AdmitMBA360 Blog formerly Journey to my MBA

Journey to my MBA

Monday, August 02, 2004

To RSS feed or not to RSS feed, that is the question

In my life, whenever advising or mentoring anyone, at some point I always finding myself reminding the other person that when we say “yes” to something, we are consequently saying “no” to something else. Put another way, saying “yes” to doing something means that we are saying “no” to something else that we may or may not have wanted to be doing. For example, when we say “yes” to taking on an extensive project at work that will require after hours and even weekend work to complete the task, we are saying “no” to personal time to ourselves. In a more relevant example regarding Blogging, saying “yes” to enabling RSS feed meant no to my personal rights regarding who gets to publish what I write wherever and however they seem fit. No permission is required by me because when I enabled RSS, I was giving public domain permission. Consequently, I was inadvertanly saying “no” to my personal rights to whether I had a say as to who gets to see/read what I write.

I enabled RSS feed because I knew it would potentially be easier to stay up to date with those things that might be of interest or to those who cared about what I wrote. I never thought this could potentially cause the kind of emotional ups and downs that I’ve gone through. Over the last 3 days when I found that DeltaCourse and Wharton had included my Blog on their websites I was paralyzed with disbelief. It’s taken me a couple of days to even begin to process what I’m thinking and feeling. And today, when I found out Wharton, I knew I had to make some sense of all this because it was happening to fast. So in true Blogger fashion, I’m writing about it to help me process the experience. To see each and everything thing I write is really weird, frightening, exciting and confusing.

I started this Blog with the intention of writing my very “personal” thoughts about what I was going through in my MBA application process. I thought that perhaps some people might read what I wrote but that people would just come and go if they happened upon my Blog because they would not find it interesting. Over time, some became interested and were relating to what I was writing as they would tell me so via private e-mails or comments on the Blog. I didn’t mind the attention and I also didn’t mind enabling the RSS feed. It was such an innocent thing because my motive behind the conception of my Blog was also an innocent one.

But now, I’m faced with dealing with what an RSS feed to a broad community (larger than I had ever thought was possible) means to me. An RSS feed is like publishing a newspaper. You’ll have to excuse on this point as I used to be the Newspaper Editor of one of my Undergraduate Newspapers and so I know of no other better analogy to describe the issue at hand.

Bloggers are like writers of articles of a Newspaper and the number of people who read the paper is directly proportional to the distribution. We might get some comments or feedback initially, but when the paper becomes syndicated or bought up by a larger distributor, then each writer has to deal with the fact that criticism, quality of writing will be judged quite regularly. Now, we have to remember that the truth being written by the writers is what caused the growth of the distribution to begin with. So in that sense, there is clear value in what has been written.

I came to the conclusion long ago, that the general public who read my Blog is a perfectly acceptable thing for me. But my Blog is not just a diary. It’s got a purpose. It’s a themed log and so are all the other MBA Blogs. Therefore, together we make up an MBA applicant newspaper.

Now, if you wanted to get a raise or a promotion at work and you started a blog on what it would take to make that happen, what would you do if your Boss fell upon your Blog created a web site, shared you Blog entries to everyone else in the company and never told you he/she had done this. Then you find out from a co-worker what had been done. Got the picture? Can you feel the mixture of emotions behind that? That’s what is was like when I found my Blog entries on Wharton’s web site. Now your boss may appreciate your efforts and respect your after hours commitment to make it happen, but what if you were writing about your weaknesses and your struggles as well. How comfortable would you be with your Boss reading your Blog then?

My Blog has really changed since it started though. The amount of MBA applicant and GMAT resources are quite a lot. These days, I have GMAT vendors and other MBA or GMAT related web site owners contacting me about forming partnerships or supporting one another. The resources I have are intended to be 100% free of any “for profit” bias whatsoever and it will remain so. I love the fact that the resources are helpful to others. I like even more that other MBA hopefuls are suggesting links to be added to the index. My journal portion of the Blog is mine. But the sidebar of resources and the newly created “Future MBA Resources” index is public property as long as I’m concerned as long as a non-biased, quality of resource standard is maintained.

In summary, when faced with this situation, I realize I have a decision among 3 choices.
1) Shut down RSS feed and keep the site from being widely distributed.
2) Keep RSS on, and have courage to keep to ones convictions. But if it’s too private… then either choice 1 or having a completely non-public Blog is the only route to go.
3) Keep RSS on shut off the emotion and sharing of struggles, but this may eventually kill the purpose of the Blog in ones journey to get their MBA.

Any choice is fine and each route is good for different kinds of personalities. For me, I plan on sticking to my convictions, but being a little more careful that names and identities of people in my life are not revealed. Moreover, this is why I removed my picture from my blog recently.


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