Blahg Blahg Blahg
I gave a presentation on blogging — should you blog? why and how? — at Geek Girl Camp Cape Cod Thursday night. It was a first-time event, this Geek Girl Camp thing, and so it was hard to know quite what to expect.
I knew that it was sold out. There were 100 women and girls crammed into one conference room at the Heritage House Hotel in Hyannis.
Any event that succeeds in drawing over 100 women who are interested in technology, but consider themselves beginners, to an evening of speakers on a variety of wonky topics has to be deemed a success on some level.
The Digital Divide
Now, Cape Cod as a region is admittedly not the most technologically engaged.
As a region, the Cape is:
- Home to a disproportionate number of seniors and retirees, compared with other parts of the US
- Geographically cut off from the mainland, which is often more of a psychological barrier than a physical one
- Composed of many diffuse neighborhoods, and few centralized downtowns
- Dependent on a heavily seasonal economy, with a large population living at or near the poverty line
So the digital divide here runs wide and deep.
I do a lot of work with local artists in my line of work, helping them use technology, the internet, online communities, etc., to market themselves and their work, to make a greater portion of their income from their art, and to connect with and get support from other artists.
So I’m used to speaking about these issues to individuals and groups who are at least hesitant about technology, if not downright resistant.
That’s why it’s so useful to be tugged in the right direction on a regular basis by folks like Chris Brogan, who once again sounds the call in his newsletter to avoid talking about the technology in favor of talking about what it can do for people:
If you lead into the talk with words like “wiki” and “RSS” and “Twitter,” you might as well turn around and walk out. Business is about doing business, not learning new and amazing things.
It’s your job as the cool hunter to sift through it all, find the stuff that’s a good fit, and talk about how it applies to the way things are being done now.
Free and Easy
Talks about starting a blog (including mine) tend to include a song and dance about how it’s “free” and “easy.”
When of course it’s really neither.
Blogs take time, and your time is worth a lot. We only have a certain amount of hours in a day. If you spend a few hours blogging, that’s a few hours you didn’t spend on other parts of your job, or on your family, or on feeding the hungry, or sleeping or dancing or holding hands.
And writing isn’t “easy” for the majority of the population, either. It happens to be something I’m pretty happy doing, but that’s far from true for everybody.
I know that if someone went around talking about how solving simultaneous equations was free and easy, I’d want to smack them, hard.
So it’s really relative. And to people who remain skeptical, it is anything but self-evident that any of this is worth their time and the grief it might take them to learn it.
But at least ten of those women and girls assembled on Thursday night told me on their way out the door that their minds had been changed about the usefulness of blogs, and that they were going to start blogs that very night.
So we must be doing something right.
And maybe ten other people in that room heard my talk, and decided that nope, writing a blog right now wasn’t right for them.
And that’s a good result, too.
I’m less of an evangelist these days than an educator. Here’s what this thing is, here’s how it might help, and here’s why it might not.
What about you? Do you evangelize? Or do you do something else?