IBM Corporate Service Corps - Malaysia 2013
Blogging - lessons learned

For our IBM CSC assignment, it was recommended that we use social media effectively.  Many of us had never blogged before, but most of our team of twelve attempted it.  A few never got theirs off the ground, some set it up but didn’t get much further than the initial one or two blogs, and only about two or three of us continued to blog all the way through.  Although I am not claiming to have done an exceptional job at blogging, I am sharing some of my lessons learned as a first-time blogger, for those of you who may be wanting to get started:

1. It is not as easy as it seems.  Requires thought, research, and time.

2. If you do not dedicate yourself to it, then the days can turn into weeks without any blog updates.  Commit yourself to doing it.  In my case, I treated it as a deliverable of my CSC assignment.

3. Consideration of your target audience is not that easy, either.  You do not really know who is reading your blog…it could be anybody.  Your boss, colleagues, executives, friends, clients, family, neighbours, even your mother!  Or anyone out there on the net!  Thinking about what may be interesting to such a wide audience requires some extra mental cycles.

4. It is hard to know if you’re hitting the mark.  Considering that you do not really know your entire target audience, it is difficult to get feedback.  Sure, I’ve had about 7-8 people tell me that they are enjoying my blog, but are they telling me that because they are my friends?  Are my blogs interesting for the rest of my target audience?  I’m not really sure…

5. Telling a story is important because it helps address the question “why would anyone care”?  Since I love taking pictures, I was able to connect related pictures and events to tell a story that would make the pictures and my experiences relevant.  Before hitting the “Publish” button, I would think about how key people reading my blog might react.  Would they like it?  Would it make them smile?  Would it make them think?  Would this be interesting or new for them?

6. More pictures, less words.  People are busy and do not want to spend a lot of time reading a lot of words.  A quick snapshot is all that most people have the time or mental bandwidth for.  So, pictures with captions that indicated the relevance of the events was how I decided to blog.  I also included some additional information to keep it interesting, such as historical facts, news headlines, people’s reactions, etc.  This is where some research was required to acquire and validate facts.

7.  Enjoy it.  I must admit that I did enjoy the experience of blogging.  Although apprehensive and unsure of myself as I started, I started to gain confidence as some feedback started to trickle in from a few of my friends and family.  At least these few people were reading my blog and enjoying it.  Hopefully others were, too.  But even if everyone did not enjoy my blog, I was also doing it for myself.  It was a chronological, experiential and pictorial capture of my adventure, which was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Rather than having thousands of pictures sitting on my computer, I have something more substantial to go to when I want to look back.  So, look for the reasons about why you are blogging, and remember them when you are too tired to blog, and do it anyway before the days turn into weeks.

I hope this helps!

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