I subscribe to a range of blogs using Feedly as my RSS Reader. This makes it easier to keep up to date with industry blogs and reduces email clutter. I currently have 488 unread Google alerts and 211 unread blog posts in Feedly. I could do better with regularly checking and reading my subscribed feeds. I tend to focus on a small number of my favourite blogs. Here I reflect on what I enjoy about three of these.
Over 10 years of blogging Harold Jarche has published 2,650 posts. Two themes I enjoy are Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) and networked working and learning . He continually evolves his thinking on topics, reusing, updating and refining content. I like his approach of writing primarily for himself. If others find value in his work then that’s a bonus. I use this as a model for my own writing. It reduces the pressure , and helps me to focus on learning and improving my practices. While not quite stream of consciousness, I can see his thinking and work developing over time. He has compiled his “best posts” into two e-books. I’ve read the first, Seeking Perpetual Beta, which he describes as “a cohesive narrative that covers learning, working, and managing in the emerging network era”. While he writes clearly I sometimes feel too trapped by my paradigms to see how to apply his vision of the future of work in my world. His thinking stretches me and motivates me to question the status quo. His practical guidance on personal and organisational knowledge management is valuable. I completed his PKM in 40 days program in 2014. This gave me skills to filter relevant information and make sense of it. His model of “How Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) add Value” is a useful framework. It has helped me speak with people in my business about why and how we can better use our ESN. I look to Harold as a pathfinder, helping me to find different ways of working and learning.
Helen Blunden writes on her business blog, Activate Learning Solutions. While not as prolific as Harold she does write often – 13 posts in first 2 months of 2015. Helen writes about modern learning approaches, her networking activities and working experiences. I most enjoy the case studies where she describes programs she has developed and how she worked. Her social on-boarding case study is a good example. The open, detailed way she writes gave me a good sense of who she is and her professional approach. Helen is inquisitive, interested in others, seeks to understand the business environment and people, designs practical solutions to improve performance and results, and has an eye for detail. After several months of reading Helen’s blog and connecting with her online I met her briefly at a conference in mid 2014. Face-to-face she was consistent with her online persona. I felt that I knew her well from our online interaction and portfolio on her blog. I did not hesitate to engage her to help develop a Community of Practice.
Finally, the blog I get the most pure pleasure in reading is Sacha Chua’s Living An Awesome Life. Sacha is in the midst of a five year semi-retirement experiment that she started in her late 20s. I admire her courage and resourcefulness in making this happen. The way she thinks is fascinating. She is an astute observer who asks interesting questions, breaks down a topic into smaller pieces to analyse and develop insights, and provides helpful visual summaries (sketchnotes). Her writing is simultaneously intensely personal and broadly relevant – as exemplified by her recent post on common goals. Her blog is a place to think and learn. She posts almost daily, and she has written over 7,000 posts in 14 years. Her motivation, originality, openness and willingness to share are inspiring. She makes me want to live a better quality self-directed life.
You can imagine my delight when I recently saw a video of Sacha and Harold discussing blogging and PKM on YouTube. The two take very different approaches to developing their thinking and managing their blogs.
What are your favourite blogs and why?