Sharing your personal views
|A weblog or blog|
According to Wikipedia, A blog is: "Blog is the contraction universally used for weblog, a type of website where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary), displayed in a reverse chronological order.
Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic."
The next interview took place at September 21, 2006 with Wouter Rijneveld from Woord en Daad.
“I started my blog around March this year. Since then, I’ve posted about 50 items. I started blogging because I read a lot and sometimes the things I read frustrate or stimulate me. Which urges me to express my opinion somehow and somewhere. I am quite active on the internet, so I knew about blogging. It seemed to me the perfect way to express my views.” Do you want to achieve something specific by blogging? “No, it’s something I do purely for myself. I simply want to be able to express my views. I don’t try to change the world, which probably wouldn’t work anyway with the way I blog. As you can see, I blog about a wide variety of topics: very personal things, like the birth of my son, but also about issues connected to my work. If you want to achieve something with a blog, I think you need to keep a clear focus. I realised this when I registered my blog at certain services, which make finding my blog easier. I always find it difficult to choose the categories to put my blog in.” Can you describe the subjects you cover? “I blog about development, religion, general news and personal issues. You might say my main theme is unfair trade or the injustice in the world. I’ve considered splitting those topics into two separate blogs: private and development. But this means keeping two blogs going and people who read my blog now will have to start reading two. And because I blog for myself, I didn’t really see the need.” Why did you choose blogger as a blog service? “I searched options for free blogging and came across Blogger. Its very user friendly, which is an aspect I looked into. Later, I tried out a couple of other free sites, but didn’t feel they offered many advantages compared to Blogger. One problem I did encounter is that Blogger does not allow putting posts in categories. But I got around this by tagging my posts at delicious."
Other people’s feelings
How is your blog connected to your work at Woord en Daad? “It isn’t. I only share my opinions and as my interests concern my professional life, some subjects overlap. When I explicitly refer to development-related issues, the problem is that I then somehow have to consult or get the approval from Woord en Daad with every post I write. Since I’m only blogging for myself, I want to avoid going trough the communication department. My work does influence my blog a lot, because I come across interesting issues at work. However, the reverse hardly ever happens: my blogging doesn’t have much influence on my work. The only thing might be that blogging accentuates some feelings, which I might also express in my work. I try to avoid naming Woord en Daad in my blog. I won’t specifically mention anything that directly opposes the views of Woord en Daad. This also holds for my former employer. I do not want them to take offence with me. In general, I am very careful when my views directly oppose someone else’s. If I read an interview, I will refer to that interview but without specifically naming the interviewee. I don’t want to make personal attacks. I also avoid rubbing up someone in my own network the wrong way, although I usually take a critical stance on issues.”
To be, or not to be known
How did you get your blog publicised? “People gradually became aware of it in my own network. Half were positive while the others didn’t give any specific reaction. I guess they didn’t see the point in sharing your opinion over the internet. They also might regard me as too critical. People aren’t always clear why I like to share what I share. I don’t really promote it much. After all, my initial goal wasn’t to attract a lot of visitors. Although I have to admit that I keep track of hits on my site; I’m increasingly interested in visitor numbers and really enjoy people reacting to my blog. That way you get some credit for your work. The only promotion I do is to enter the address of my blog whenever I create a profile anywhere on the internet. It is also registered with Google and connected to a website I have with a friend.” Do you get a lot of visitors? “I get around 7-10 visitors a day. It’s not a huge number - the maximum is around 50 visitors a day. People seem attracted by unusual viewpoints, but sometimes they get to my blog through very weird word combinations. I can see the search words that lead them to it. Because I cover many topics, there are a great number of possible combinations. As my blog isn’t in English, people who can’t read Dutch will log off pretty fast. I get the idea that more individuals then organisations visit my blog.”
Do you see any potential or advantages for a corporate blog? "We did a trial and kept a blog during a field visit, but the time involved and practical questions like 'what can and can’t you make public directly' and who would be interested enough in the projects to read such a blog, convinced us against continuing the experiment. But it might be continued for certain special events."
I don't keep up a blog myself. I have the feeling that I don't have anything to share, so I would not know what to write. I have used a blog once for a course at the university. We had to record there what we wrote. At that time it didn't really make sense to me. I thought the teachers chose a blog just to have something else instead of WebCT Vista, which we always used. Now I am beginning to think that I could have kept up with the blog to organise all I have ever written. It is a very useful tool to show progress or a change of ideas over time.