Monday, July 25, 2016

Why Do I Keep Blogging?

I had a great experience this past week. I was asked to participate in a special episode of KiKi L'Italien's Association Chat, featuring her favorite association bloggers and podcasters.

If you're interested, you can watch the recording of the session here. I'm near the end, but there's plenty of even smarter people to see and listen to before I come on.

When reflecting on the experience, I still marvel at the idea that I somehow found my way into this community.

I've always been interested in writing, in communicating ideas that matter through the written word, but there are plenty of other outlets I could (and have) chosen for scratching that itch. Why did I start blogging and why do I keep doing it?

Those are two different questions so let me provide two different answers.

I started blogging because I thought I had something to say. Specifically, something about leadership, what it meant for people of my generation, and if, given the way my generation was sandwiched between the two largest generations in our nation's history, people in the other two generations would care. That combination of angst and chutzpah manifested itself in something called The Hourglass Blog, with the hourglass symbolizing the way GenX was pinched between the Boomers and the Millennials.

It was a joint project with my friend and colleague, Jamie Notter, who, I still like to remember, I had never met in-person when I reached out to him with the initial idea for The Hourglass Blog.

Eventually, The Hourglass Blog ran its course, and I wound up saying everything I thought I wanted to say on the subject. There were still ideas, however, I wanted to explore. Ideas about leadership, yes, but about other challenges in my pursuit of leadership as well. About innovation, and about member engagement, and about core values, and about strategy and execution.

And so I launched a new blog, this one uncreatively self-titled, and there I began to post some thoughts on these issues and others that I wanted to explore.

And I'm still doing it. This, in fact, is the 383rd post on that blog. The weekly discipline I've developed to sit, think, and compose my thoughts on the issues I care about is tremendously rewarding, as it gives me, if nothing else, a few minutes of quiet contemplation in an otherwise frantic world.

And by focusing that time and those thoughts mostly on the application of leadership and management theory to practice in my own organization, as I do, it often affords me opportunities to engage others--in and out of my organization--in that journey.

But that engagement doesn’t happen on the blog. Frankly, despite its commenting function, blogs are pretty poor devices for the kind of engagement I'm looking for. The engagement happens most often in person, when I meet someone who has been reading my blog at a conference or in the office. I said something they reacted to--good or bad--and now we can have a conversation about a subject we realize we both care about.

That's great--and the primary reason I keep blogging.

It's a journal, of course. This blog is a journal, but it's a journal I openly share with the world so that others can benefit from whatever wisdom it contains, and so I can benefit from the wisdom that surrounds me.

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This post first appeared on Eric Lanke's blog, an association executive and author. You can follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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