Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Blogging in a time of AI

I am renewing my frequency in blog posting. This will come after an almost 5 year break from blogging. I am returning because I am back to working on open-source software, educational projects, and the digitization of oceans. And I know I have a learning and success journey to share. 

Some Background

I started blogging twenty years back. Yes, 20 years. I was an early adopter and I was involved with technology startups and how the internet was influencing education. At this time I was a big believer that blogging was about content creation. Adding to the collective of the internet by adding meaningful and descriptive content rather than only being a consumer of content. To date, I have published over 500 posts to my assorted blogs. Most of this work was in the first 10 years of my blogging. I essentially posted once a month for the first 10 years. I did have a year where I posted over 100 times. As a summary this is how I posted over the last 20 years.

2004 to 2014 - I published 420 blog posts with good readership. I had a year where I posted more than 100 times. I set this as a goal / experiment to see if I could post twice a week. I did this while holding full-time work, which meant many early mornings and late evenings writing. I learned a whole bunch and my writing skills improved. 

The themes for these first ten years was mostly; 

  • technology leadership for startups, 
  • hard-core technology and approaches, 
  • innovative and emerging education, 
  • and the intersection of these three.

2015 to 2024 - I published only 41 blog posts during this 10 years, and nothing in the past three years. Honestly, I was distracted by raising my family of three and doing a whole bunch of life living. Not so focused on work and career advancement. 

The themes for the last ten years have mostly been; 

  • integrating with technology community in St. John's NL (I moved), 
  • continue my work on digital badges and micro-credentials,
  • development of an ocean data startup (still a work in progress),
  • and working the idea of a reference architecture for the digitization of oceans.

Most exciting of all this is more than 1/2 million views during the 20 years and at some points having over 2500 weekly views. What have I learned from all this blogging? Mostly, that having to write and publish openly to the internet helps the overall community knowledge and it helps me learn more deeply in these chosen subjects.

Next Steps

Again, I will use blogging as my cognitive gymnasium. My subjects themes haven't changed and I will focus upon two main subject areas and continue with updates to this critical technology blog;

  1. Education technology, Heutagogy, and the self-directed learner.
  2. Many things related to, and in support of, the authoring a reference architecture for the digitization of oceans.
  3. And my continued musings about technology through my gen X view of the world.

With all my work and R&D efforts I will learn a bunch of stuff and apply this to the real world through the successful projects I am a part of. I will reflect upon these successes and all that I have learned I will create content that can provide further learning for those around me. And hopefully they will also be entertaining reads.

Collaborating with your AI partner

Blogging has changed for me. There has been a lot of technical and social change since I did most of my blog posting over a decade ago. I had a few focused subjects I was very passionate about, and I wrote about them often. I wrote unincumbered for I would consider myself an early adopter and there was less people publishing to the internet in my chosen subjects. Today there is much more content covering these subjects. And all this content comes in photos, videos, audio, and written articles. Artificial Intelligence is doing a great job of creating and summarizing the content which addresses the complex audience needs and their questions and prompts. Content creation has changed. For a human content creator I believe our work needs to be more intelligent, critical, and creative. Content creators in a time of AI need to do what the AI cannot; daydream, reflect on unrelated subjects, see unlikely connections, be critical, add meaning, create new content that falls between the generated content, fact check and confirm, and add more human intelligence.

How will my blog writing process change? Um, it already has...

I must reflect and draw upon my mastery and do my best to add the new content that AI cannot... AI needs our creativity because it has already parsed the published body of human knowledge. For more insight on my approach, use your favorite large language model chatbot (ChatGPT, Gemini) with the prompt 'limitations of generative AI' followed by the prompt 'How would you suggest a human writer overcome these AI limitations'.

Step by Step my blogging will partner with AI and follow this basic approach;

  1. Capture ideas for new posts, be verbose, be imaginative, think about context
  2. Put these ideas to incomplete blog posts, work ideas for days, for weeks...
  3. Read extensively, add to the understanding of any specific idea
  4. Keep references, cut and paste to the bottom of the related incomplete posts
  5. Prompt AI with phrases from the idea generation
  6. Take blocks of text from written ideas and push them into generative AI, be critical, harvest what you can.
  7. Take the written blog post and ask AI for a rewrite. Change your audience. be critical, harvest what you can.
  8. Try and see, try and write, what AI cannot... add to the body of human knowledge.
  9. Add story telling to improve the overall post
  10. Find pictures to support the writing, format for engagement. Use AI to generate images from passages of text taken from the blog post.
  11. Format, edit, improve, repeat. Be bold... Publish.
  12. Use AI to improve the quality of the writing... Publish again.
  13. Rest, reflect, improve... Publish again.
  14. Yes, I am an advocate to publish before writing is perfect. Publish and then make improvements over the days and weeks that follow. Once the post is considered finished finished... promote it on social media.
  15. Identify what is most important about the post and rewrite for the LinkedIn business audience. Publish to LinkedIn.
  16. Repeat...