It is a bit incestuous to blog about blogging, but as it is still relatively new as a medium, I do find it interesting when it reveals the way in which blogging has forced itself into the interstices of your life.
As friends on Twitter may know, my wife was recently diagnosed with tongue cancer. Please don't post comments of support – I know people mean it, but it will make me feel as though I was only blogging this for sympathy. I mention it only to give the context to what follows (the long term prognosis is good by the way).
With hospital visits, surgery, nursing at home, ongoing radiotherapy, plus childcare, this has inevitably meant a disruption to work. I had to hand over SocialLearn directorship to my (much more competent) colleague, Simon Buckingham-Shum as it was entering a very intense phase and I wouldn't be able to give the mental attention it required, or be present at enough meetings.
But during this period (I've been on annual leave for most of it) I still wanted to feel intellectually active (no jokes about why change now). In addition I didn't want to disappear off the organisational or professional radar. Blogging has proved the ideal solution. I can fit it in around my newly disrupted life, it offers feedback, and it can be broken down into convenient chunks. It is flexible, and at the same time rewarding.
And more than that, freed from some of the everyday constraints of an ongoing project, I have had time to look at tools, read blogs (and even the odd journal article), and just do some thinking. The blog has been the framework for this.
Given that during most people's working life they will have periods such as this, the blog can be a useful means of lessening their impact. One of the big issues the individual and the organisation face is that the individual becomes distanced from what is happening at work, and so when they start back in earnest there is a considerable barrier to overcome. I feel that blogging and of course, twitter, may help reduce this barrier. This is probably only true if the individual is already active in these areas, this wouldn't be the time to start them.
It would make an interesting research project to investigate whether social media use in your professional capacity reduces the work impact of life events. Come on, someone must have a PhD student looking for a subject? (I'm not volunteering to supervise it by the way).