My personal development in Blogging (Blogpost # 10)

Personally, I had a lot of reservations about blogging in the beginning, and saw myself confirmed as we spoke about how blogging is about outlining ideas and providing paths to information for people, rather than deeply understanding and discussing these ideas academically.

This shows in my first posts, where I had great difficulties to find a coherent structure and an appealing and at the same time precise language. My first posts is a good example for my uncertainty, as it was greatly influenced by my lack of experience in blogging: I analyzed and reported on one source only, with the reproduction of the single source taking up about 80% of the post, leaving only a short paragraph for my personal opinion.

Over the next two posts, there are signs of improvement as I learned through experience and the discussions in class how to better construct a post: There are more sources, all sources are linked, and I slowly approached an understanding about the principle of providing paths to information, and putting the major part of work into researching instead of writing:

(Post #3 (“US elections: Big or small business?”))

However, despite these small successes, I was still very dissatisfied by my blogging, due to various reasons. First of all, it took me way too long to write a post, as I needed more than 2 hours for a less than average post. That and the difficult search for an interesting and current topic significantly reduced my motivation for the blog.

Furthermore, I was picking topics “at random” with no connection whatsoever between them – the topics of my first three posts were socio-economic reasons for the financial crisis, the future of the pound sterling and the implications of the US elections on American business. But most importantly, I did not manage to go beyond newspapers as sources, because my research with Google Blog Search was completely ineffectual.

So, everything was working against me until I caught a lucky break with my fourth post. Just the day before, through discussions in class, it became much clearer to me that the whole blog as an entity should be a team effort. Therefore, before I even began to research for a topic for my new post, I reflected on the common denominator of all our posts – could there be one, even if the topics seemed pretty much unrelated to each other in the beginning?

I could see a direction, i.e. a clustering of topics concerned with the risks of a renewed crisis, but couldn’t condense it to a specific common topic. Thus, I went on to research for my post, and stumbled across an article predicting possible future bubbles that in effect was almost like a listing of our team’s blog posts:

(Post #4 (“Watch out for those…!”))

From there on, I was able to see and grasp the general idea of BraveNewFinance (BNF): Where is the next abyss for global finance, what is the general information about it, but most importantly, where can people who are interested in this question get in-depth analysis and what is the general opinion in the financial blogging scene? At the same time, I was also becoming acquainted with various well known financial blogs, and got better in finding them via Google Blog Search. In the next post, I used these learning effects by using blogs as source, embedding two videos to make the post more entertaining for readers, and alluding to a post written two weeks earlier:

(Post #5 (“Invest into financial stocks now…”))

Despite these improvements, I still had two major problems: Regardless of my understanding of BNF as team work, I still hadn’t found the general topic that would link all my own blog posts to those of the other team members; Secondly, I was still unsure about the best language for blogging, how to reel the reader in by writing entertainingly.

To improve the writing part, I had a closer look at the writing techniques used by authors of well-known financial blogs. I tried to incorporate this into my next posts, and two weeks later wrote the best eye catcher I produced so far, whilst again relating to a post by a BNF team member:

(Post #7 (“Today’s the day for Spain”))

After the Christmas break, we all decided that we had to work even better as a team, to make BNF even more interconnected. At the same time, I finally found an issue which simultaneously connected my own and the BNF posts and provided a stepping stone for lively discussions on BNF: Risk in the wake of a truly historical financial crisis.

To approach this huge issue, I first summarized what had been going on on BNF in 2010, how the different topics and ideas are interlinked. Then, I draw the connection to my post # 4, “Watch out for those…”, updating the different takes by leading journalists and bloggers on risk and what is to be expected for 2011:

(Post # 8 (“What’s up in 2011?”))

I continued the issue of risks in my next post with the question “How and to what extend are risks measurable in a global economic context?” Again, it sparked a lively discussion, and I was really satisfied with how all our work blended into one compact, informative and dense, yet lively and wide-reaching collection of statements, views and opinions – a real blog!

Despite my overall satisfaction with the content and frequency of my posts and my comments, and despite what I see as a very significant process from doing everything wrong to doing a lot of things right in blogging, I am nevertheless annoyed with myself that I didn’t get the whole picture up to the very end: That blogging is about gathering, summarizing, analyzing and comparing different views about one specific topic, and how this is the practical permutation of the different theories about strategic management we learned with Mr. Mueller.

In my last posts, I approached this permutation by comparing different views,

(Post # 7 (“Today’s the day for Spain”))

(Post # 9 (“Anticipating risk in 2011…but can we?”))

but nevertheless, I still could kick myself for not seeing this quite evident connection before and thus turning out much higher quality posts.

However, I think that in drawing a conclusion of this semester’s work, I learned three very important things: How to write non-scientifically for an interested audience by reporting on others and using an entertaining language; How to share and discuss about knowledge with others, thus creating a bigger value than the sum of its components; And the issue I will focus on in my next big term paper, global economic risk and how companies can prepare for and benefit from it.

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