Euen Semple

Trending Sources

How writing a blog can make you a better manager.

Euen Semple

You have to mostly work stuff out for yourself - and this is where a blog comes in. Writing a blog can help in the following ways: You notice more. I often think back to my days as a line manager. Working with people in big organisations I am reminded of the fears and frustrations that come with the job. I remember feeling out of my depth and unsure of the responsibility.

Blogging angst

Euen Semple

My friend Dave Tebbutt is wondering whether to give up his blog or not. Many of us over the years go through periods of questioning why we blog and if it is worth it. For me the biggest reason to blog is personal. If I don’t blog I don’t think as much, or at least not with as much focus. I don’t think it even matters where you blog these days. This is because just linking to my blog posts seemed unreasonable.

“Blogging is just people showing off”

Euen Semple

This was the reaction someone had to the discussion the other day about the benefits or otherwise of blogging. I remember an elderly relative saying “Oh yes blogging, that’s just people expressing their opinion”. Besides blogging is so varied in its manifestations that blanket statements about what it is or is not are nonsense. I’d be interested in some of the naysayers reactions to my teenage daughter Mollie’s blogging.

Why blogging still matters

Euen Semple

"?Most of what we inherit is so clearly correct it goes unseen. It fits the world seamlessly. It is the world. But despite its richness and variability, the well-defined world we inherit doesn't quite fit each one of us, individually.

Why blogging still matters in business - and always will.

Euen Semple

Blogging is a means by which to rediscover your voice, to learn to share your thoughts with others, and by doing so to help us all get smarter faster. But with a blog, a business blog whether internal or external, we have a place to play. We can make the blog our own and we can write with our own voice. It''s not about marketing, or SEO, or "going viral".

A rant about IT and losing our grip on reality.

Euen Semple

While writing this blog post I have been engaged in an email exchange with the hotel reception. <rant> Foursquare just gave me extra points for having checked in at airports continuously for the last eleven weeks. This is a dubious distinction. In that time I have been to Riga, Amsterdam, most major cities in Australia, Hong Kong, Washington and Dubai. As a result I have gradually lost my grip of reality.

Unsettled

Euen Semple

This nice little blog post from Jamie Notter caught my eye the other day - It’s Good To Be Unsettled. In it he talks about working with a senior group on various strategy choices and one of the participans came up afterwards to say that he felt unsettled by the conversaiton. Notter then talks about life’s natural ups and downs and how having too much of the opposite of feeling unsettled is bad for us. We get complacent and stuck.

A word on heirarchies

Euen Semple

Won’t there be some who take to blogging and tweeting more readily than others and therefore end up on the top of a new pile? I thought I'd share this paragraph from my book "Corporations Don't Tweet - People Do". I am about to deliver my first draft to the publisher this week and it seems a shame not to do something else with all these words! There has been a lot written about the end or hierarchies. In fact David Weinberger once wrote that “hyperlinks subvert hierarchies”.

Disorder and the power of small steps

Euen Semple

I felt powerless to help and thought "What''s blogging going to do for these people?". It all starts with that next blog post or update There is much instability in the world at the moment. Whether it is the disruptive effects of technology, the fickle economy, the environment, the Ukraine, Isis, or even the impact of a separate Scotland on the rest of the UK.

Facebook as a blogging platform

Euen Semple

Blogging is still one of the most useful and fun things you can do. I still blog at The Obvious? Each time social networks die and we all move on my blog is still there. As people have moved into places like Facebook and Twitter the energy has moved away from blogging to some extent. I, like many bloggers, used to post links to my blog posts on Facebook or Google+. So I started posting the entire content of my blog posts on Facebook and Google+.

Worsworth on blogging

Euen Semple

O reader! Had you in your mind. Such stores as silent thought can bring, O, gentle reader! You would find. A tale in everything. William Wordsworth.

Your staff are your best advocates

Euen Semple

Hugh McLeod just re-blogged this post from 2005 on the same topic, and Steve Bridger just said in a Twitter conversation that he got a good response to saying " loyalty to charity brands is now shifting towards affinity to individuals working within charities" in a keynote yesterday. I recently completed a chapter in a book on social media to be published next year (no not mine - another one) and I called it "Your staff are your best advocates".

Buy 52

Minimalist authenticity

Euen Semple

It was one of those words used a lot in the early days of blogging. Catching up with Sharon Richardson yesterday we got onto the topic of authenticity. The goal was to "find your voice" and aspire to online authenticity. But what does that really mean? Some would argue that true authenticity is only possible in "real" relationships by which they tend to mean face to face.

Organisational Naivety

Euen Semple

Grappling with the human condition in hand to hand fighting is the lot of many a middle manager and there are some things that are painful and difficult to do - no matter how much you blog or tweet about them. This is why they get jumpy about suddenly being expected to open up and blog about everything - it is isn't going to happen.

When is a blog not a blog?

Euen Semple

When is a blog not a blog? When it is a blog post. There is not much that brings out the pedant in me but when people refer to a blog post as a blog it drives me nuts! I get caught out all the time when someone says "Have you seen my new blog?" and I think they have set up a whole new blog when in fact all they have done is write a blog post! A blog is the whole blog with all its posts and a blog post is a post - OK

Evolutionary thinking

Euen Semple

Blogging doesn''t get easier even after all these years. I still go through the "Who am I to say this?", "Who cares what I think?" cycle each time. I then wait nervously to see if anyone responds once I have published the post. I know that this is what I am asking people to do, not only on the internet (where somehow it feels easier) but at work, where what people think of them matters even more. Why should they? Two reasons.

So have I evolved?

Euen Semple

But one thought at a time, one conversation at a time, one blog post at a time I met up with my friend Jeff Hall this week for a coffee. Almost literally the first thing he said to me was "So have you evolved or are you still doing the same thing?". I am ready for this question these days and calmly took it in my stride. "No, No, not evolved, still doing the same thing.". I used to feel guilty when asked this sort of question.

Buy 30

Signal to noise

Euen Semple

Instead I chose to write this blog post. I am sitting opposite a city gent who has obviously just had a cigarette before joining the train. The smell is overpowering and I was tempted to write one of those witty observational tweets you see so often during commuting time. I found myself thinking "Is this it? The power of the internet reduced to sarcastic comments about fellow tube travelers?" On my phone.

The written word

Euen Semple

Whether by blogging or updating Facebook we can put things out there, see what reactions we get, learn from the responses. OK so I know that there''s YouTube and podcasting but most of the Internet''s power is still in the written word. It is text that conveys most of the important ideas and it is accessible at almost zero cost to all of us. And yet so few of us write. Most still consume, or at the most share other people''s "content". The same is true at work.

Literate Business

Euen Semple

This is what blogging or tweeting makes easier. David Weinberger once said that through blogging we were "writing ourselves into existence" maybe this is what we are seeing happen in the world of work There's something wrong with all of the names we use to describe the use of social web tools in business. They are wrong for various reasons whether Enterprise 2.0 or Social Business or whatever.

My fantasy

Euen Semple

A business where everyone blogs. Everyone thinks about what they are doing and writes about what they are doing. From the top to the bottom, the edges to the middle. Everyone awake and bouncing off each other intellectually as they get more and more effective at whatever they do

Dodgy characters

Euen Semple

Many moons ago I wrote a blog post asking: "Is it unfair to characterise the IT industry as dodgy characters in cheap suits selling wish fulfilment to out of their depth executives?". Sadly those guys have now moved on to package and sell social into the business world. People are being fleeced for over engineered, over priced and over sold bloatware. This is not in anyone's long term best interests

Price 32

Every journey.

Euen Semple

They read case studies, write strategies, spend loads of money on tools - but when you ask them if they blog you get a blank look. I am often struck by the way people circle around social media in business. Part of me knows you don't have to have done something yourself to manage it. I took on the management of fifty film and VT editors many moons ago having come from radio and don't believe I was the worst manager they had ever had.

Me and Linkedin

Euen Semple

Chris Brogan blogged recently about his decision to close his Linkedin account. This got me thinking, yet again, about whether I should do the same. . I have been in Linked in for nine years, having been user number 1400 or so out of 100 million. It is useful for keeping up to date with the people I know's changes of circumstance but little more. I keep trying to get involved in the various Linkedin groups I am a member of but a few things drive me away.

Robots, Robber Barons and Luddites

Euen Semple

They can''t all blog, network, and become entrepreneurial! While working in Riga and Corby last year, and walking round the large housing estates in both places, I found myself wondering what on earth we are going to do with the large numbers of people who used to be employed in industry and increasingly find themselves not only without jobs but without any real means of finding gainful employment.

The power of words

Euen Semple

"Oh yes, blogging. That is just people sharing their opinion.". Opinions matter, ideas matter, sharing them matters. Why should only experts or journalists get to shape our thinking? We have outsourced our thinking to professionals for too long. We need to choose our own words, use them more carefully, share them more effectively and shape our worlds more actively

The advantage of self selecting clients

Euen Semple

Most of my work comes through referrals, speaking gigs or my blog and twitter. When I first left the BBC and was considering whether to have a fancy corporate sounding name for my business, or to pretend that there was a whole team of people rather than just little old me, I decided to be up front and not pretend. I also chatted to my former boss about whether to adopt the dispassionate, third person tone of much consultancy and he said "Why be like everyone else. Be yourself.

Me and my inner Scot

Euen Semple

Whether it is religion or IT, those who read this blog will have seen me shape myself by the strength of my reaction to these two groups, and some of you will no doubt have winced to watch me do so. The highlight of my speaking gig this week on board the cruise ship Aurora was getting to meet and spend time with the author Maria Nemeth. I realised half way through our first conversation that I had read her book The Energy Of Money a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Intellectual plankton and increasing my I/O

Euen Semple

I also need to process faster and to write for my blog more often. I sometimes feel like an old cheap computer whose I/O just isn't up to snuff. I just can't process stuff fast enough. I usually have at least two "real" books on the go and Kindle books that I am reading on my phone in snatched moments. I also listen to audio books and am about to re-instate my evening walking habit as much for the increased "reading" time as for the exercise!

Authority and control

Euen Semple

If you are worried about security why not start blogging about why security matters and how to be secure?

Can the web be taught?

Euen Semple

I don't mean teaching people how to drive their browsers or how to use a blogging tool, though to be honest most people find even the basics unfamiliar, but more how to pass on what works in terms of using the web to achieve things and make the world a better place. Following on from my two previous posts on whether the web makes things better, and the great comments on them, I now find myself wondering about the degree to which the web can be taught.

Discretion

Euen Semple

Mark Gould responded with a blog post about the need to consider the impact of radical transparency on others and felt that we didn''t cover this enough. I am reading the book because there are many parallels between blogging and memoir writing. In the latest Shift podcast Megan and I talk about the pros and cons of radical transparency.

Broadcasters, trust, and the web

Euen Semple

Some time ago, before I left the BBC, I took part in a meeting about blogging with Mark Byford, the BBC's Deputy Director General and the executive with primary responsibility for news and editorial standards. During the meeting he raised the familiar question about whether you could trust bloggers.

News 22

Overcoming inertia with love

Euen Semple

It is no mistake that the last chapter in my book is devoted to this old blog post about love in the workplace as it is the most important, and most often ignored, ingredient in making this stuff happen. Over coffee yesterday David Tebbutt was telling me of a social web initiative that had been successful but then gone backwards and he used the word entropy (gradual decline into disorder) to describe the cause.

Tools 18

Disapproval

Euen Semple

But we let ourselves go numb at the prospect of someone laughing at our first blog post. The biggest single force holding back people's involvement in social media is fear of disapproval. Fear of what customers' reactions might be. Fear of what the boss might think.

Vanity Publishing

Euen Semple

People often accuse blogs of being vanity publishing so here are two recently published books in which I am quoted - does that count?

Risk

Euen Semple

I used to satisfy my need for risk riding fast motorbikes, then in a more modest form playing sax in a pop band, then climbing hills in all weathers, now I get to write the odd challenging blog post and stand on stages. Looking out of my window at the falling snow I keep thinking of the climbers killed by an avalanche in Glen Coe yesterday.

Sticking your neck out

Euen Semple

Rob Paterson blogged recently about feeling scared and lost. I never underestimate what I am asking people to do when I advocate saying what they think on a blog. I don't feel brave, I feel scared a lot of the time, I feel scared posting this blog post. I made an off the cuff comment about the time when you are not scared and lost being the time you really have to worry. Today in a Twitter DM Thomas Power said "Values and beliefs are tested everyday online".

May my pebbles ripple in your pond

Euen Semple

I have often thought that writing a blog post is like lobbing a pebble into a pond. I just tweeted about the odd feeling of cramming ideas into my head as fast as I can when eventually my head will no longer exist. This wasn't necessarily as gloomy a thought as some may have assumed. You are not sure where the ripples will end up but you aspire to getting better at lobbing them and making bigger ripples.

Reflection

Euen Semple

I have also always loved David Weinberger's description of blogging as "writing ourselves into existence". One of my favourite quotes is from Vint Cerf - that "the internet is just a thing. Whether we like what we do with it or not it is a reflection of us as individuals, organisations and society and if we don't like what we are seeing then that is what we have to deal with."