The risk of becoming conservative

No I am not talking about politics. I am talking about the increasing sense I have had over the past few months that “stating the obvious” is becoming harder. Some of you may have noticed that I have been blogging less over the past few months and there are a number of reasons for this.

Part of it is that working with the clients I do I don’t always feel I can write about my work. Not that any of it is secret, but I feel sensitive to their right to choose when and how our work is made public. Secondly I have been blogging for eight years and there is this feeling, that continues to grow that, I have already written about most things – at least once!

The last reason is possibly the most concerning and the main prompt for this post. I feel more watched than ever before. I don’t get vast numbers of readers for this blog but the ones I do tend to be smart, vocal and influential. As a result I get more and more concerned about what “they” will think. Will they think I am stupid, will they think I have lost my touch, will they think I have lost my relevance?

Risk is one of the main inhibitors to blogging, especially in a corporate environment. All those voices that you imagine saying things like “Who are you to say that?” or even “Who am I to say that?” or as an older relative of mine once said “Oh yes – blogging – that’s just people expressing their opinions” – get ever louder and more difficult to ignore. Giving in to these sorts of risks though is why people stop saying what they think – and sometimes even stop thinking! It becomes easier just to stay quiet and let things pass you by.

Well, it may or may not come as a relief to you, dear reader, to know that I am going to resist these pressures and renew my efforts to state the obvious and continue to fill this blog with the inane burbling you have come to expect!

15 thoughts on “The risk of becoming conservative”

  1. Well put, Euan, on all fronts. I, like you, get the feeling sometimes that it has all been said before – in my particular corner of the field there are many bloggers who seem happy to make the same points over and over again. Perhaps that is not a problem, especially if even a small number of people are reading those well-trodden lines for the first time. Better the occasional original thought than the constant repitition of clichéd mantras. So, on we go……….

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  2. I’d comment but I’ve done too much of that in the past, so don’t want to say anything I might have said before.Well, guess I did comment after all. There’s a reason why your smart and often / sometimes influential readers are still checking you out.

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  3. Re: what is said in the past … I too "suffer" from that, and realize that even if 10 or 20 or 30 people may have read something written quite a while ago, that leaves x + n who may not have.The (or an) issue is that with hyperlink driven circulation, many issues get homogenized and / or superficialized to a significant degree, and top attention earners often get credited or recognized for things (many) others may have said / been saying.I think I feel that the generalized lull in blogging by many who have been doing it for many years is a form of plateauing before "moving" to the next level of public-conversations-out-loud. I’ve seen many sociological impulses and drives over the years now, such as … 1. calls to organize and activate more / better using online capabilities,2. shorter posts in order to get / keep peoples’ attention, 3. longer posts so as to be able to examine / explore issues, 4. to twit or not to twit,5, flow instead of blow-by-blow,5. life or work-streaming. 6. What is advertising .. is someone who blogs just "advertising" (in a sense) regardless of content … … and on and on.It’s fun learning how to play with new toys. It’s less "play" fun but more "serious" fun, perhaps, sustaining the desire and capability to "play" with new tools and new conditions after the newness wears off. But in the case of connected communications, oh-so-important IMO to keep at it, otherwise it’s not much of a slide back to environments where others control information and opinion for your convenience and benefit 😉

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  4. My friend, I could go very long in answering this. Hope this helps.Repetition: Your audience changes. Constantly over time. Repetition is not only good, but necessary (within reason). Noone ever delves into blog archives except for search engines. Doing a link to your previous blog helps orient yourself too. Repetition also allows one to revisit closely-held beliefs, and re-challenge them (If one is a good blogger. If one is not, then they keep repeating their dogmas in different phrasings for years on end). Longtime visitors will forgive you … or simply send you an email asking if you’ve had a physician’s checkup for Alzheimer’s.Others’ perceptions: Valid concern, one all webloggers chew over with every posting. The old Lincoln quote: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt" sticks in the mind. Choose your ability to accept risk (freedom of expression versus the damage a mistaken assessment could do to career/rep), and have at it. We only learn from being wrong, never from being right. That being said, I tend to be rather exhaustive in my research before posting controversial statements. I also feel the paranoia over being ‘always right’ in the blathersphere. Yet when you’re wrong, it’s amazing the characters, the authorities, who show up to teach you why you’re wrong. It’s much more valuable than being right all the time. Challenges you to the core, more often than not.Client work: I never talk about clients or client projects directly, at any time. Not without permission. That being said, concepts that are being applied with clients, that are not proprietary to that client, I will discuss. America’s all about liability these days, so I may be oversensitive on this issue. I also fear giving my best techniques to my competition. That clams me up more than most other things.Finally: Remember that we read you because of your character, as well as your opinions and expertise. If you make a mistaken assessment, we know your character well enough that you will learn from that, and go beyond our expectations in your next assessment.Ultimately, the assessment of risk/reward is your own. Dip your toes in, get a feel for the water. This is one place where you don’t go jumping in the middle of the pool naked, with your opinion hanging out.

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  5. Wonderful comments guys. One of the things I am most proud of from my years of blogging is the great people I have got to know through it!

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  6. Resist! Don’t let concern about what people will think ever shut you up.Which of course reminds me I occasionally have similar concerns, and that it is time to start blogging again.

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  7. Others’ perceptions: Valid concern, one all webloggers chew over with every posting. The old Lincoln quote: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt" sticks in the mind. Choose your ability to accept risk (freedom of expression versus the damage a mistaken assessment could do to career/rep), and have at it. We only learn from being wrong, never from being right. That being said, I tend to be rather exhaustive in my research before posting controversial statements. I also feel the paranoia over being ‘always right’ in the blathersphere. Yet when you’re wrong, it’s amazing the characters, the authorities, who show up to teach you why you’re wrongInteresting and useful comments from garrett, but lurking in there somewhere is also, I think, the notion of being politically correct, or in deference to authorities or at least those who pay the bills, and writ large I often think that’s one of the ways American society has gone off the rails. Anything other than socially acceptable mainstream "conversation" almost gets labelled as something to be avoided, ignored or shunned and impoverishes us all.What Flemming said !

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  8. History repeats itself all too often and our leaders don’t seem to learn. Hopefully you will have more luck…Keep ’em coming. Salv

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