Several years ago, my son suggested I start a blog on the website he designed for me (www.professorzilberman.com). I was suspicious of blogging and tweeting, and it took me a long time to accept and enjoy Facebook (now I don’t need to buy People magazine and I know what is going on with my family and friends). I decided to start my own personal blog, and later on I joined the Berkeley blog community. I’ve come to realize what an incredibly powerful tool blogging can be. As a professor, I am producing ideas constantly, and I update myself by reading and interacting with people. My challenge is to be current and to contribute to knowledge. Of course, I enjoy writing journal articles, especially when they are accepted, and if I am lucky and have a piece printed in the newspaper or popular media it is great, but it is constricting in terms of style, content, and most importantly, there is a delay between what is said and when people see it. Blogs, on the other hand, allow the freedom of expression. Of course, you are unsure about how many (or if any) followers you may have, but even the act of expressing oneself is satisfying, and after a while the comments reflect that some people are actually reading the blog and some of them strongly disagree.
Writing for the Berkeley blog is a great experience as it allows me to express ideas about sustainability, sell the Masters of Development Practice, argue in favor of GMOs, and write about people that I appreciate, and it has been rewarding. I found a way to reach people and exchange ideas. But viewing the Berkeley blog once in a while, I learn about some of the most exciting ideas my colleagues have, what they are thinking about, and the directions of their research. Actually some ideas that started with a blog entry end up in presentations and papers, and even in business relationships. Blogging doesn’t mean you have to write long essays. You can present graphics, music, pictures, etc. My wife has a great blog on knitting and other crafts (http://leorahle.wordpress.com/) which I love.
The ELP has an alumni network of friends and people that share common interests. The blog provides a place where one can let his or her ideas fly. The challenge is to make it appealing in order to attract responses, and I believe that over time, once in a while we will have the pieces to start a dialogue that may lead to collaborations and partnerships. Now we have several vehicles of communication among ELP members: a Facebook page, a blog, and the “old” email connection. Lets use them, and that will allow us to grow together.