Saturday, May 2, 2009

Official Blogging: Staff work or blogging?

A rose is a rose, no matter what we call it, as the characteristics of a rose are what make it a rose.

Question: What makes a blog?

I'm not sure I have an answer, or, if I do, it's more convoluted than it was six years ago when I first entered the blogosphere.

Over at the Service Chief's blog, there have been a number of guest posts. Many of these have been assigned, and the scuttle is that there's fear among the senior officers (flags and O-6s) at Buzzard Point whenever it looks like they're going to get tapped to write.

Not sure why, as it seems it gets staffed like all other writing.

This past month, the "big four" were tapped to write about the leadership competencies in support of Spotlight on Leadership month. I was visiting HQ early in the month and ran into a captain who was working on a post for his flag officer. Several days later, I found myself with SIGNO 3 and the then soon-to-be most junior flag talking about a blogging assignment.

Frankly, I treated it like any other staff writing assignment.

My first staff writing assignment, more than 20 years ago, has tainted my perspective. I was working on the staff of The Reservist, which was then a newsletter, and the admiral decided on the topic of the "From the Bridge" column. So he told the captain, who told the commander, who told the lieutenant commander, who told the ensign, who told me, a second class petty officer. So I wrote it, and gave it to the ensign, who bled all over it and handed it back to me. So I re-wrote it and gave it back to the ensign, who gave it to the lieutenant commander, who bled all over it and handed it back to the ensign, who gave it to me. So I fixed it and gave it back to the ensign who checked it and then gave it to the lieutenant commander who gave it to the commander... Well, you get the idea.

In the end, there was a single sentence of mine left.

And, you know what, that was okay, because it wasn't my writing, it was staff writing, ghost writing for someone else.

I think I'm a better writer now, but the process for staff writing hasn't changed all that much, albeit I try to use wikis in order to ease the editing process. Although, dragging people along the wiki route is pretty darn painful.

Anyway, over at the Service Chief's blog, SIGNO 3 had a series of five posts Leadership Spotlight -- Self Awareness and Learning, a series of five posts. (One. Two. Three. Four. Five.)

But I'm still wondering what makes a blog a blog vs. just more staff work. Or, is that not really a relevant question?

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