I’ve had a few incidents (yes a few, so I am not referencing a specific “you” here) where I have received calls from people not too happy with one of my blog posts (shock). With each call, I couldn’t get the person to see past the fact that I wasn’t writing about him or her, per se, but was using the “incident” as a springboard to a broader conversation. In fact, one post actually said: “let’s take this incident and use it to discuss the broader issue of X.” (Paraphrase to hide the identity of the offended party in question.) So, for those who still don’t get it, who actually think this post is about them, here’s one of my processes for writing a blog post:
- I read an article, see a program, or have a conversation with a peer.
- I get inspired by the subject matter.
- My inspiration starts to churn around in my head, moving in different directions, inspiring other thoughts and ideas that now take on a life of their own.
- The ideas are random and don’t have any weight, are partially formed, and need to be organized.
- If I don’t write a blog post, my head will explode.
Writing at this point is cathartic. It clears my head. It helps by taking these random thoughts and organize them so that they make sense. It provides me a process so that I can then communicate these new ideas with clarity and relative finesse while standing around the coffee maker chatting with my partners. Granted, on numerous occasions I have referenced in a couple lines/block quote the gist of article, program or conversation, but that’s really the extent of it. OK. I’ll double admit to hyper-linking to the article so that the reader can readily review my observations on their own (gasp), and come to their own conclusions (double gasp). Or, worse yet, hyper-linking to the event to give that organization some press (oh, the humanity of it all). At this point, I am using that article, program or conversation as a SPRINGBOARD to a broader and larger discussion. It’s the beginning point of the “conversation” we social media geeks keep clamoring about. For instance, on my Facebook wall right now, we’re not talking about Cate Blanchet’s specific dress at the Oscars last night, but referencing it and using it as inspiration to the broader discussion of couture dresses as art rather than wearable clothing (and, yes, this is a complete exaggeration of our comments, but I am using it for dramatic license, so, Cate, please don’t get upset with me). Many years ago, at a Legal Marketing Association Leadership Conference, then LMA-president Diane Hamlin said “Let’s not act like a bunch of lawyers. Let’s not attack the example.” Wow. How true is that? So, please, don’t attack the example. Just because I mention you, doesn’t mean I’m writing about you. I might be writing the piece to be part of the conversation, or to get someone else’s attention via hyper-links to their article or name. In other words, I might just be referencing the article, event or post for the link bait it provides and nothing more.