Jim Grisanzio has a note here commenting on Tim Bray’s 10 reasons to blog, and I agree with him totally. As I explained it to one of my non-technical friends a few weeks ago, blogging is the part of my day that I most look forward to, unlike, say, filing expenses. But one of the questions I’ve been considering more and more often is this: how fun would it still be if someone made me do it?
The context for this question is simple: wherever I go these days, whoever I’m talking to, the subject of blogging almost inevitably comes up. I might bring it up, they might bring it up, but either way it’s a frequent topic of conversation. When I’m asked about my opinions for blogging on their business, I – of course – recommend that people get their employees blogging. Not that I’m some religious convert who believes that blogging is the solution to all of life’s ills (it’s not), or that it’s appropriate for every individual within a firm (it’s not), but I do believe that more often than not it’s in both an employee’s and an employer’s best interests.
Pretty straightforward, I know. But what if the employees don’t want to blog – or worse, outright refuse to? Frankly, this is a difficult question for me to answer because I have a hard time remembering what it was like not to blog, but it’s a situation coming up frequently enough that it deserves an answer.
Basically, my answer would be to do everything possible to encourage employees to blog, short of making it mandatory. Why? A few reasons. First, because I don’t think it will be necessary: with rare exceptions, the best employees are either already blogging or recognize that eventually they’ll probably have to. It’s a self-selection process. Second, making it mandatory would, I think, take much of the fun out of it and therefore diminish both the incentive to blog and (likely) the quality of the blog. Lastly, blogging is just such a logical choice, I think it’s inevitable that many – not all, but many – employees will end up doing it. Soon enough – if it hasn’t happened already – blogging will become one of those non-mandatory mandatory activities, just like “optional” film sessions were during my brief college football career.
So I encourage everyone to read Tim Bray’s reasons for blogging, and hope you come to the conclusion that Tim does – that it’s good for you. But employers, I’d caution against trying to strong arm people into it – as much as it might make sense because analysts like me are telling you “you need more people blogging.” Everyone needs to look at blogging for themselves and decide where it fits with their skillset, job resonsibilities, and time constraints. Trying to compel that discussion, in my opinion, would only damage the authenticity that’s the hallmark of a good blog.