Archive for October, 2008

Blog Action Day: Today, Think of Your Poor (Grand-) Grandfather

Today is Blog Action Day and thousands of bloggers write about poverty. I would like to ask you to stop for a moment and think of your poor (grand-) grandfather. If none of your grandparents suffered from poverty, think of another poor relative (and for sure you will find one if you track down the history of your family).

My grandfather suffered extreme poverty during the time of World War II. He was five years old when the war started in Poland in 1939. Together with his parents, four brothers, and a sister, they lived on a small farm in Dulcza Wielka. The house was burnt to ashes by the German troops as they marched through the village, and the family had to separate in order to survive. My grandfather, his sister, and their mother went on to another village, where they begged for shelter and food. They were extremely hungry, and my grandfather was close to death from malnutrition. He was saved by a Russian soldier who saw the dying child and took him to a mobile army hospital, where he was treated.

After the war ended, the family of my grandfather reunited and came back to the farm. They had to rebuild the house, and replant the land, which was another period of poverty and hunger. Slowly, the land started to yield crop and the family managed themselves out of poverty. Continue reading ‘Blog Action Day: Today, Think of Your Poor (Grand-) Grandfather’

Open Source Science

Thanks to Matt Rhodes I became aware of the recent hype around social media’s impact on science. The numerous discussions cover topics like scientific blogging, copyright issues, and open source science, often referred to altogether as Science 2.0.

As this subject is very close to my heart – I’m pursuing research via this blog, even though I don’t have a formal affiliation with any of the scientific institutions – I’d like to delve deeper into what I consider as open source science. Continue reading ‘Open Source Science’

Authentic Leadership

Aspiring leaders very often search for instructions or advice on how to master leadership. The article Discovering Your Authentic Leadership in Harvard Business Review claims that the place to discover leadership lies in our own biography. The authors have conducted a massive study to identify ways of developing leadership skills, and they have come up with the concept of authentic leadership.

Authentic leaders behave naturally, in ways that fit their personality. They nurture long-lasting relationships; they have mastered self-discipline and self-awareness. Striving to achieve desired goals, they stick to their values and principles.

According to the study, becoming an authentic leader requires that we first interpret our life story. It is important to consider the people and experiences that shaped our character in the early life stages. By practicing self-awareness, we should understand the real values and principles that guide our decisions, and the factors – both internal and external – that motivate us. An authentic leader can count on a diverse support group, which may consist of a partner, family, and friends. Authentic leaders prove their integrity when facing difficult choices, even if the correct decision may negatively affect their career.

I would risk the statement that in online communities, it is even more important for a leader to be authentic. Such authenticity is a source of referent power, the biggest influencing force that allows a leader to drive the community effort in desired direction. In each place where you show up online, whether it’s in a blog, a social network, or an online forum, you can build trust via integrity or lose trust via acting against community values. And as always, it’s much easier to lose trust than it is to build it.

What do you do to stay authentic on the web? I’d love to see your point of view in the comments!

Source: William W. George, Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, David Mayer, and Diana Mayer: Discovering Your Authentic Leadership; Harvard Business Review; February 2007.

Blogging and the Popularity Trap

Do your blog posts – their content, style and format – reflect the purpose of your blog? I’ve recently finished writing my About page, and while I changed the perspective to look at my blog from distance, I observed it was not the case for me.

I had started this blog as a journal to document my personal research, hold me accountable and share my research findings. I wanted to be professional about it, so I looked for professional blogging advice, such as from Problogger or Chris Brogan. I started the habit of checking my stats, and following diverse advice on increasing traffic.

Recently, traffic has become so important to me, that my focus shifted from following my purpose to writing posts that could become popular and increase the readership of my blog. You could say that our objectives may change, but when I deeply thought about it, it still does not matter to me as much as my core objective of pursuing and documenting research.

My plan to get out of this popularity trap is to define principles that should be the foundation for this blog. My blog posts should be clear, concise, and serve the purpose of documenting, sharing and facilitating discussion on my research.

Are you falling in the popularity trap as well? What are your ways to get out of it?