No, not that kind of branding.
I’ve read about Personal Branding before; about promoting yourself, your talents, and your knowledge as an asset. There are entire companies dedicated to helping people with it. And it always seemed like a really interesting concept – for people who have a brand in the first place. I figured once I too became a legend like Uncle Bob or Steve Jobs or Jon Skeet, then I’d have a personal brand to manage.
I stumbled onto the topic again last week; one article lead to another, and I ended up watching a 2-part presentation by Scott Hanselman; and something he brought up really struck me. He made the point that there is a finite number of keystrokes we’ll each be able to type in our lifetime, so how efficient will we make them?
You see, I occasionally write large emails at work. (And if any of my co-workers are reading this blog, they’re probably grimacing in acknowledgement right now.) We all know how much people hate meetings; so sometimes when I feel the need to make a strong point on a given topic, I’ll put together a … thorough … email instead. I figure hey – it’s fresh in my mind, I can make my case in one solid block, I can include charts and diagrams, and people can refer back to it later. And all without the singing and dancing that goes into scheduling and preparing a sit-down meeting/presentation. So I take the time and effort, write up an extensive email, and then … I send it to maybe 10 people max. Some of whom, upon seeing it’s sheer size, immediately roll their eyes and move on to something else.
I’m not conserving my keystrokes.
Whatever information I come up with, whether it’s amazing or not, is being researched, aggregated, compiled, packaged for export, … and then getting lost in transit. While I might not be one of the legends of software development, I can contribute what I have to the global pool of knowledge. Those essays I wrote should not have been forced on people who were not interested in them. They should have been put in a place where they could be permanently accessed by anyone at any time, and they should have been indexed so the people who do care about those topics could find them.
They should have been put in a blog.
A blog gives me all the benefits of the email, but without the huge drawback of locking the information away where it can’t be useful. And it gives me the additional benefit of leaving an actual mark on the world. What you see here (on this page) is the result of my decisions this past week to change the way I work; to conserve my keystrokes and make them more efficient. I’m a blogger now! This will be my brand, my footprint. And it will live forever – because the internet never forgets. I absolutely love to learn about computers, software, technology, and science – in fact some around me have called it an addiction. I don’t expect to find fame and fortune with this blog; but it will serve as my repository where I can store the knowledge I find in a way that will hopefully be of some use to the world.
So, welcome! Come in and make yourself at home! You can also follow me on Twitter now as well. Hopefully something here will be useful to you on your own adventure. And for heaven’s sake, get your own blog started!