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Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my Blog

Blogging isn't the same as writing a memo or a message in the corporate newsletter. And while it may not be as revolutionary as some make it out to be, there's still value there.

Blogs provide a quick way to publish on the Web and even create an online version of a water cooler discussion. If that appeals to you, here's a piece on the basics of writing a blog.

Since you're new to blogging (only a handful of CIOs blog) I'm writing this in the form of a blog to give you an example. Note that I'm writing in the first person. I'm also going to refer you to a lot of Web sites. Bloggers use links as a form of shorthand, so they don't have to stop to explain what they're talking about - a technology or a news story, for instance - and readers can click the link if they want to learn more.

To be honest, I don't come to blogging lightly. It made my nose wrinkle for a number of years. It looked like a reprise of the old Web community fad. That also promised to change the way people communicated, but its biggest impact was on how people gazed at their navels. It was also hard to see who would blog if they didn't have an ego the size of Everest, and why anyone would read something that seemed to consist mostly of screeds, outbursts and rants, which inspired not rational discussion but "flogs" (as in flame blog posts). Even the best blogs once seemed to push vendettas more than agendas. But things have changed.

"It's just a medium [for communication]" is what I was told by Margaret Mason, etiquette columnist at TheMorningNews.org and author of the forthcoming book No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog.

That helped me stop overthinking blogs. They're not a profound new means of expression. They're just a tool - another arrow in the communications quiver. If this were a real blog, I'd keep things short and stick to one topic per posting. Here, I'll cover three things: how to get started, how to navigate the blogosphere and a few final tips.

By the way, now that I'm blogging, I'm not going to change my personality. Anil Dash, who is a VP of professional services at Six Apart and has six (!) blogs, is one of several people who told me that I need to sound like me, or no one will take my blog seriously. He also warned me not to fall into the TMI (too much information) trap. "People got into trouble by feeling they should 'out-candid' each other," Dash says. "That's kind of a losing game."

But blogs do need to have a point of view: yours.

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