Welcome to the Blogosphere

I read a lot of blogs every day. I have dozens listed on my Google Homepage – so they are staring me in the face every time I open my Web Browser. I have tons more listed in my Outlook RSS feeds, and yet more still listed in my Mozilla Firefox RSS feeds.

Within the Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community, blogs are generally accepted as a place where we (SBSC Partners) share information with each other, clients and the IT Pro Community. This information can be technical in nature (how to install SSL Certificates on SBS 2003, for instance), they can give glowing or scathing reviews of the latest Vendor offerings, they may provide information on an industry story, or sometimes they may provide a big blue soapbox for the writer to get on and lambast the latest injustice in their work life (did I mention I love these types?).

I find reading blogs a great way to get to know my peers, to listen to their opinions, to heed their warnings not to make the same mistakes as they did, and in many many cases (such as this guy, this chap, this lady, this gent, this gal, and this jolly fellow) to learn more from a regular stream of short text articles than I would by doing any expensive Business Management or Technical course.

I’ve written my own blog for the past two years or so. It’s helped raise my profile amongst my peers, it’s enabled me to share Technical information with those who want to learn, and sometimes it’s generated feedback via comment or e-mail that makes me smile (the "Thank you" type of feedback) or bang my head against the hard desk in my office (the "You b@stard – you were writing about me, right?" comments).

On the whole though, I find blog writing to be something very positive.

So both reading and writing blogs are, in this writers humble opinion, a hugely beneficial way of fast tracking your career in IT – whether you be self employed, a small business owner who uses IT, or an IT Professional working for someone else.

So it surprised me recently when I was in attendance at a Microsoft sponsored event that was heavily (100 participants+) attended by us Techy Types, when the question "Who in this room writes a blog?" – only four hands went up, and three of them were fellow SBSC colleagues I recognised.

Wow! Either us SBSC types are high achievers, technology evangelists and perhaps a tad uber-geeky, or perhaps loads of folks haven’t sussed the benefits of the participating in the Blogosphere just yet.

The usual excuses I hear for not writing a blog are "I’ve got nothing interesting to say". Well – that doesn’t stop me buddy! <grin>. Seriously though, think back over your week – have you fixed some technical issue, have you dealt with some obscure bug in some code, have you dealt with a surly Vendor or better still, a fantastic Vendor? Blog it. Trust me, if you’ve experienced the problem, somebody else will (or has) and will be grateful for your blog the next time they Google on it. What’s more, next time you need some help, by actively participating you may have encouraged someone else to do the same thing and blog about their experiences to help you – and thus it continues.

Before you know it, you’ll have dozens or hundreds of blog entries and people will start assuming you know what you talk about. Never let them know the truth. 🙂

The latest man to start blogging is James Harbidge of Leicester based Small Biz IT. The thing about James is, he’s a really nice chap and every time I’ve ever met him he’s imparted some knowledge about the vendors he’s used and the challenges he’s faced in running his own business that I’ve learnt from. I always find it interesting to chat to James, but don’t get the chance to do so often enough. Guess what? I’ll be reading his blog from now on – so keep up the good work James!

Write a blog yourself? Feel free to leave a comment here and shamelessly self-promote so everyone can go take a look!

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