A post from Atanas has several of us wondering on why we blog. Bill Dollins stuck a post out there and here goes mine.
When I started the company the “web” was one of those things I didn’t understand. I went through several iterations of the website: Static HTML, Drupal, Joomla. and finally wordpress. As if you couldn’t tell – this website runs off wordpress. Through all of theses iterations I quickly determined I wasn’t a “web guy” – I’m a “gis guy” and wordpress just works for me.
I’ve always like to write – so I spent an inordinate amount of time tweaking and changing things – after all I need this business to look uber professional (that’s a joke). The blog became an accidental outlet. I could talk about work and life. So posts that show up here may have squat to do with GIS and more about life. As of lately my posts have focused on QGIS (my new GIS desktop love affair) and less about ArcGIS. More on life and how it changes. I post news up here – I post things I find interesting.
So I tried to do some sort of wizardry and pull the number of posts per year out of wordpress. After 15 minutes I stopped. I end up at about a blog a week. Some weeks more and some less. Overall I guess I have slowed down on the technical end of GIS and have been more about the stories end of work. The US Virgin Islands. Some crazy client oriented activities. My own personal belief over the last few years is that GIS people care little on hearing about maps – they do like the story behind the project. The why and the who. I chuckle over ESRI’s current map story initiative. I spent 16 years at TVA – The story isn’t being told by a map – the story is how the map got here. The map should tell it’s own story. Kinda like this company.
So ultimately why do I blog:
1. I’m not quiet. I find things and I talk about them. Be it personal or business related.
2. I want to give back and provide some focus. GIS is a mess right now in my opinion. There is innovation at every corner. People still struggle with pulling acreages out of polygons (or at least my clients do).
3. It’s just fun.
4. Advertising: It’s cheap. I pay $100 dollars a year for hosting through Dreamhost. I blog. It gets tweeted. It gets posted to Facebook. I cross post to Google+. Does it make a difference? Yes. Will someone take a class or hire me because of a blog post/website – it’s happened. I hope it happens again.
Why is there a downturn? Atanas is right – there is one – and I think it’s ultimately:
1. Facebook. I’m really growing to not care much for facebook. So many companies pour time and effort into it – and I ultimately believe only one person gets benefit out of it – the owner of the company. FB I think probably did more to kill off blogging than any one thing.
2. All other forms of Social Media: Google+/instagram/twitter/linkedin. Yeah – Google+ is a wasteland out there – but if there is a FB killer it’s this one. I’ve been spending more time up there as of late posting and trying to increase my visibility. Ultimately Google is benefiting from me being there – but I think less so than FB. I love twitter. If you’ve read some of my tweets – I’m sorry. I do have fun up there and have made several tweeting friends.
3. Time: we are way too busy. I am. I’ve got 5 things I need to be doing right now.
Bill is right - communication is changing. I think we’re in a hyper mode of communication change. My phone does way too much. I cut my land line 5 years ago. I can tell everyone where I am with two clicks of my phone. The way we interact is changing every year. I don’t see that stopping for a very long while.
Is GIS blogging dying? Maybe – I ain’t stopping though. I enjoy it too much. I hope all of you enjoy reading the insanity.