"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Productivity
July 5, 2006

Blogging: This Thing We Do

What makes someone an expert? Whose expertise do you listen to? A recent conversation got me thinking about this.

Recently, I was chatting with someone about a business event they attended on blogging and marketing. They told me about how they boasted to their colleagues about knowing a blogger (AKA me), and how they took pride in never reading my “online diary” as they called this blog.

Apparently telling me this, describing the way they mocked my writing, was funny or something.

They kept going. Apparently blogs being a “younger person’s thing” or something like that. To be honest by that stage I was too focussed of the sound of my own soul deflating to pay any close attention to the discussion.

A blog is not an online diary and a lot more than an online journal, it is a conversation, a collective cultural conversation. Well that’s what I should have said, but I didn’t. I only thought of that later.

Though I did speak up when I was told I should read the Cluetrain Manifesto, and check out Gapingvoid.com, because apparently the expert at the business forum recommended it. I couldn’t help but point out that Hugh McLeod , of gapingvoid.com, was a friend of a friend and had actually quoted me on his blog!

If this person actually had read my blog, they would have found their way to the key texts their expert was citing a lot sooner.

But then, would it have carried weight for them without their expert’s recommendation? Would it have had the same gravitas if it was not cited in a key business leader in some networking conference thing? Sometimes, it’s not the content, it’s the context that makes a message compelling.

You could use this as a case study in not getting what the blogosphere is all about.

Maybe it is also a case study in why business leaders sometimes get trends massively wrong. What it has taught me (or maybe just reinforced), is that people who get the blogosphere understand that expertise is always a relative term and that the expert you need maybe closer and less lauded than you might expect.

Blogging and blog-reading shows us that sometimes the B-List is the best path to A-Class ideas.

UPDATE (2024): There was a real frustration in this piece. I had posted more than 300 blogposts in 2005 and got close to 400 in 2006. I was writing often. Not all of it was good. But it was a solid body of work. It’s always amazed me that people sometimes want to be close to you and yet hold a cool, even sneering distance from what you do.

Toni 18 years ago

There are those who think and those who are told what to think. This is often, but not always, knowledge/familiarity/topic dependant.

Some (few) will think where ever they are.

Most of us, me included, will think when we have varying degrees of insight and confidence.

Some apparently never think at all.

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Thanks for that Toni. I suspect I agree with that.

Matt Stone 18 years ago

Not so much different for the world of theology either. Not what you know but who recommends you.

Fernando Gros 18 years ago

Too true Matt…

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