Personal blog assistant

Now that I’m back and jet lagged from Bangalore (where Barcamp kicked mighty ass and with three more in the country to come) I’m realizing that I have a tonne of stuff to blog about, not the least of which concerns things that I’ve personally instigated and have an obligation to report on.

The problem, however, is how to be involved with everything, actually execute and still have time to blog about it. Admittedly I end up being a tad verbose at times, so cutting my Average Word Count Per Entry down would help — as might treating my blog more like a public email repository… returning back that “Four Readers” focus that encouraged informality and brevity over details and loquaciousness.

Anyway, the matter remains that I’m countless blog posts behind and barely able to keep up with the off-topic rants I’d like to get to, not to mention follow all the threads going on meanwhile.

So wouldn’t it be great if we put all those soon-to-be-displaced journalists to work as personal blog assistants? I mean, a PBA could have multiple simultaneous clients — indeed, they could cover a local sector of a given topic (like beat journalists — beat bloggers?). Or, perhaps they could be “topic writers for hire”… For example, how cool would it be to have someone that the community endorses to attend events and report back for them? I’d love to have a Barcamp or Mash Pit PBA go out and attend each event, providing specialized reports that matter to, oh, say, 2,500 people worldwide.

I mean, when Tara reports that “The World is Mega Uber Bloody Flat” she reveals a whole new realm of reportage that the MSM will simply never see as economically viable (or perhaps even interesting) (even though, historically, that’s where local papers made their bread and butter).

And yet the experiences and people involved in these worldwide camps are extremely interesting to me — as I’m sure they are to many others in our community. But, as it is with blogs, they are fairly poor at really capturing what went on, at least in comparison to the way a dedicated journalist who sees the continuous threads of the story might… and indeed, those threads of continuity are what make the Barcamp story so compelling.

So what I’m proposing is this: blogs are a great mechanism for communities to talk amongst themselves or for independent voices to gain an audience, but they are not entirely a substitute for a unified perspective that can connect the pieces and reassemble a complete story. The role journalists traditionally played was to tell stories that interwove diverse and contradicting views in the interest of keeping the public informed. Of course, this was before the advent of subliminal product placement and expressing everything in terms of stock prices and market valuations.

But as usual, I digress.

…which a PBA would not — or at least not without good reason and good measure. Anyway, I’m not going to stop blogging for myself… it just would be highly interesting to have someone follow the topics that are interesting to me and report back about them. The way that only a human can. The way that journalists are supposed to.

Author: Chris Messina

Head of West Coast Business Development at Republic. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Hashtag inventor. Previously: (YC W18), Uber, Google.

13 thoughts on “Personal blog assistant”

  1. Well, I’m on the lookout for a job during my summer vacation, and this would be very interesting! Although, as I’m not in the US, I guess you won’t be interested.. 🙂
    It’d be cool to search for a job as a blogger on my own blog, though. That would be the perfect summer job!

  2. Chris, this is a killer idea. I suffer from much the same issues. I have been practicing this, un-intentionally for the last couple years.

    Børge, I really don’t think distance would play apart in today’s world. E-mail, chat, skype, etc. have shrunk the world so the toughest part is getting good clean communication back and forth and setting times to have live interactions. Face-to-face can be done through video chat.

    This past week I met somebody I have collaborated with a few times over the past five or six years. We had never met in person before. Location is less relevant than ever before (oddly, I am spending more time on planes to meet people face to face than ever before — I am still trying to sort that one out). Face-to-face is incredibly important still, but it is no longer the be-all and end-all. If Chris has an interest and you have the passion and skills, it seems like it is a great match.

  3. vanderwal: Yeah, I am aware of how unimportant distance is for communication, and I would have no problems working for Chris if this was just about blogging, But this isn’t just about that. This is about attending diferent kinds of camps and other meetups in the US, and then blog about that. And I figure that would be a little hard to do from Norway.. 🙂

  4. I thought everything was hard from the Washington, DC area.

    I saw the latest BarCamp from Bangalore had a video stream, just like the first BarCamp. I watched the first BarCamp on the first day from the stream. I followed the IRC chat. I pinged people to ask questions and be my voice. Chris was my legs by moving the laptop with the iSight on it around to where the people were. All of this was less than perfect, but it allowed me access it removed some distance.

    I am just trying to provide options.

    I wish for Bangalore I was not in the middle of meetings and a presentation or I would have been tethered to the feeds.

    We can make this happen.


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