Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Habits and Communication

I have been neglecting this blog for some time now. I have gone a month without posting, which has not happened since I started four years ago.

This has mainly happened because I have spent most of that month finishing my dissertation. When a dissertation deadline is coming up, everything else gets pushed aside. I even shut off most of the subscriptions in Google Reader to save time, which means that my knowledge of current events is limited to what I read in the Wall Street Journal during my lunch break.

But I have successfully defended, gotten my revisions passed, and made sure that all the paperwork was being processed. The last week has been pretty relaxed. I have not posted anything, partly because I got out of the habit of writing blog posts.

The dissertation was not the only reason I got out of the habit of writing posts. The purposes of this blog were to share my life and thoughts with family and friends, to practice and improve my writing, and to develop an online archive of my thoughts and writings on various subjects. None of these goals are as relevant as they once were.

The last two goals have already been met. I have written on many topics, and I can easily give people a link to them. Having this portfolio was useful during my job search. There is not really a lot to add at this point. My writing has improved with practice, to the extent that some of the older posts are a bit embarrassing, but I do not really need more practice. The writing that I will be doing in the future, academic papers and cost analyses, is different than what I have been writing here, and from a career perspective, I should be practicing that rather than writing blog posts.

Society and technology have also changed, meaning that this blog is no longer the ideal tool for communication. Four years ago, most of my family did not have a Facebook account. The only ways to regularly share my life with them were to spam their email, waste a lot of time calling people individually, or write a blog. But today, a Facebook note or status update is the most efficient way of sharing things with people I know. I started putting all of the personal posts on Facebook, saving the blog posts for things that a potential employer would want to see.

I am not quite ready to announce the end of this blog, but it is a possibility. I will have to see how the next month goes. Maybe I will get back in the habit of writing posts.

If I do start blogging in a serious way, I will probably start a new blog that is focused on a specific topic. Starting next month, my job will be analyzing food safety regulations for the Food and Drug Administration. After a couple years of doing that, I will have a lot of expertise in food safety, and a lot of knowledge that would be valuable to a wide audience. I have had a personal interest in food issues for years, which was one of the reasons I got the job, so it might be fun to blog food safety and nutrition from the perspective of a PhD Economist.