While preparing for the final presentation of my contribution to this group blog, I stumbled upon two very interesting blog posts about “Blogging” itself:
The Post “What is Blogging and why it is becoming futile by the day” pretty much describes my first opinion about our task. Why should I be copying other peoples stuff – though adding the sources – and publish it? Despite my own interest in the topic we chose, I did not see where this should be a contribution to not only the group project but to the rest of the world as well.
The second Post I found has been written by a person who is doing a “Blogging Project” at University as well. In his Post “Bloggen auf Befehl” the author describes blogging as the new form of journalistic work with a lot more freedom than traditional media like e.g. newspapers. Especially the two-way-communication possibility is a great advantage of blogging.
After a while into this project I realized I should take our Blog as it is: Articles with “interesting content, good usage of the English language and the ability to transform personal thoughts into words” (chowrangi.com), adding my personal requirement, that our blog should be of high quality with well researched sources.
Now, at the end of this project I realize that I not only had the chance of enhancing my English writing skills through feedback of my colleagues, but also learned a lot about researching, how to structure myself to be more efficient and how to put the interests of 6 people together to create something everyone can be proud of.
Starting off with the topic “Minimum Standards of Compliance – Nice try or wise decision?” I didn’t do myself a favor, as this was (and still is) a very complicated topic which had to fit into a short article. However, at the time I was quite satisfied about this first post. While preparing for the second post, I thought about the things I wanted to change: More sources, better structure and using less time – the first post took at least 3 hours.
In the following five posts I was writing about the upcoming Currency war and the overall trade and currency situation. Throughout all those posts I tried to change the things I named above, compared to my first post.
I was particularly satisfied with my fourth post “Ring the bell for the next round…” as I set myself a one hour timeframe. Due to this it ended up being a little short, but in general I created a post with an attractive title, which states two sides of the story, links to previous posts within our blog as background information and is structured quite well. But, probably most important, the post generated a nice discussion on- and offline with my colleagues. Through feedback in the course, I heard that the post would have been even more interesting if I had put more of my own opinion in it.
After this experiment of taking only one hour, I figured it is not really enough time to publish a post and the following posts would suffice more my own quality requirements if I gave myself more time.
Using the feedback of my colleagues, I wrote a follow up post on the same topic, discussing it more from the standpoint of China (“Is the renminbi really undervalued?”).
During my placement period I was an intern at Intel in Munich, which – after I stumbled upon some interesting articles – is the reason I stepped out of my previous topic (Currency issues) and wrote one post about “Silicon Valley”. Up to this point the post “Bubble or Boom – Is Silicon Valley riding into another burst?” is definitely the best one. I had the structure in mind from the beginning and had very good sources to strengthen the point I wanted to make.
With the start of the new year, I went back to my “old” topic and followed up on the really well done summary of 2010 and outlook on 2011 – What’s up in 2011? – by bravenewloock. I chose to update all interested readers about the current situation in the USA, covering an overview of different connected problems with my post “How the US economy could be harmed by their own efforts.”
Before writing this post, I was creating a MindMap using the post of bravenewloock as a starting point. Putting a lot of effort into this article, I only published it after drafting and rewriting it on a piece of paper.
I realized I can be a lot more creative by using just a piece of paper and a pencil, so I used the same system for my last post “The trigger of the crisis: Sloppy risk management?” The MindMap of which you can see here:
With the start of this semester, I also started a job as a Research Assistant, where I create company and competition profiles through research on different databases and the web.
Therefore, whenever I learned some new tricks about researching in class I could always try them at work, and vice versa. Additionally, I transferred the pretension for the quality of sources at work to the blogging project. My main sources, and after a while the main starting point for the research on new blog topics, were the “Financial Times”, “New York Times”, the Blog of Paul Krugman, the “Handelsblatt”, the “Economist”, “Reuters” and “Bloomberg”.
To cover the topic of my post more extensively and from different perspectives I added sources found by “Google Blog Search” or “Google Scholar”
For blogging Wikepedia is actually quite a useful tool, as the sources for most of the topics are listed below and one can click through those to either get a better understanding of the topic or find some more links.
I was quite surprised that a search on “youtube” could be that helpful, so I tried to use it whenever suitable.
After I adjusted to the different kind of writing which is required in a blog, compared to the traditional research we are supposed to do in any other paper, I felt quite comfortable with the structure and was able to incorporate a nice flow of argumentation into each post. On the one hand, I learned that it is necessary to illustrate different points of view of each topic. On the other hand, it is not crucial to cover every part as extensively as possible, to leave some space for comments and discussion.
Through my last couple of posts, I discovered that the best way for me to create a new article or text is to brainstorm first, then draft it on paper and rewrite it on Microsoft Word. Even if this means more work, I will definitely use this strategy for any future papers as well, as I will not step out of the intended structure as easily.
I really appreciated the chance to write in English. Although everyone in our course has been in an English speaking country for at least a year, we all know how important it is to nourish our English language skills and the blogging was great practice.
We created a blog about present and very interesting topics where we always covered different aspects. We discussed our Posts and followed up on topics that needed more extensive coverage. In the new year, we summarized our most important topics of 2010 and covered the new developments on each.
So, I am very satisfied with the work the Brave New Finance Team has done here.