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You’re blogging?

September 15, 2010

Yes. But it took an assignment from a professor to make me do it.

I’ve resisted the urge to blog for years, mostly for this simple reason: who wants to hear what I have to say. When I was a journalist, I had the weight and integrity of the organization behind me, so my byline had merit. The reader knew there were a host of editors standing over me making sure what I wrote was accurate and pertinent (or hand me my ass if it wasn’t).

But a blog, what merit is behind that? It would be one thing if I was considered an expert in my field or a visionary exploring the cutting edge of something interesting. But that’s the problem when you’re classified as a “jack of all trades,” you’re an expert in none – people always leave off the end of that axiom. You’re the guy who’s generally the last person fired because he can do so many things, but you’re also rarely the guys promoted because you haven’t been a trailblazer or a rainmaker or a kiss-ass.

So here I am, blogging. I’m in the last throes of my Master’s program at Rowan University. By May 2011 I should have a degree in Public Relations. All I need to do is pass three courses, write a thesis and pass a comprehensive exam. That shouldn’t be hard, right? The class I’m taking this semester – as well as beginning to write my thesis – is Online Public Relations. Our professor asked me and my fellow students to begin blogging.  He feels a blog, when used properly, can be an excellent way to promote your professionalism, personal industry and wealth of knowledge – something potential employers might find interesting.

My professor gave us carte blanche to write on any subject we’re passionate about; his only caveat was that it should be done in a professional manner.  However, because I have a number of interests, picking a topic is proving to be difficult. While I don’t believe it’s the best decision, I think my blog topics will be a tad random in the beginning.

At some point you may have asked yourself, “Um, Mike, what’s the deal with the blog name and URL address?” I’m glad you asked, since depending on the success of this blog I may have to answer that question a few times. I have been, from time to time, accused of tilting at windmills. Wikipedia offers the easiest summation of the phrase – Tilting at windmills is an English idiom which means attacking imaginary enemies, or fighting unwinnable or futile battles. The word “tilt”, in this context, comes from jousting. The phrase is derived from the Miguel de Cervantes novel, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, a book which also lent itself to the URL address. Naturally, “Tilting at Windmills” was taken so I came up with a URL that had not yet been squatted choosing the somewhat redundant “quixotic utopia.”

As for the banner art, while I deplore clipart in most instances, I have to thank the website Arthur’s Clipart, for the perfect image for the top of this blog.

I hope you’ll find the future tilts thought-provoking or if not, at least funny. Feel free to comment at any time, even if those comments include the words blowhard, know-it-all, fool, wannabe, and dumbass.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 15, 2010 7:00 PM

    Mike – Good start. I liked the clip art, too. I don’t think it’s a problem to showcase your wide ranging interests on your blog. The main thing you’re demonstrating is writing skill. You may also provide some insight into your reasoning ability.

    Being a generalist can work to your advantage if your writing can demonstrate your strengths in various fields. The new media—especially blogs—may be leading to a return of the generalist.

    As we discussed in class on Monday, Ben Franklin as printer and publisher was the equivalent of an early blogger for his era. Many of our most important advances in science and statecraft were pioneered by generalists like Franklin. He was a leader and innovator in so many fields: statesman, ambassador, inventor, scientist, insurance organizer, founder of Pennsylvania’s first public library and first fire department; the list goes on. He even left money in his will for the Philadelphia Waterworks, which became a major tourist attraction for Europeans visiting America in the 1800s.

    It’s not just tilting at windmills to build new things with new tools. Franklin certainly challenged the established order on many fronts, but it wasn’t futile. It was a gift to his contemporaries and to the future.

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