Let’s try this again!

This is my first REAL blog post, so if it seems over-edited, cut me some slack. I was trained as a journalist, a style that may be a bit “smooth” for the blogosphere. Don’t hate me for understanding the comma. I have this unnatural respect for the language—even if my proofreading skills are lacking sometimes.

Why does a 52-year-old college prof wait so long to blog? Guess I couldn’t see the return on investment, and there HAS to be one. That’s my rule. And to be honest, I still don’t see what a blog will do for me. But I’m diving in, hoping to learn something from the experience.

I’m not ignorant about blogs, just inexperienced. As an educator in the field of public relations at Kent State, I’ve been casually reading blogs for more than two years. I’ve read 4-5 books on the topic. And every day, even before I check e-mail, I pull up Newsgator to check my favorites. I’m even one of the old farts with a page on Facebook! (Wanna be my friend?)

When I call this my first REAL post…well, that’s not entirely true. I attempted this project last weekend on Blogger. It was up about 18 hours when my frustration with the software (and suggestions from a few veteran bloggers), led me to take it down. I’m starting over at WordPress where I found that posting a picture doesn’t take a degree in computer science. That said, I’m still struggling. It took me a full day just to figure out how to insert links. (I love what technology can do for me, but I don’t want to know how it works.)

I’m skeptical about the long-term impact of blogs on my field, public relations, and on business in general. But I’m convinced that blogs in some form or another are here for the long haul.

Blogs are part of that online social network that everyone is yakking about. They’re cool and they’re fun. But are blogs important? Maybe I’ll find out.

I hope to post to this site regularly, but I also hope to avoid blog addiction. Dino Baskovic, a former student who talked me into this blogging thing, tells me the process is heroin-like. I’ll try to do it in moderation, but that’s never worked for me. My motto: Everything to excess!

Thanks to Dino for pushing me along. Now all we need is an audience.

Also a tip of the hat to Shel Israel, co-author of Naked Conversations, the book that inspired me to start blogging. Shel is one of handful of folks who caught my first attempt on Blogger last week and sent a welcoming note. I’m back, and I think a bit more focused.

What’s next? I’ll let you know in few days.

10 Responses to Let’s try this again!

  1. Todd Defren says:

    Bill – Welcome to the blogosphere. One piece of advice, per Shel Israel: If you are going to take this seriously (and it seems that you might), then, spend an entire weekend reading as many PR blogs as you can. I suggest that you literally devote that much time, upfront, to checking out the conversations that are happening, the technology people are using, the voices and tone, etc.

    Have a pencil handy as you do so. You will learn a lot, first of all. You will also get a lot of ideas for what you want to write about and comment on. Comment a lot. Link to sites whose voices you enjoy. Check out Technorati and try some sample searches related to PR, marketing, etc. Check out the NewPR wiki at http://newpr.crispynews.com/ for ideas, too.

    Most of all, try to enjoy it. Good luck!

  2. Welcome (back) to the blogosphere, Bill. Shel said to come over here and give you one tip about blogging, so here’s mine: write about what’s on your mind. Don’t worry about whether it will be interesting to anyone else. If it’s got your attention, then you’ll write about it in an interesting way. Dig deep, rather than just scratching the surface of the topic. Dig until you get under your own skin and it hurts at least a little bit. That’s when you’re genuine.

    Please don’t take this as a lecture — you’re probably a better writer than I am. Rock on!

  3. shel israel says:

    Bill,
    Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a comment. So here’s another piece of advice. Join other people’s conversations. Leave comments on other sites that add value to their conversation. Those bloggers over time will come to yoursite and perhaps comment or link.

  4. Toby says:

    Welcome (again) to the blogosphere Bill. At my pal Shel’s request here’s my one idea to add to your blog bag of tips. Incorporate your personality into your writing including integrating some touches that tell about Bill the “person.”

    Not meant as a plug, but if you’d like to read the back-stories of how and why people are blogging stop by http://www.blogggerstories.com. You’ll even learn how blogs saved Shel Israel from a future of selling shoes!

    If I may add one more tip .. don’t forget the fun. Blogging/social media is one of the grand adventures of the ‘early’ 21century.

  5. Katie Paine says:

    Welcome to the blogosphere — and it is like heroin. I’ve been a writer all my life and have never enjoyed the process as much as I love to blog. I also know that I’m much much smarter — which is a good thing given how many speeches I’m giving these days. Love what you’ve done so far.
    I’d love to know what you’re teaching your students about public relations measurement these days.. Its a subject near and dear to my heart, if you can’t guess from my blog and web site: http://kdpaine.blogs.com and http://www.measuresofsuccess.com

  6. Thanks for the note, Katie. Your reputation as a measurement guru precedes you.

    Measurement has a role in each and every public relations class at Kent State. At the “principles” level, it’s a discussion of “why measure?” then a review of the techniques professionals use. Do we miss some? I suspect so. The textbooks have such a long publishing cycle, they can’t keep pace. In every “skills” class students are forced to identify the outcomes they seek on each client project AND identify exactly how they’ll measure in terms of awareness, attitude and/or behavior changes. In the senior campaigns class, students must present in some detail the mechanisms they plan to use to measure results.

    If you don’t stress measurement in PR education, I don’t know how you can ever produce strategic thinkers. But I worry that we’re always a step behind by not being in the field day to day — a constant challenge for those of us who moved to the academic side. But rest assured, our students never skip the “E” in the RACE formula.

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