Leadership blogging tips 3: Mean what you say

“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans” – Woody Allen

Blogging helps you develop your thoughts in public. This can improve your productivity and create a new dialogue with a targeted group of people that you want to work with more closely.

But once you press ‘publish’, your words will be forever branded into Google’s memory and will be findable through The Wayback Machine. There may be ways of erasing them, but if you assume that it’s impossible, you will save yourself time and anxiety.

For this reason, authoritative predictions and weighty assertions may not be a great idea.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s not usefully conversational to be certain and over-confident about your own judgment anyway. As Darwin put it, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.” The Archbishop of York once even suggested that “the lust for certainty may be a sin.” It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect.

On the other hand, you could just develop your own thoughts on a scrap-pad that you carry around in  your pocket. Using a blog forces you to raise your game: “Do I really think this? If I say it here, I’ll have to be able to defend it in future.” As this (sadly, sold out) motto urges us:

Used properly, you will probably find your social media tools are more useful for listening than for projection anyway. So ask questions. Present your arguments and ask your readers to point out the holes. Be certain that everything you do say is on firm ground and treat each post like a work-in-progress that you want your readers to help you finish.

Footnote: I’ve used the point de certitude to illustrate this post. More details here.

Further listening: Dead Cert (a Radio 4 analysis programme on the dangers of certainty)- 2008 – transcript here.

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