Making time for social
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  ibmredbooks keith_brooks voicerite blogging ibm_redbooks ics ibm-champion lotusevangelist
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By Keith Brooks, Social and Collaboration Practice Leader, VoiceRite
What is it that makes people read one of my blog posts? I write two primary blogs and guest write on at least three others, but then people say to me, “You have way too much time on your hands”—presumably because they feel I am just sitting here writing these blog posts for eight hours a day.
Sorry to disappoint you all but I only spend seven hours a day writing them. Kidding, just kidding.
I do have a day job and a night job and a bunch of other things to keep me busy. I even take a whole 25 hours away from electronics every weekend. So where do these blogs come from? How much of my time do I spend on them? And what does this mean for you, your company or your marketing intern or social media manager?
First off, my “corporate” blogging is done on company time: a few minutes here or there, maybe a half hour of rambling ideas to see which direction I want to go, then another few minutes to work it out, and then some editing and it’s ready to post. All in all, I spend maybe an hour or two per post of normal length. Admittedly conference calls are my best writing time, especially ones I am expected to be on and am not running.
But what about all these other blogs? When do I write them, and why do I write them?
It’s interesting that the people who consume a lot of information are not always the ones that produce the information. Often times it’s those of us who do not consume so much who are most prolific. If I don’t write something down, I may never remember it or, worse, you, the reader, may not benefit from it. This type of motivation works for me, especially on my more technical posts. They are written for fellow administrators and business or sales people. Some of my posts, years old, still get hits daily, so obviously some of them are very useful.
What has been interesting is that some posts that I thought would be well read or heavily commented on often get ignored, and the ones that to me seemed innocent enough get bandied around the net.
Why discuss all of this? Because if you are a business leader or an executive and trying to find your muse I want you to understand that you may not have one. It takes commitment to blog; it takes time and you will have peaks and valleys of activity. If blogging is part of your job, you better love your job or product because unless you are a journalist, your lack of interest will emerge in time.
When you are hot for a topic, the posts write easily but can get rather detailed and lengthy. Sometimes I write posts for fun or for personal reasons about friends and family.
“That’s nice, but does it make you money or help your business?” The answer is that it does bring me projects, but it also brings me closer to some people so that when they need my help they will trust me to provide useful information. Being “available” to readers by way of Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype (username: Lotusevangelist) as well as email helps too. Blog posts have provided speaking engagements and in return have provided ideas for other events.
Without my blogging and social media usage I doubt I would have been privileged to be named an IBM Champion for both Websphere and IBM Collaboration Solutions, as well as an IBM Redbooks thought leader.
So do I have the time to write blog posts? Yes I do, because my ability to work and the prospect of bringing in more projects fuels the fire.
When I am really busy at work or home, or when I’m on vacation, much of the social side slows down. It doesn’t own me. No one can be on 100 percent of the time. I don’t feel forced to blog—and neither should you or your staff. Not everyone likes country music or brussel sprouts, but there are many ways to express yourself, so choose wisely and let your people do the same.
This post has been written while watching a basketball game (my team won), and it took about an hour or so to put together, for those who ask. (Note from editors: And some additional time for editing!)
Keith Brooks is the Social and Collaboration Practice Leader for Voicerite, an IBM Premier Business Partner. Keith has spoken at SugarCon, Lotusphere, the View Admin conferences and other industry events on subjects around messaging and social leadership. Keith has written articles, books and blogs around IBM products and solutions for over 20 years.
Keith is an IBM Redbooks thought leader