Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why Blog?

When I started this new career, I decided I was going to blog ... about the transition, about my work, about my experiences. I wasn't sure why I was blogging. I just knew I was going to do it.

My first post was easy. I wanted students to know about the course I was teaching on "service science". I had already prepared a document to help me organize what I was going to say at a meeting organized by Eric Yu for FIS students to learn about Winter 08 elective courses. The document I prepared had a bit about my background, service science, and the course. When only a few students attended the session, I decided to post the course information from that document on a blog so I could point students to the post if they wanted more information.

Since then, I've had a few ideas about what I might blog about but I've hesitated. I was still not sure why I was blogging.

My second post was about the blogging seminar I attended at the FIS Inforum (the Inforum a tremendous jewel of a resource in FIS). In that blog post, I linked to the author of a book that related to a Book Chapter I'm contributing to with colleagues at the University of Alberta. In a phone conference with them, I mentioned the book and they asked me to send the link. Instead, I sent the link to my blog post! In return, I received a thoughtful comment from my colleague and one of my academic mentors, Eleni Stroulia, to my third post in which I attempted to compare my IBM (industry) career with my (new) academic one.

Today, I had a stimulating (but too short) conversation with FIS PhD Candidate, Rhonda McEwen, about Service Science. I shared with her some of my thoughts and ideas and told her about some papers she might be interested in reading. I said I'd send the links. Then I thought, if I had just blogged about my thoughts and included the links there, I could just point her to my blog. It dawned on me that having a public repository I can point people to will help save email generation but also will make sure I don't forget to send something in the list.

Also, as I talked with Rhonda, I remembered how helpful it is (for me) to articulate my thoughts and ideas out loud. Talking out loud is a necessary step for me to know what I think (someone once told me that extroverts don't know what they think until they've said it out loud). Well, blogging is like "saying it out loud". I have just realized (although it seems so obvious) that blogging will help me know what I think.

So, two reasons to blog. Now I know "why". So, I'll start working on "how". Until next time ...


Sacha Chua said...

Exactly! =)

The "why" is hard to explain to people until they start doing it... Then they just get it. You just did. =)

estroulia said...

We should make a SSME case study out of the INFORUM; what should/could be automated and what human? how would the workflow work? what would the economics of the decision be?