I think it's fair to
assume that under those conditions, most people won't post-post the conference.
Thinking about my own experiences I guess Alex is right: time is
crucial. Being able to blog real-time (even almost real-time: no wifi,
but connection during breaks) changes my motivation to write, adding a
flavour of instant gratification of "serving the world" with current
news that makes me writing a bit more, a bit better and investing in
It's different when I can't post. I still make notes, but do not
spend time making them into something more or less finished, they pile
up, I hope to work them out later, but it doesn't happen often. I guess
there are two reasons:
- Lack of discipline. When "instant gratification" is not there it's about discipline (which is not my strongest point :).
- It's also about making an effort of delaying new things that come
and wait for your attention. Like now, I feel like finishing and
posting my notes from AOIR, but there are other things to do, so I'll
be lucky if I manage to write an overview of most important things
(fingers crossed: if it doesn't happen within next few days the time is
There is another aspect of being able to blog. For me blogging is
as much about releasing my own brain from ideas by articulating them as
about reporting interesting news to others. I blog bits and pieces of
ideas to get rid of them on the path to what I want to do in the moment.
For example, now I really want to work on a paper on personal KM,
but I have all these ideas about time, weblog research and corporate
blogging on the way. I don't want to lose them and I can't switch to
something else when they are still on my mental radar (so much that I
woke up with ideas for blog posts :), so I'm blogging instead of
working on the paper. In this case blogging is pretty much similar to
filing things into 43 folders so they get out of your way :)
I'm sitting on notes, which I promised to publish, from two Gurteen Knowledge conferences.
I hate to say it but the reason I haven't published them is that
they've never made it high enough priority on my priority list.
There has always seemed to be something more important until they got
buried and forgotten (until now). Priority management & time
management have long been issues for me. The 43 Folders
link was useful in reminding me that I have David Allens useful book
and can go back to it at any time
I often think that what I need is an assistant. Someone who can
can share the burden of tasks which I think are important but not
urgent (what Coveys calls Quadrant 2
). I can't afford an assistant though.
Here's a silly idea: We could all offer to volunteer a blogger
friend one hour a week of our time to do important tasks that they
can't get around to.