Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Perspective in Blogs (or how Guy Kawasaki almost ruined my blogging experience)

The other day I ran across Guy Kawasaki's Signum sine tinnitu blog. I've always enjoyed Guy's speaking so I spent some time on his blog (really good stuff), but then I ran across The First 100 Days: Observations of a Nouveau Blogger where he says:
The more a blogger uses the pronoun “I,” the less he has to say. Many
bloggers apparently believe that people not only give a shiitake about
everything they say, but that these people are hanging on to every word.

If you notice my first paragraph (which is fairly standard in my blog) it contains four "I"s. Uh oh. So, for a couple of days, I've been self-conscious about the number of "I"s in my blog. My experience has been a little like an experience in college when a we challenged a student who used his hands a lot to try to go through our after dinner conversation sitting on his hands. He could barely get a thought out of his head.

Damn you Guy!

The good news is that I've been able to rationalize the word "I" in blogs. Much of what I look for in other writers' blog posts is their experience and their perspective/opinion. In fact, one CEO group that I was part of drilled into your head to never give advice directly, but rather provide relevant personal experience that might help you draw your own conclusion.

In fact, I'm happy to read Guy's opinion about using the word "I" ... and his experience that people like me who use it a lot may not have much to say ... Luckily, I've come to ignore this advice ... but that's just "I" (dang if only that was grammatically correct).


Tony Karrer said...

:) Cool to have you visit and leave a comment Guy.

(Whew I wrote a sentence without "I" in it - but I couldn't do it twice.)

Tony Karrer said...

Thanks Dave and Karyn!

Dave - Guy's thoughts are often right on the money and not something you want to hear. So, I definitely pay attention. I'm coming to a similar conclusion that you did - and I'm not 100% sure I know when "I" indicates self-indulgence and when it indicates communicating meaningful personal experience. So your point to pay attention is good.

Karyn - like you - I really enjoy Creating Passionate Users by Kathy Sierra. It's really well written, easy to read, so I took a look at her style. She uses we, you, I in her writing but not nearly as much as I do. I think using her style as a rubric is a fantastic suggestion! Thanks!

jay said...

Just so I can get me into this comment stream (Ay, ay, ay, ay), I must say I agree with you guys that I isn't bad usage in a blog. I strive to be authentic and often that means stream-of-consciousness, from brain to keyboard with no stops in between. To my way of thinking, the I implies falibility. It's the difference between "I don't believe in God" and "God does not exist." What gets my goat is people who tout their advanced degrees, even in the comments section of their blogs. I could be wrong....

Tony Karrer said...

Jay - I'll take your advice and drop the Ph.D. stuff after my name. Thanks for the suggestion.

Harold Jarche said...

This guy (small g) is sticking to the first person singular, because he's the one that writes the blog. Guy's points make sense and encourages review of one's style, but individual perspective is still a significant factor in a successful blog. If "I" want a third-person perspective, I'll read a book ;-)

Keep up the good work, Tony.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon this today, Tony. Have put up a post on my blog on the "I" topic -