The following are the presentations notes for my workshop called “Blogging Your Passion” at Making it in Changing Times in 2015.
In 2010 I was in Chicago for SOBCon, the Successful Online Business Conference, and I had an amazing encounter with a woman on the crowded downtown streets:
…I was storming away from the last pharmacy towards the subway when I heard a woman ranting in the crowd ahead of me. She was carrying on with great lucidity about the lunacy of our government, calling upon the great names of commerce, security, and our welfare system sitting on high in the offices which dictate our lives. I have to admit I was impressed with her eloquence and agreed with her points, then the crowd ahead of me parted and I found the orator.
She was clean, fairly nicely dressed in casual clothes, dark colored tennis shoes on her feet next to a big overflowing shopping bag. Her dish water blond head was lifted high, hair dancing around her lined face as she threw her arms in the air with the fierce determination to punctuate her points – to a telephone pole.
It was a normal power pole found in the old parts of Chicago. Dark wood coated with centuries of creosote, wires running up its sides to connect with the real web that powers and connects our lives together. I wondered if she had some special powers to send her magnificent points through the wires, across the city to the power and communication centers, then branch out through other cities, across the country, up and down and across more poles, until it reached the offices of those who need to hear what she had to say. A part of me hoped they were listening.
Still, it isn’t every day you see someone conversing with such passion, determination, and classy style with a telephone pole. I was impressed.
Then I was terrified. This was me! This is what blogging feels like. It’s me talking to the telephone pole. I’m blathering on to the great virtual nothing, connected by wires both physical and virtual, hoping someone turns their head in my direction. Honestly, I might as well be talking to a telephone pole.
Every day I push out many articles and news bits on my passion, helping others to learn how to share their thoughts and feelings and skills with the masses, hoping to connect through the virtual power poles to their offices, homes, and mobile devices, to find some connection, to reach through the wires and say, “Hey, what I have to say matters. What I have to say counts. What I have to say is something…well, you might need to hear. I know it will help. I know it will make a difference. I know that you will learn and blog better…at least I think you will…” Really, why do I bother.
Frozen in place watching the woman continue her impassioned speech on the flaws in health care, social welfare, the inability to protect its citizens from the greed and control of corporations, the crowd swirling around me, feet cemented to the sidewalk, a rock in the river, my entire thinking process shifted off its axis.
She is the modern day Don Quixote, tilting at telephone poles. I’m the modern day version tilting at virtual telephone poles. Or am I? Seriously, I’m going to have to think about this some more, because somehow, this woman has changed how I think about what I do.
Do you feel like no one is listening? Do you feel like you are tilting at telephone poles?
As I prepared my presentation on “Blogging Your Passion” for Making it in Changing Times, a conference for authors in the modern age, this woman stool beside me in my mind. She represented all of my energy, passion, confidence, courage, fears, self-doubts, and the work I do every day, pushing out these posts into the ethereal world across one telephone pole after another.
Blogging is About Finding the Connections
Blogging and social media is not new. We’ve been doing it for centuries – millennia. Even before we found words, we found ways to convey messages to each other. From these grunts and finger pointing came stories of adventure, trouble, joy, and celebration, passing from person to person, often traveling thousands of miles, words shifting in the wind like the whisper game, turning a minor accomplishment into a hero’s tale. At least with blogging, we can usually trace a story back to its source and do some snoops fact checking.