I was recently asked to write an article about blogging for inclusion in a piece focussed on social media and how it will both challenge and change our profession as a whole and the more I wrote the more it helped me sort out my own thoughts on the matter.
One thing I’ve realised is that even if you don’t think social media will impact your own professional circumstances, I have no doubts that it will change the way our profession is perceived.
I’ve also come to realise that I’ve done a fair bit of talking about a lot of this stuff, yet continue to be stalled on actually doing it. So, with a new year stretching ahead of me I guess it’s time to put up or shut up.
As I have control of our developer community website the most obvious place to start is with a blog. Using the blog to publish short articles, and allowing people to comment on them seems to be a straightforward approach and with some encouragement I know some of the developers will contribute short articles as well.
The challenge will come in how we seed the community. At present it’s telling that with a little bit of PR, the number of people visiting the community website rises, so for now I’ll continue with the old school methods to drive traffic to the website (mainly through ‘update’ emails). Hopefully, if we provide enough interaction opportunities on the website, that need will drop away and the community well start to sustain itself.
Social media is a strange beast at times. There is always a lot of noise at first and, when it dies away it can seem like there isn’t much substance left. However, the people who are succeeding at using social media services, the people at the cutting edge of such things, the people who adopt new ideas and technology and are ready and willing to try them out to see if they work, are finding that there is a much richer set of capabilities than may be obvious, and the real value in your use of social media isn’t the technology but the people who use it, the community.
Your circumstances may mean that, for reasons outwith your control, social media just cannot be considered. However for everyone else, surely it’s time you took a step back and thought about the information you produce, the community of people who use it, and how best to meet their needs.
Maybe it’s time to make some brave choices.
And if you’ve come this far it’s about now that the reality of social media hits home.
You see for all the strengths and possibilities that the myriad of social media services offer, the one thing that no-one else can tell you is what choice to make. The direction you take depends on too many variables that only you know but, at this point, there is only one thing worse than making the wrong decision.
Not making a decision at all.
The information platform is changing, it is evolving and will continually evolve over the coming few years. You can’t afford to wait until the evolution is finished, you need to jump aboard now. You’ll need to learn fast, figure things out as you go, plan as best you can, and concede defeat at times but if you don’t then you’ll be left where you are now.
Except it’ll be 3 years further down the line and the rest of the world will have moved on.