You’d think that blogging on a daily basis is a tough ask - let alone posting quality material which people look forward to reading, but Graham achieves it and has done so for a long period of time.
And Graham’s right; when I manage to post regularly I get more site visits, more enquiries and more speaker bookings. I appear higher in Google results for certain keywords and I see an unexpected knock on effect with more views on my LinkedIn profile page – which in itself leads to more connections.
Some would argue there is quite enough noise on the Internet as it is without people being encouraged to blog as often as possible. Many people believe that information overload on the Internet is a big problem because it makes it harder for people to find and filter what they are looking for.
Whatever way you look at it, the Internet is a cacophony of noise – much of it valuable and pleasant to ‘listen’ to – and much of it of little or no value. The competition for who can be the loudest online is at fever pitch.
So what an agreeable, shocking yet satisfying surprise it was recently to walk into a book shop in London, to be met by complete silence. Yes, complete and utter silence – broken only by my footsteps on the wooden floor and the occasional beep beep of the shop assistant tapping items into the till.
There was no background music, no roaring heater over the door, no incessant chit chat, no traffic noise coming through from outside – just silence. When the assistant said ‘Good morning’ to me, I all but whispered my reply and made a conscious effort to move around the shop more quietly in reverence.
And it wasn’t that this was a traditional old London book shop with roots going back hundreds of years; this was a modern, striking, brightly painted (white everywhere), friendly, attractive and welcoming store. After the initial shock of the soundless environment contrasting with the daily explosion of noise of a London street, the shop became more and more appealing, and before I knew it I’d spent forty minutes inside.
In fact, I’d only gone in it to buy a birthday card (I could see a rack of them through the window), but ended up purchasing two books. When I went to pay at the till, it was all I could do to stop myself asking the assistant if she wanted the radio on to break the silence, but somehow that felt silly.
Soon I was back out on the street, once again to be wrapped in a familiar but uncomfortable blanket of noise, but my moment of stillness and hush stayed with me for the rest of the day. I can’t wait to go back again.
As I write, it’s 7.18am on Monday morning and a new week is starting. I can see people I know tweeting feverishly about this and that, about footballers biting people, reflections on the Boston and London Marathons, photos of their early morning dog walk, train delays on the way into London, conferences that are just about to start, client meetings that they are looking forward to, news, more news, job advertisements, retweets from celebrities – and more and more and more noise.
My inbox is filling up with links to Blog posts, Google+ posters are gushing wisdom on every topic under the sun, and people on LinkedIn are sharing content as though today was our last day on Earth. And that’s just the potentially useful material; scattered throughout it is a wealth of adverts and spam and junk, which whilst it might be of value to some people, is of no value to me.
And in reality I’m no better. It won’t be long before this Blog post will be winging its way around the Internet, in the hope that someone will find it useful during their day. In addition to my website, it will be tweeted, posted on LinkedIn, added on Google+ and it will also find its way onto my Facebook page and elsewhere no doubt.
I’m sure we’ve all looked at Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn and other sites, and just occasionally wondered how people have the time to post, not just daily but seemingly every minute of every day. Whilst Graham Jones often posts several times a day, his material has a theme, has focus and has value. And he knows when it’s better to be quiet and to say nothing – to be silent.
The fact that we have access to multiple steams of information via the medium of the Internet is something to be treasured and valued. Experts, authors, commentators, business owners and people with value to add have a wonderful and powerful outlet with which to communicate. But just occasionally, the person who shouts the loudest is not always heard. There is value in silence and reflection.
Since my wonderful experience in the book shop, I for one will be making more of an effort to be conscious of whether the material that I post just adds more noise to people’s day or whether it adds value to it.
By Philip Calvert