Some conflicted thoughts on blogging

26 August 2014

I’ve spent years wrestling over whether I should have a personal blog. I love to write. And I have the beginnings of blogs on various platforms, but have never made the final decision to publish and promote a blog.

I’ve been concerned about blogging because I’m concerned about the risks. Some of the posts that I was tempted to publish many years ago would be embarrassing to me now. And I’m sure there are things I’ll be tempted to post now that might be embarrassing to me in the future. 

Part of this is because, with respect to hundreds if not thousands of topics, my views now differ from my views in the past. This process will continue throughout the course of my life. 

My views evolve. Additional knowledge and experience has a way of doing that. I would go as far as saying that a failure to change views in light of additional information or perspectives is a worrying sign about a person. I like the general philosophy of having “strong opinions, lightly held”.

So I’m terrified that something I say now, or that I’ve said in the past – especially when I say it in writing, and it can emphatically be attributed to me – could be used to discredit me, now or in the future.

In part, this is why this blog is called “Don’t quote me on it”. I disclaim today, and will disclaim until the day I die, that I reserve the right to change my mind or attempt to better articulate my views over time. In other words: Don’t quote me on the thoughts I express in my blog. But I welcome you to challenge them, so that I can reconsider them or add nuance to them. Because that it is part of what this process is about. 

Notwithstanding this, I think the benefits of blogging exceed the potential risks. Some of my reasons (or rationalisations?) are below.

For a long time I had the misconception that if you’re not actively managing your internet presence, you don’t really have one. But in this day and age, that’s untrue. I have a presence, and it’s better to manage it than leave it to chance. I might as well embrace the fact that I have an internet presence and take some degree of control over it by publishing a blog that discusses things I’m interested in. And in the event something gets attributed to me, well, I’d prefer to misrepresent my reviews than let someone else do it for me.

Another reason for blogging is that I subscribe to the idea that you don’t actually know what you think until you’ve put your ideas into writing. I might have an idea of what I think, but in many cases there’s nothing like fleshing these “thought bubbles” into words and exploring the nuances. Sure, I could do this on my own. Making these words public adds another level of accountability, a desire to address all sides, and adds emotional resonance (which helps with remembering them!).

Why else? Because having a blog exposes me to positive “black swans”. There could be a number of positive unanticipated consequences. I might get a better insight into my interests and start to focus on the blog so it better complements my professional life. I might meet like minded and interesting people. Who knows?

Like many decisions with unexpected consequences, you can’t always assess the quality of the decision based on its consequences, but on the information available at the time the decision was entered into. And I think publishing a blog is the right decision to make.



About the author 

Sonnie Bailey

In his spare time, Sonnie likes telling people that he’s a former Olympic power walker, a lion tamer, or that he is an orthodontist. He is none of those things. In reality, Sonnie is a financial planner based in Christchurch. Through his business, Fairhaven Wealth (www.fairhavenwealth.co.nz), he provides independent, advice-only, fixed-fee financial planning services. Sonnie is a “recovering lawyer”: he has specialised in trusts and personal client work. He has also worked as a financial services lawyer for many years.

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