Sunday, May 20, 2007

Inspiration or Discipline?

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.


The Top 10 Reasons I Launched a Blog

  1. A number of colleagues who read postings of mine over the past nearly decade on an internal online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and heterosexual IBMers finally asked late last year if I blogged and I banished the thought, feeling nicely cocooned just where I was
  2. An ex-boyfriend, now friend, from high school and college asked if I blogged and I knew the answer was yes, but that it wasn't official, since it wasn't yet external/on the web
  3. I noticed that men's were nearly the only IBMers' voices of which I was readily aware...went to check my experience and hypothesis, and a number of hours later, having proven myself right, returned(and meanwhile, found my colleague David Singer's and from David's blogroll, my former colleague Ed Costello's, and from Ed's,, where I spent a huge chunk of time identifying 60+ songs for my playlist...more about discipline relatively shortly)
  4. Two of the most inspirational of the blogs were by a soon-to-become-a-greater-IBMer colleague and current, greater IBM colleague, and yet, I was reticent because who was I to blog?
  5. One of my mentors, featured among Mavericks at Work, Jane Harper, told me that I "must" launch my own, externally visible blog
  6. I read my employer's blogging guidelines and determined them to be fair to follow
  7. I missed keeping a journal, as I had been assigned to do by my professor during Fall Semester
  8. While enrolled in ORLD 4500 Learning Democratic Practices, I was moved more so than ever to be public about what mattered to me
  9. I thought of how I had been posting internally, behind IBM's firewall for nearly a decade, and how it was time for another coming out...and after seeing how David Singer began his blog in 2000, I was inspired possibly to cull the best of my internal posts and bring them further to light here (Done! See the sidebar -- on the left-hand side of the blog)
  10. Finally, as I thought about it further, I did post excerpts from a coming-of-age memoir on a geocites site in the late '90s, but when I went to geocities just now, I could not even recall my ID or password, and the site hasn't shown up in Google searches of me for ages, and so probably, it's gone...but I guess that could have counted as an early foray.
    Note: One of you was kind enough to unearth it through a more sophisticated/more attentive search than mine apparently, and to add your discovery as a comment here....I don't know how to access the Juno e-mail address anymore, but the guestbook works in any case and I welcome your feedback.

Inspirational Books

Several posts ago, I declared my wish to read whatever I wanted throughout my vacation, and so far, they've included two and a half books on blogging that I got out of the Montclair Library on Friday:

  • Hugh Hewitt's (informative, even as our worldviews differ....After reading the book, I went to his blog to see homage by him to Jerry Falwell, but didn't readily find any, and so felt less guilty for making no comment about the preacher's death, that is, in support of my people -- gay and lesbian, and Jews, about whom Jerry Falwell had some nasty words -- I thought initially that I ought to post an opinion, but what is there to say when anyone dies, other than may his loved ones be comforted in their grief?)
  • Blogging for Dummies by Brad Hill (helpful)
  • Biz Stone's (not done with this one yet, but like his enthusiasm).

I'm still not yet clear on how to work with RSS and other feeds, or tagging, but I imagine my colleague Steve Dale will be kind enough to give me a Part II to the previous blogging tutorial.

The other books so far have included finishing Kiran Desai's great novel and skimming The Pity of It All, where Elon's (2002) best line was, "The patience of the oppressed has always been the most inexplicable, as well as probably the most important, fact in all history" (p. 24). That line could have been included in a book review of Desai's book had read the book and written those were two cheery(!) books.

And then I've been picking up The Namesake again just before sleep, and also, have read the Zingerman's customer service book and was impressed, thinking back on how parallel to my most recent experience was the author's manifesto; the cheese guy told me which cheeses needed no refrigeration and would work as part of the next morning's breakfast, and then cut off the rinds for me, since he knew I was a traveler without my home-kitchen.

Discipline and the Other Side of the Same Coin

It does take inspiration and discipline to begin and sustain a blog, I'm learning. It's demanding and alluring in parallel.

For me, the inspiration comes from cultural experiences, relationships, reading and the writing itself.

The discipline comes from knowing that it's sharpening my mind, and also from wanting to sustain even the 10-14 average of visits the blog receives daily by posting at least every couple-to-few days. While on vacation, it's easier, and it's also harder...because I have time to discover widgets and toys that keep me from creating my own original writing; I'm curious to learn more about twittering, for example. Uh, oh, off I go again.

I'm back. After I created a Twitter profile, I was asked by the site, "What are you doing now?"

"Procrastinating, rather than finishing my current blog entry," I typed in response.

Blogging in my experience so far is risky (e.g., will I be discounted as juvenile for including a music playlist on my blog, or will people understand that just as many bloggers and others are motivated by newsfeeds, music is more inspirational to me), it's isolating (e.g., I haven't stopped to swim today), it's practically thankless (e.g, my own mother's not particularly proud of me for engaging in it and that is not to say that I'm not immensely grateful for the kind feedback that a number of you have kindly given me so far, but...), and it's energizing (e.g., I feel especially alive whenever I'm writing, which includes blogging), hopeful (e.g., I feel I'm part of something bigger than myself), connection-filled (e.g., my classmate and friend Zdravko pleasantly surprised me when he said aloud the same thing I'd been thinking for years: Hypertext is just like the commentaries that surround Biblical text in a concordance, and so I've been familiar with a sort of hypertext since young childhood) and fun (e.g., I'm better-equipped to converse with our 14-year-old niece Zoe, who's at the vanguard of whatever's new, and who'll enter LaGuardia Arts High School in the fall).

Other than blogging, if you're a blogger, of which of your activities does this combination of adjectives (risky, isolating, thankless, energizing, hopeful, connection-filled, fun) remind you?