A couple of years ago my family went to live in Dublin, Ireland for a few months. The experience of living in another country was an eye-opener, and one I would gladly repeat if given the chance. While there I was privileged enough to learn some fascinating lessons from and about another culture. But the thing I think about most in regards to blogging and business is the beautiful way Dubliners were able to fuse history and progress.
Dublin (and Ireland in general) had only recently come into its booming economy. Everywhere we looked there were new buildings going up, old buildings being refurbished, neighborhoods being expanded or roads being re-surfaced. In some areas it was quite a shock to see the beautiful landscape end suddenly in a very modern looking mall, but in many places the advent of progress was tasteful and seamless, and nowhere more so than Dublin Castle, where ancient stone turrets are flanked by a more modern brick and glass library.
Blogging and social media have also only recently come into their booming popularity (by recently I mean within the past 5 or 10 years), and are still experiencing some growing pains of their own. Bloggers still have to deal with people asking “Blog? What’s that?” Or what’s worse, there are many out there who are suspicious of blogs and inclined to regard them as gossip. Many of us bloggers want to embrace the new media; explore it and push it to the limits to see what we can do with it. But some of our readers won’t be ready for too much change all at once. Not only that, the history that brought us to blogs is rich and beautiful, and still holds many useful lessons for us.
So how can bloggers, like the Irish, fuse history and progress? Well, my personal history is in literature, which means I like to take my lessons from the great writers; Shakespeare, Swift, Austen, Twain. These were writers who knew the range of human experience and cared deeply for it. They weren’t afraid to write about what was unpopular, they weren’t afraid to poke fun at serious topics. They also knew that what they wrote made an impact on people, and took their craft seriously.
Readers on the internet have notoriously short attention spans, and any blogger knows that you have to grab attention quickly, say what you have to say, and leave them wanting more. But I say that with all of this brevity we’re forgetting some of our history. There is value in fine writing and a thought followed to completion. And maybe—just maybe—there are still a few readers out there who would prefer Dublin Castle to a shopping mall.