Blogging, value and vulnerability

Anyone who blogs must be prepared to be:

  • flamed or otherwise criticised
  • splogged or similarly left with some form of comment spam
  • ridiculed for actions or omissions

It goes with the territory, and I should not be surprised to face all three within a fortnight of going public. The flames have so far been incidental, largely on other sites that link to me. But they are flames nevertheless. The splogs have also been irrelevant so far, all I have needed to do is to moderate them away. And I am sure the ridicule will come.

This brings me to a point which I feel is material to bloggers in general, and I’d love to hear opinions from people “out there”. Can a blogger create value without making herself or himself vulnerable? Isn’t being vulnerable actually part of the process of creating value?

My guess is yes. In this respect I am reminded of the work of Professor Michael Power at the LSE. Some time ago he wrote a pamphlet called The Risk Management of Everything which you can find here. He’s a very interesting guy, I arranged to have lunch with him shortly after reading the document.

While he made many good points, the one that stood out for me (in the context of information) was his assertion that second-order risk management, itself often caused by post-facto regulation in an increasingly litigious society, was creating an environment that was driving out “valuable, yet vulnerable, professional opinion”. These are my quotes, and my apologies for not guaranteeing their accuracy, it has been a while since I read it.

Vulnerability is an essential part of any professional or personal opinion. It comes from not having certainty about the opinion expressed. Opinions presented with certainty must be one of two things: not opinion but fact; or, bigotry and propaganda.

I’m also reminded of another piece of apocrypha, one I really liked. Apparently Justin Hawkins of The Darkness was being interviewed somewhere, sometime and the DJ commented on how the band was perceived as enjoying themselves despite their meteoric rise to fame. And Justin is meant to have said “We take our music very seriously, we just don’t take ourselves seriously”.

There’s something in that for all us bloggers.

Let me know what you think

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