Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Blogging Versus Forums, Chat Rooms

Note: this was written for the Georgia Society of CPA's initial publication of their blog.

Why is it so hard to blog? Oh, I don’t direct this to the average person who has other things to do with his time. I mean the person who is already active in internet chat rooms, discussion forums, and mobile phone texting, and the like. Such a person is already used to communicating through his fingers on a keyboard. Why is it so very hard for him to blog?

(Yes, I mean her, too.)

Here’s an interesting example of this problem. For some years, I’ve been actively participating in the chess discussion sites on the internet. I like to play chess, you see. Over at the US Chess Federation’s(USCF) site, they maintain a discussion forum. I’m not as active there as I used to be but I’ve still racked up 1,666 posts so far. Much of them have been quite lengthy. In such a format, it is quite easy to just reach for a keyboard and start pounding away. Before I know it, I’ve knocked out several hundred words.

Yet, when it comes to blogging, there’s this block. Suddenly, I’m writing for the ages. I don’t know why this is different but it seems so. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one with this attitude. Last year, two individuals who were frequent contributors to the USCF’s forum, ran for that organization’s Executive Board. One of them was an internet expert.

Now, let’s stop and think. How would you, dear reader, run for an elective office of a national membership organization? Phone calls? Mail? Since this is a chess federation, we’re talking about here, many of the members are bound to be pretty geeky. So, a blog emerges as a promising campaign communications vehicle.

Both of these candidates started their own blogs. But then an interesting thing happened. These two individuals who were so verbose in these forums, became quite reticent when it came to blogging. At the end, one of them withdrew and the other finished last out of a field of 12.

I am sure that if they had devoted as much energy to their blogs as they did to their forum activities, they would have done much better. After all, in a forum, you’re deathless prose tends to get lost in the crowd and forgotten, while in a blog – your own blog – it is highlighted.

I think I’ve stumbled onto the answer to my problem: blogging is harder than texting or posting on forums and etc., precisely because it is more serious. But let’s face it. When you look at the blogs out there, they’re not as serious as all that. I figure that just the fact that I wish to write to some degree of quality, puts me ahead of most of the rest who don’t care. Good thing, too. I need all the edge I can get.