“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust

Starting a new blog, goofing up the domain name for an established blog (www.mguhlin.org isn’t working anymore, but you can find Around the Corner at mguhlin.blogspot.com) hasn’t been fun. What has been fun is

  • Writing in Markdown. It slows me down a little, making me think a bit about what I’m saying. It’s like getting a new pen and pad of paper that you want to write on. Do you put the ** to bold something before or after the link in parenthesis? (after, BTW)
  • Asking myself, “What do I want to focus on in this iteration of my blog?”

Photo by Ruben Ortega on Unsplash

One question that hasn’t really arisen? Is blogging really dead? Well, I mean, I wrote about it in this entry, but obviously, the answer is, “No” as @noplasticshower responded via Mastodon.

Harold Jarche’s Take

Harold makes some great points in his 02-19-2024 blog entry. He even quotes that venerable favorite every blogger back in the day read, Rick Levine’s The Cluetrain Manifesto:

Last year I said that I hoped that we see a return to more people blogging as they realize how much surveillance capitalism and the platform monopolists are robbing from citizens and civil society. “A knowledge worker is someone whose job is having really interesting conversations at work.” —Rick Levine (1999) The Cluetrain Manifesto — and that’s what blogging is all about.

I can get behind the idea that “surveillance capitalism” is bad (capital “B” bad?) and that platform monopolists are stealing from us all. It often feels quite difficult to imagine…we’re drowning in all the PR and services shoved down our throats.

Takeaways from The Cluetrain Manifesto

The Cluetrain Manifesto is full of great ideas whose time has come and then been ignored to some degree. That said, here are a few ideas that continue to ring true for me:

  • We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers, we are human beings. And our reach exceeds your grasp. deal with it.
  • People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
  • Respect for hands-on knowledge wins over respect for abstract authority.
  • Command-and-control management styles both derive from and reinforce bureaucracy, power tripping and an overall culture of paranoia.
  • When we have questions we turn to each other for answers. If you didn’t have such a tight rein on “your people” maybe they’d be among the people we’d turn to.

Harold shares that he uses his blog as a way to connect with other professionals. That’s less true for me these days. What I use it for now is getting my “half-baked ideas” out there, not only for future use but to exorcise them from my thinking.

It’s so easy to fall for stupid stuff, to think and believe stupid stuff. Pretty soon, it starts clogging your brain paths. By writing it down, you’re getting it out of your head. At least, that’s what I see happening.

Doug Johnson Responds

Doug from The Blue Skunk Blog dropped a comment via email to me, which I’ll share here:

I continue to struggle with the need/reason/content for my blog, especially now that I have stepped back from education and technology and school libraries. (Retired now for nearly 5 years!) As always, I continue to blog for my own amusement and if others get some joy from reading my posts, all the better.

Finding purpose to write reminds me that we’re not our jobs. Around the Corner was a blog I started to process and explore new technologies in a leadership role. But these days, while I might still be in a leadership role, I lack the same enthusiasm to write about the latest gadget.

I’ve seen edtech come and go, and it’s mostly a flash in the pan. Every year, you get some new tech and then people chase after it, trying to be the ONE who shares or makes something everyone will want to click on and read. In a few months, it’s over and onto the next big thing.

ASIDE: Right now, that big thing is AI. AI is everywhere, you can’t swing a mouse from the tail without hitting somebody or something discussing AI. But in the final analysis, will AI as it is now and how it might be next month going to fundamentally change how the human brain works? Probably not. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, that we all don’t need to learn more about it, but…calm down folks.

Instead, I find myself, in this blog (Another Think Coming) trying to find my voice again, that sense of authenticity. Whether people read it or not, eh, who cares? That was never my reason for blogging. But if I can make it a little more fun, why not?

Doug goes on to write:

I enjoyed your recent posts. One of them made me think of a book I recently read titled The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef. I was sufficiently impressed with it to buy copies for my grandson. Clarity of thinking seems more important than ever in this crazy world.

Not surprisingly, I have also picked up a copy of Galef’s book. It’s sitting in my pile of unread books I need to get to. That will be another blog post, I’m sure. Soon.

A Cemetery of Ideas

As I go back over old blog entries, I realize how many other blogs have simply faded away. But there are also old web pages, blog entries that have vibrant stories to tell…if only someone would read them. They are a cemetery of ideas, waiting for a zombie virus to reanimate their corpses, to see what, if anything, they can spread their ideas to.

The concept of an idea virus isn’t new. I became aware of it when Seth Godin shared it in 2000 with his book, which you can still download online for free, here: Unleashing the Idea Virus.

A short summary:

Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.

Let them talk. Or, blog.