This is another in a series of case studies from people I interviewed in 2005 about their blogging efforts. Now as we move to 2013, I find it interesting to look back at the early days of business blogging. I will only include cases from people who are still blogging now. These cases have not appeared on this blog before.
Jack Vinson was one of the people I consulted with when I first started my Portals and KM blog in 2004. He gave me some helpful advice and encouragement. Jack continues to write the blog, Knowledge Jolt with Jack, with the current tag line: “This blog is about knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints and other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.” When we spoke in 2005 he had been considering a blog for a while and started to talk with Jim McGee, who still publishes the blog, McGhee’s Musings. Jim encouraged him to try a blog. Jack considered what to write about. He felt that his purely personal thoughts would not be of general interest.
Jack was interested in knowledge management so he picked this topic. He had written regularly for the newsletter of the Association of Knowledge Work. Jack simply wanted to try a blogging as another outlet for his thoughts on knowledge management. He was not looking for work through his blog as he had a regular job already at that point. His original objective was achieved but also expanded. Jack found he was building a community of people with similar interests, a common theme of bloggers.
Then his company was bought out and the Chicago division where he worked was closed. Jack did not want to move so he became an independent consultant. Now the already well-established blog became a vehicle for personal marketing. He discovered many people on a global basis as his community expanded. In some cases, he began a parallel email dialog and in others he just commented on their blogs and they reciprocated.
His only challenge now was balancing his consulting work and his family with the need to keep up his blog writing. With a full time consulting engagement and a new son he had done a bit less blogging recently when we spoke. At the same time Jack knew the market exposure gained through the blog provides value so he worked to keep up the content. His sources for content included other’s blogs, his experiences and opinions. He usually built his posts from stuff he found and took a conversational tone. His focus was knowledge management and personal effectiveness.
Jack read other blogs to get a larger context on what is happening in his market, as well as to find content for his own blog. He does not mention everything he finds in other blogs in his own blog, much is simply absorbed to give him a broader understanding.
Jack puts enough personal information about his family and interests to allow people to get to know him. He also appreciates when others do this as it makes it easier to make connections. He finds that bloggers are generally responsive to connecting on topics of common interest. For example, he recently asked Robert Scoble, the well-known blogger who was still at Micrsoft then, to part of a panel he was organizing and was pleased that Robert joined to session with very productive results.
Jack suggested that if you are considering starting a business blog to first read other blogs, especially those by people you respect in your market. Then comment on their blogs to join the conversation. This will allow you to better understand what you like and what works in blogging. Jack likes blogs that get to the point quickly. He offered Mathemagenic by Lilia Efimova as good example of a profound and concisely written blog.
Jack continues to make a significant contribution to the knowledge management conversation through his blog and I am very pleased that he has persisted with his writing.