Who pays you to blog?

December 18, 2007

What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn’t have done it.
-Mark Twain

Employment is very quid pro quo. This work for that cash. Blackmail some might say. You hope to find or create a paying gig that involves more ‘play’ than ‘work’. Something you love and are passionate about.

I suspect play is not a word many organizations would use to describe the ‘work’ their employees do and, not a word many employees would use to describe what they do for pay. When we work, we are moving toward something – finishing it, moving it along to the next step. When we play we use our imaginations and aren’t concerned with outcome. But we hear, say, think…

  • Stop playing around and get back to work!
  • I’ve got to stop playing with this software and get back to work…
  • Or one of the worst cultural rock climbs…what are you doing…playing a game? (why we call it “serious” gaming?)
  • Maybe even…I’ve got to stop blogging and get some work done.

When it comes to educational/developmental blogging inside an organization, I suspect it’s viewed mostly as play. It’s not ‘real work.’ How many corporate employees (who are not writers or professional bloggers or corporate bloggers) get paid to consistently write and reflect at work? Consultants foot the bill but use their blog to build business. Some bloggers monetize to gain a source of income. Who pays you to read this? How many employers wouldn’t want employees who can reason critically and think deeply? Wouldn’t they pay for that?

The collaborative nature of blogging leads to critical reasoning and deep thinking – skills that may be in short supply with answers always at your fingertips via Google or Wikipedia. Think of some of the innovative ideas you’ve been exposed to by reading/writing blog posts or how reading something may have caused you the think, reflect, gain knowledge, and perhaps even change your mind. Emerging theories like connectivism, new ways to connect through social networks, educating in virtual worlds, etc. are all the stuff of blogs.

How do we incorporate blogging in the workplace? How do we get at the deeper thinking-type skills? For starters, let’s try not to call it blogging. Let’s look at usage.

The matrix below by Scott Leslie was referenced by Stephen Downes in a older article on E-Learning 2.0. Perhaps to get at the critical reasoning, deep thinking, and collaborative ‘play’ we need, we say instead that we need an easy way to keep project teams collaborating, to share knowlege about the department, to share expertise. Instead of saying we need to be able to blog we say we need this for whatever we’re actually using it for.

(Click image to make larger)


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