Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Personal or Professional?

An interesting issue has arisen for me about the character and purpose of my blog. On Sunday it was announced that I will be returning to parish ministry and I immediately noticed a large increase in traffic to my blog based on Google searches. I’m fairly sure much of this traffic is from future parishioners so I had a bit of a panic and quickly checked recent posts to make sure I had not said anything I was going to regret. The post about my random album with a naked woman on the front cover caused a slight wobble, but my wife thought it tasteful so I figured there was not a problem.

However, this has made me think about the purpose of my blog and how I will use it in the future. I’ve already noticed that almost subconsciously I post less about my family and tend to keep that information for my Facebook page where there is more control over access. I also notice that I have been putting up more work related posts, particularly in connection with Bible Year 2011. Nevertheless, my blog is still a place where I can fire off my own reflections and observations, not just about faith but about football, culture, politics and whatever else happens to catch my attention.

So the question is this:
Do I keep my blog for my personal thoughts and opinions and roll out a separate blog related to my parish ministry? Or do I merge the two together?
I can see strengths and weaknesses with both approaches and notice that blogging colleagues have taken different stances. I don’t want to lose the character of my blog, such as it is, but I will want to post material related to my work in the parish that may be of little interest to a wider readership. Yet, there is likely to be a certain amount of overlap in material and there may well be things relating to our specific parish context that resonate further afield. 

Thoughts please…
pr champ
Any excuse!


eddie said...

Our blog started off as a way to keep in touch with the people who pray for us and support us financially. Over the years it has morphed into a more professional and geeky (if you can be a world-mission geek) blog, though we still do put some personal stuff on there.

In other words, I haven't worked out an answer to your question, either.

The Vicar's Wife said...

My husband uses a single blog for his theological & parish reflections - and a bit of personal stuff too. Small church, though, and not very IT literate. I think two blogs might just confuse you. And people who read such things would probably read both anyway.

UKViewer said...

Please keep it as it is - posting whatever and whenever you want.

A change of role does not change the writer, it just opens up new opportunities.

I may not respond often, but I read it always. Your perspective is actually well grounded and I appreciate that.

margaretkiaora said...

I had a personal blog before joining a team doing a Parish Blog.
My difficulty is that I cant separate the two, when I am blogging its just ME.

So I have had to get my husband to always read what I am putting on the Parish blog, as I must not upset anyone.The person who gets the flack is not me but our Vicar, people have come to her door and ask for posts to removed. The website team has had to put a disclaimer on the site too. So we are careful and now avoid divisive subjects on the Parish Blog.
So I rant on my personal blog.

Ian S-T said...

I'm loving your blog because it IS personal. To my mind parish stuff should go in a sidebar on a parish website: then anyone who has a parish connection can see it there.

AliceE said...

I have 2 blogs, partly to spare youthworkers from my scrapbooking obsession!! I find it easy to manage but know that people do read both so perhaps there is little point? As long as you keep blogging, I don't mind!!

Fr. Nicholas Wheeler said...

Remember what happened to the last Team Rector of Great Baddow!

dmk said...

For what it's worth:

- In parish ministry you won't have time to run two blogs, if you're lucky you'll be able to run one. I wouldn't worry about starting a second one.

- My blog started off as a way of extending the conversations I was having in normal life over mission etc., and also as a way of sounding off about stuff as it occurred to me - it freed up Sundays sermon to be more focused on the topic/passage in question, rather than being an attempt to respond to every issue that had come on the radar that week.

- I keep more personal newsy stuff on Facebook: all my Facebook friends are people I've met personally, so Facebook isn't just an extension of my blog. But I set my Facebook page up to register new posts on the blog in case those folks were interested.

- I posted various things on my blog that were of local interest only, which didn't seem to stop people visiting.

- Having the blog as an aspect of my parish ministry, as well as thoughts on wider issues, kept me suitably in check. Knowing I'd have to interact face to face with people over stuff I'd written was good accountability, and meant I usally thought/reworded before hitting 'publish'.

I'm waiting with interest to see what you make of the transition back to parish ministry!

Sue D said...

I think trying to run two blogs could be confusing so I would stay with the one. Possibly take up the suggestion of adding some sort of disclaimer plus, remembering that there is no such thing as private on the web (including Facebook). I value your blog so hope it doesn't go! (But I always skip the football.)

Sue D said...

PS what did happen to the last Team Rector of Great Baddow? Or shouldn't I ask?

stripes said...

Guilty as charged when it comes to increased traffic to the blog (well, not singlehandedly, honest!) I should have had the presence of mind to add a comment saying I'm looking forward to you being our new rector (which I am). Sorry about that.

The content's fine with me! No concerns over naked woman.

Regarding what to do next, it's rather cheeky to recommend anything, this being my first comment on the blog. But. On other blogs I enjoy, the personal observations mix with the professional stuff, and the blog is no poorer for that. I skip by the bits I don't find interesting (like football, for example...) 2 blogs means more upkeep for you.

James Ogley said...

I'm a real believer that God makes us whole people - where the personal ends and the professional begins (and vice versa) is unclear.

I've been blogging for about ten years now and used to run a technology-focused blog aggregation site. But in both those instances, I've insisted that all of life belongs together.

So, I say keep it all in one. Your personal life shapes your professional life and vice versa. You'll only end up confused about where to put *that* post eventually otherwise...

Charlie Kosla said...

I think you should keep it as one blog as the Treehouse is well known nationally for what it stands for and the range of issues it addresses. Whatever happens keep on blogging!
Your new position as a local vicar will help enhance what you say.
Do hope you enjoyed the second bottle of champagne!

Purple Pirate said...

Yes we have been checking you out, I guess we had kind of lost faith in those who make the selection after the fun we had with the last man.

Soo pleased its you, hurry up and get here.