senses One of the great challenges in knowledge sharing, and in asynchronous communication, is to provide your audience with enough context to understand where your message ‘comes from’ — what mental models, preconceptions, hidden agendas, historical baggage and motivations filter and taint what you say. Conveying this context makes it easier for the recipient of your message to internalize what you’re saying more accurately and fully. It can also prevent misconceptions that lead to argument or disparagement of your point of view. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to let you know not only who I am (in the sidebar About the Author ), but also why I blog — what motivates me, on top of a heavy business workload, to spend at least 25 hours a week reading blogs and other resources, and writing my own blog posts. So here goes:

I do this for three equally important (to me) reasons:

  1. Improve My Writing Skills: I love writing, and always wanted to make a living at it. By reading a lot on many topics, and practicing incessantly, I hope to learn to:
    • write powerful, persuasive essays (like this one of Toby’s) that stake out radical positions without sounding strident,
    • write humour (like Dave Barry ), once I figure out what makes humorous writing funny,
    • write clear, motivating, informative and actionable business essays,
    • incorporate these 39 steps from Frederick Barthelme in my fiction writing, and 
    • broaden my eclectic intellectual reach so I have more knowledge to draw on in my writing (the way Mark Woods can).
  2. Institute Weblogs in Business: As Chief Knowledge Officer of a large professional services company, I’ve been grappling with two major cultural obstacles to knowledge sharing – employees’ reluctance to contribute their knowledge, and the absence of context sufficient to make knowledge that is contributed easy to assess, internalize and re-use. I think employee weblogs might solve both problems.
  3. Environmental Activism: Although the title of this blog is ironic, I am a hopeless idealist and really would like to make the world a better place. I’m about ten years from retirement, and plan then to dedicate my life full-time to environmental activism. I’m dissatisfied with existing environmental activist programs, which seem to me rear-guard, ineffectual, naive, inadequate, and often too little, too late to have major, lasting impact. I’m equally dissatisfied with the lack of coherent and actionable blueprints for environmental action, and I’m hoping that by blogging environmental manifestos like How to Save the World and The Third Way, SETI-like, I will be able to find like minds with whom I can work to drive a powerful, effective, broad-based environmental movement.

For those that have read my posts before, is this helpful? Should we make it part of the blogger culture that each of us provide some context for our writing with both a bio and a ‘why I blog’ summary?

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  1. Marie Foster says:

    I have been working on that for mine Dave. I blog for a lot of the same reasons. I have only in the past few days become aware of another reason for my fevered attempts to fling myself into my pages.I want to create some kind of legacy for my Grandson like my Grandfather’s Diary was for me.One of the reasons I have chosed Radio is the mirroring onto my local machine. Each week I make a CD of my blog site. To often children go through life not understanding that they have any personal history. I find that very sad.

  2. Charly Z says:

    I think the bio is simply a matter of courtesy. If you manage to hold people’s attention with your writing, it’s natural they might start wondering, “Yeah, but who the gosh-darnidt is this guy?”But a “why I blog” summary (could we call it “a personal weblogging manifesto”, or just a statment?)… Makes me think about what Stephen King wrote about author’s notes at the end of a book: only the curious and the academists bother reading them. So I guess a summary would only be read by the same kind of audience. It’s just a matter to who you want to cater to.

  3. Marie Foster says:

    all points to ponder as I tackle this project. My first step is to get the picture upstreaming to work. I was supposed to accomplish that like last Friday.

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Be prepared for surprises, Marie. Pictures are rendered differently by different browsers, so what looks fine with one browser can be a dog’s breakfast on another. I still get tripped up sometimes: the photo on this post looks fine to me with Netscape 6.2 and IE 5.5, but I’m told that in some other browsers the picture blocks out some of the words.Another caution – sometimes it takes as long as half an hour before the ‘every 10-second’ auto-upload of images works. What I do is put up the image HTML on my text editor well before ‘post time’, then change the URL in the HTML for the image to http://blogs.salon.com/000xxxx/images/name.jpg where xxxx is your Salon blog number and name.jpg is the name of the image in your www file. Then I wait until the picture shows up on my text editor (proving that it’s uploaded to the cloud) before I actual post. Otherwise you run the risk that your post refers to a picture no one can see, emperor’s-new-clothes style.

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