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Blogging about blogging

Last week, Team Helpful took a day off to focus on kick starting the revamp of our website. The results will hopefully appear soon, but one thing that won’t be appearing on the new site is a blog. Or at least, not in the conventional sense.

As a civil servant working in digital six years ago, I set up helpfultechnology.com as a personal blog about work – driven mostly by a desire to avoid hypocrisy. Three years ago, I left, and the blog became the site for my one-man-band consulting business, with the blog serving as a subset of content in a small corporate website. As Helpful Technology has grown from one man, to one man plus associates, to two, three and maybe more people, it’s clear we need to try a different format.

Personally, I’ve found myself blogging less about day to day work and examples, and tended to write more sporadic posts about deeper strategic issues – it’s more challenging to write engagingly about client work, for sure (even when clients are lovely and projects are interesting).

Convention dictates we’d have a company blog, and all our team would post their bon mots there and we’d collectively build up a following – to use the vile phrase, develop some corporate ‘thought leadership’ – of our own. The thing is, I didn’t hire Luke because I wanted to read less of his ideas on Intranet Diary. Howard has a parallel acting career alongside his work here (and jolly helpful it is too, though I’ve yet to find a corporate application for his stage combat skills). And even for me, there are times where I’d like to write things which don’t fit in Helpful Technology space.

Ultimately, I think blogs work best when they’re personal. But the form and dynamic of blogging has changed in recent years: Blogging happens:

  • in a wider variety of places
  • in looser arrangements and collaborations
  • in many more forms from captioned pictures to code snippets, long-form musing to practical how-tos or bookmarks

So my blog is shipping out here to postbureaucrat.com (well spotted Paul), and the Helpful Technology site will feature a curated collection of stuff from there, from the rest of the team’s blogs, from things we or our clients write elsewhere, and from places we talk about our process, methods and advice. It will  draw on the experience and rather nifty technology we’ve developed to power Demsoc’s Open Policymaking site, and our own Digital Engagement Guide.

Blogging in a purer, personal form again feels exciting and fresh (I’m almost tempted to book myself on Dave’s great-sounding blogging bootcamp). The old RSS feed should still work, or you can get my new posts as an email on a Sunday afternoon if you prefer.

And hopefully the next post here won’t just be about blogging.