You Should Blog (Again)

I recently gave the same message to share, but for a different community, at the Amsterdam UX Bar Camp.

I volunteered to join the other 23 presenters at UXCampAMS! I'm that first paper in the 12:00-12:45 sessions. #MidasRule

Last Saturday, a few of our UX designers, some familiar faces (SDL alumni), and I made our way to the UX Amsterdam Bar Camp. This amazing event was hosted in part by former colleague, Philipp Engel, who still somehow manages to inspire us to continue growing our user-centered design and research practices!

I gave a possibly familiar, "You Should Blog," speech to the group, which prompted at least one new blogger in the local UX blogosphere and a (1) vote for "best morning session" (you have to start somewhere, right?). Though I've seen how technically-minded professionals might hesitate at sharing, I was fairly surprised that UX professionals don't all already blog!

My key messages were about caring enough and taking initiative per the Midas Rule.

  1. First, give yourself permission to share more. Care enough and it'll happen.
  2. Focus more on the practice of sharing, than the blog itself.
Get started. Then message, tone, and brand will follow.

However, I've since changed some older advice, when I used to suggest using "catchy" titles to post. Click-bait is out. Authenticity and transparency is in, hopefully as the new normal going forward.

I also admitted to the group that sharing in a new community and standing on stage can still be a bit scary, which hopefully encourages others to start.

Active Audience

The audience impressed me with their questions, advice, and a discussion that I almost had to interrupt. :-)

Here are some points that came up, including appropriate content, getting others to share more, and tone/brand.

Have I gotten in trouble or asked to change a post because of content?

Yes, I once mentioned enterprise software renewal rates and a colleague suggested it's better to avoid sharing that kind of competitive information. I didn't mention I also once unintentionally embarrassed someone in a post. However, I've apologized and fixed both issues. Not bad out of 300+ posts.

How do you get manager types to blog and share more?

We discussed challenges such as when managers might not want to be visible online doing things other than an escalation. It might help to make posts a bit after an actual event.

Perhaps such managers lack interest in sharing or perhaps some skills or guidance. Ideally those in leadership positions can still find a way to be transparent on appropriate topics, getting help from marketing and others as needed. But blog posts should ideally be written by their posters.

Examples can help and perhaps this will change as sharers grow into management and leadership positions.

What about creating and managing your brand online?

It's good to spend some time on adjusting your blog so it looks good, though there's a temptation to keep working on the blog rather than blogging. You can see this if you happen to have the development skills to build a website yourself. I imagine designers have similar challenges knowing they can adjust and tweak the blog's look-and-feel.

I offered maybe it makes sense to skip the site design and theme altogether, so it's clear you wanted to focus on the content and sharing rather than the look-and-feel of the blog itself!

Personally, I started with a "hello world" post, not knowing where blogging would take me. But I was ready when the Big Opportunity came since I already had the blog and some practice writing ;-)

Is it okay to use some humor in your posts? For example, by ending a post with a humorous meme at the end.

Sure, if it fits how people know you or your online persona. I've had a mix of different kinds of posts, including humor on this blog. I've since found that certain types of posts belong on certain platforms, each with their own process and effort.
  • The personal blog, is well... personal. My own personal ideas and sharing go on the personal blog.
  • I represent my professional role in the official company community platform.
  • When I blog on the corporate website, I broaden the audience and get a bit more help and review from Marketing before posting.
  • The most informal posts are on social media, though I recommend still acting as though people might see your posts out of context.
I shared a story of when I mixed up these channels and posted something on Facebook, thinking my professional network would read it, but completely confusing my friends.

See my slides on SlideShare. Start or revisit your first (or next) blog on Blogger, Wordpress, Medium, or various other blogging systems or site builders. Share more!

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