30 Days in the Blogosphere: Lessons in public relations, lessons in life

30 days. 27 posts. 3,200+ reader visits. Way too many words.

It’s been… Well, it’s been tough sledding. But fun just the same.
I learned a good bit in these 30 days, and this project has given me an exceptional return on my investment. I’d like to tell Shel Israel that I get his ROI point now — or at least I think I do.

Shel’s book, Naked Conversations, (co-authored with Scoble) inspired me to get naked.gifinvolved in the blogoshere. I am grateful, Shel. My wife is not. I’m also grateful to Shel’s readers. When he announced this blog’s “second coming,” he asked readers to give me a hand. I needed it, and they responded — some of them in the comment box of my first post, a few more via email.

ToughSledding started as an academic experiment. At Kent State, we’re highly focused on how online social networks are impacting public relations. But until I dove in, I was like most academics: an observer, not a participant. Sorry I waited. You can’t really understand something by standing on the sidelines.

I lost a lot of sleep because of this blog, but I never lost focus. I wrote posts that inspired some folks. They told me so. And I wrote a few dogs that inspired only smart-ass comments. No one can be ON every day, no matter what your passion. So you move to the next post.

With the first 30 days behind me, I’ve decided to slow down. I’ll limit myself to two posts a week from this point forward — one if I’m really busy, more if I’m not. I gotta get back to the thrill of teaching and the drudgery of bowshot.jpggrading. I also need to cut the grass, fix the shower head, and do a little bow hunting before the snow flies.

Oh, and I need to prove to my wife that I haven’t lost my mind. And that I still love her.

Before I take ToughSledding to the next chapter, let me share a few lessons from my 30 days in the blogosphere.

Blogging is addicting. You warned me Dino. You, too, Katie. It kept me up nights. Hell, it woke me up some nights. At times I neglected my students, my colleagues and my family to keep this experiment alive. Blogs should be PART of life, not the focus of it.

Blogging connects you to a new world. Wow, what you can learn reading other bloggers, not to mention the side trips you take while searching for the “perfect link.” Tune in, folks. Install an aggregator.

Blogging touches influential people. A number of folks who really matter in the PR biz have dropped in on this blog, some leaving “official” comments, others sending them via email. I’m grateful for your feedback, flattered by your attention.

Blogging makes you a better teacher. I gained new perspectives from my immersion in the blogosphere — perspectives on the PR business and on life. Blogs have added dimension to my lectures and to my assignments. Next semester, I’ll require my students to monitor the A-list bloggers in PR. And when I grow up, maybe I’ll be one of them. I’m not gonna worry about it. Life’s too short.

Blogging benefits from brevity (and alliteration). No one told me this, but some were thinking it: “Write shorter posts and I’ll read you more often.” Easier said than done. I treasure concise writing, and I’m good at it. But when you cut content vital to your point, you risk losing that point. If that happens, what IS the point?

Blogging renews the soul. When I launched ToughSledding my academic research agenda was dead in the water, a victim of the tranquilizer called academic tenure. Now I have more ideas than I can get my arms around, and can’t wait to start on them. If I cut back a bit on my postings here, maybe I’ll find time to do that.

The old man has new life!

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