My last employer, IBM, had a term for online reputation – it was referred to as “Digital Eminence” at big blue. Many colleagues there struggled to figure out what it meant and how they can improve their digital eminence. My way of explaining this to my mentees was “How well does google know you?” .
I did not gain any online reputation by following a plan. Google knows me well enough now – so if you search for my name, I think you can find what I write. I started blogging several years ago on SCN, then started tweeting and 3 years ago I started this blog. I am grateful that I have a little more readership than friends and immediate family 🙂
People tell me all the time – including twice today – that they don’t have the time to be on twitter, or post a blog. Some of them ask me if there is a plan or schedule that I follow. Some others ask me how I do SEO. Yet others ask me if I get paid for my blogs.
While I am genuinely flattered by these questions – the truth is kind of boring. Or as Bjoern Goerke says – #NOFUNWHATSOEVER .
I have no schedule to blog. If something picks my interest – I blog, usually from my iPhone.I am usually too lazy to open up my ipad or laptop 🙂 . Unlike with documents I deal with at work – I do not proof read or spell check or do any kind of QA. I tried keeping draft blogs to see if I can finish a thought later. More often than not – I just delete the drafts. So for me – writing something spontaneous is what works best.
I usually blog during plane rides. Or over the weekends, on a reclining sofa with a cold beverage in hand with TV playing an Indian movie, following a cricket match on my iPad and with my two retrievers at my feet. Recently a friend told me that Tuesday and Thursday mornings work best for getting maximum readership. I can never publish something more than a minute after I finished typing – so mine usually go out over the weekend or late nights.
I really don’t know how to do SEO – I have seen long articles on it, and thought it was too complex to deal with it. Same with adwords – someone pointed me to info on how to make money off a blog using adwords. Again, too lazy to do something of that kind. In fact till few months ago, my blog had a black background and white font – and it took a lot of friends and readers to convince me to get another scheme. And lazy me – I just found the first theme I could read without glasses and adopted it. So now you know how serious a blogger I am 🙂
As many of you know – I grew up in the consulting business. My reputation in that world was strictly on my tech abilities, and operational abilities – like managing big projects, selling multi million dollar deals, high customer satisfaction and so on. I have some linkedin recommendations from past managers and clients that can attest to this. People who knew me closely also knew me for not holding back my opinion on some topics. And that is a reputation built over many years of blood sweat and tears. I treasure that .
However, in the last few years – more people know me as a blogger than for my real skills and experience. In fact in my job at SAP ( and six months have passed already in this job) – I think I get introduced to colleagues as a blogger more often than as a guy who is trying to drive Hana adoption. And this leads to weird, often funny reactions .
A small percentage of people just tune out immediately . They probably have no reason to discuss their pressing issues with a blogger – I guess if roles were reversed, I could occasionally be easily accused of this behavior too. Some others are fascinated – and will engage in a good conversation about social media, current affairs, latest consumer tech and so on – anything except the topic at hand. And the rest ignore the blogger part and discuss normal work stuff and other pressing issues. These days – I almost bet with myself on which of these categories will my next interaction fall into 🙂 . I have also had a few colleagues ask me to blog about stuff they are working on – mostly because they don’t think they can blog themselves. If I get my way – SAP will have a lot more bloggers very soon.
Not everything is funny – there are some real personal and professional advantages too being a blogger. The last international trip I took – I was recognized by someone as “aren’t you the guy who wrote that …..” at every airport I flew in and out of – every single time. I was ten feet tall 🙂 . That was an incredible experience. And roughly every second customer meeting – someone would have read something I posted, and will break the ice broaching that topic. So yes – it definitely has its blessings.
In short – don’t try to blog like I do. Just do what feels right to you – don’t ever let it become a chore. If you don’t enjoy blogging and tweeting – don’t do it. If you like something – you will find time for it. If you like working out – you will hit the gym no matter what. If you like to eat – you won’t mind driving an hour to your favorite restaurant.
Now if you indeed want a role model – there are plenty of peeps who do it well like Den Howlett, Jon Reed, Matthias Steiner, Frank Scavo, Bjoern Goerke , Vinnie Mirchandani and so on. Read several of them and see if something inspires you. And then just start typing – few posts later, you will be a blogger. Google will know you well at some point – and important people will tune you out the moment you are referred to as a blogger. That is the moment of truth – you have arrived !