Just when you thought it was safe to go on-line: I am back and blogging! Despite wonderful intentions, I have not blogged since July 29th. I even missed the first anniversary of my entrée into the blogosphere, September 6th! Despite a deep desire to blog—a longing, even, despite the belief that somebody besides myself likes to read these things, despite there being no lack of worthy material, I have not blogged! Why? This got me thinking about the determinants of behavior, and about how to maintain desired behaviors. (And talking here about something desired by me!) What could I glean from theory and best practice to support my desired behavior of blogging regularly?
I. The first place I thought of turning for guidance was Fostering
Sustainable Behavior, by Doug McKenzie-Mohr and
II. Next I turned to one of my favorite resources, a list of behavioral determinants from a consensus conference of leading behavioral theorists, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. Participants agreed that there are both external and internal determinants of behavior. Let’s see:
External: 1) Access—I have access to a computer, a blogging solution, many sources of ideas; 2) Skills—I can easily create a post; 3) Actual consequences—okay, writing is a slow process for me, but when I publish I feel great, and I get good feedback! 4) Culture—among my professional peeps, blogging is held in high esteem. And, I have a group of social media angels who are the “wind under my wings” (Craig, Nedra, Alex, Andre—you know who you are!)
Internal: 1) Knowledge—Got all sorts of pertinent knowledge! 2) Attitudes—Believe blogging is worthwhile. 3) Perceived consequences—I’ll be better known, readers will benefit, BUT I expect it to be a long, slow process to compose a post. 4) Intention—I intend to write as soon as I get home; tonight; as soon as I finish this project; before the month’s end.
The diagnosis: Lots of determinants in place. Might be an “intervention” around consequences, related to the writing, making it easier. Still not much help…
III. Finally, I turned to the concept of exchange, which is at the heart of marketing: the balance of barriers and benefits (or facilitators). This seemed more hopeful!
Time—having enough time to write, with my competing demands (H1N1, Healthy People 20-something, building capacity for social media, family things)
Fatigue—Home seems like a better place than work, but after my workday, then dinner, then clean-up…Please, can I just “veg” with something mindless?!
Slowness of writing—I write well, but it is painful, like giving birth! Going from primary to secondary process thinking. Getting the words just right.
Enjoy being a part of the social marketing conversation! I have something to add.
Like to see myself in print! (A corollary of a line from The Eagles, “It’s a certain kind of fool that likes to hear the sound of his own name.”)
I value the medium of blogging.
Positive feedback from readers.
Keeps me thinking, mentally fresh!
No lack of topics to comment on!
Blogging positions me, promotes me as a brand
The diagnosis: THIS feels like I am getting somewhere! These barriers and benefits “fit” for me, and feel like something I can get a handle on. The benefits for me are very compelling, therefore I will focus on reducing the barriers!
My Personal Social Marketing Plan for Maintenance of Blogging
- Time and place—Set aside a specific day and time to blog. Possibly set a specific amount of time, during which to work. Perhaps compose on a laptop, while the family is involved in “parallel play” in the living room.
- Fatigue—Write during the day when I have more energy (during lunch or breaks away from the day job). Or at home, write first, then do the dishes, so my best energy is applied to writing.
- Writing—Perhaps write in more of a bulleted format. Record myself talking out the post, then transcribe it. Take a lesson from Twitter and write in bursts of 140 characters! Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Have recurring “features” that are easy to put together.
And from you, dear reader: send me suggestions of things that work for you that I can consider; comment on posts; and if you like my writing, let me know! I will be giving you plenty of opportunities to do that in this next year!