What Would Mark Do?
     - Musings on design, opinions on business and discoveries to be shared. 
              by Mark Bendickson.

Why (relevant) blogging is more important than ever...

It's been 5 1/2 years since I blogged.  Not sure why.  Maybe I got too busy.  Maybe because I was getting a ton of registered users on WordPress that were obviously spam bots from a country that was a former member of the Soviet Union.  Maybe I was bored.

Or, what's more likely, I was feeling that social media streams were going to take over that channel.  I mean, who didn't get all excited about Facebook, worked up over LinkedIn, and all atwitter about, well, Twitter.  I have since noticed that (like all forms of communication) different types of messages are better suited to different media, types of delivery, and audiences.  Most of my posts are narrowly focused on the design space, exhibit and product design in particular.  I realized early on that straying from this would disappoint, and result in falloff. 

For example; Twitter is awesome for tossing something brief out there.  A quick comment, or a link to a particularly apropos article or news story.  It's also great for using hash-tags and cross pollinating with an event audience, or mentioning a company or individual by their handle and getting feedback, or leveraging your reach through re-tweets and favorites.  With only 142 characters you can't really rant or blather on about something no one else cares about.  So, even if I want to opine about the burger I had for lunch I am limited in how much of my readers time I take while they watch their feed go by on the screen.  And if I want to Tweet 20 times a day (I usually only have one or two) it probably won't annoy anyone enough to unfollow me.

Facebook (and Google+ as well) on the other hand allow for a richer experience.  Longer posts, links to other companies or people (that are on Facebook or Google+), tagging them in posts or photos, and having a huge amount of organized, characterized, information like photo albums, videos, links to other places.  But, unlike Twitter where every tweet flows past every follower like flotsam in a stream. floating by to be ignored, noticed, or fished out and studied, Facebook posts only end up in a user's feed if they interact with it, follow it, or Facebook determines there is a reason to include it (more than likely based on payoff, or their best interests, not yours).  So, if I over-post on there, or start including startling, off topic revelations about my lunch, people are going to unfollow my page, or make it not show up in their feed (which is even worse, because I don't realize it and still think they are seeing what I post) and if people don't care enough to interact Facebook will make the decision not to show it to them all on it's own.

LinkedIn, created basically by the HR industry to get all of use to fill out a super detailed resume database for them, and give them access to not only all our relevant employment history and goals, but also to how we network and who with, and what really interests us by the groups we join, is another avenue for creating communitie(s).  I say that plural because you have your own community of connections, and if you want, a company page for your business.  And somewhere in that Venn Diagram of audiences there is a thin slice of ones that overlap.  But there is no reason for someone I worked with in Healthcare 25 years ago to follow my design page.  Unless of course, they need design help, in which case my vast healthcare experience will certainly prove invaluable.

The only thing that really concerns me is that LinkedIn now allows people down to 13 years of age to belong (because who knows who on your 8th grade soccer team is going to turn out to be a valuable member of your network) and with the prompts for birthday wishes and work anniversary shout outs it might become a little 'Facebooky'.  I have already seen a recent outbreak of inspirational poster type posts, and am sure a few clueless souls will no doubt start the "click this picture of a cute kitten if you hate genocide in Darfur" thing  that will invariably make me disconnect from them on there.

But I digress. And I guess that's OK in a blog because, unlike a venue where you are measured by your likes, follows, +1s, or connections that show up on a weekly graph of your social media self worth, in a blog you just put it out there. 

Awhile back I went to Gravity Free and wrote a rather lengthy post about it.  And if someone likes that sort of thing I am sure they will enjoy it.  Of course, at an Apple launch event, for example, there are those that live tweet it, or post selfies of themselves there on Instagram or Tumblr, or on Facebook so they can tag the people in the picture with them, or collect a bunch of pictures of the new products and pin them to their Pinterest page, or collect reviews of them on Evernote.  But it is the bloggers, the ones who really researched and paid attention (without the distractions of all of those selfies and tweets about how cool the box lunch was) that are going to give you not only the width but depth of information that lets you learn more than if you were actually there and not be some voyeur peeking through a window and what other people are doing.  I think Tweeters and Facebook Posters comment as something is happening, sort of like a play by play announcer at a game. 

Bloggers, I feel, usually experience the event without the distractions of posting, and do more of a review after the fact.  And, on some subjects, expand on it with research and background on the subject and incorporate the thoughts and impressions of others.  That's the role I see, and the reason I decided to start blogging again.  What I won't do is keep to a schedule.  I see so many people that blog once a week, whether there is something interesting to say or not.  I am going to write something when I see something writing about.  I may do it 12 times a week, or once a month. 

Hopefully you will enjoy reading it.  But in any case, I will enjoy writing it.