Twelvetide, Day 11: Share and Blog

This is the eleventh part of a twelve-day series on my new year’s resolutions to become a better Mac admin. During these twelve days my book “Packaging for Apple Administrators” is on sale! (Previous Post: “Check the Competition”)

Since you are writing all your documentation anyway, some of that is probably very interesting for the wider MacAdmin audience. The best way is to just get a free blog on WordPress or Tumblr or some other free blog service and start writing.

“But, but, but… I want my own domain,” you say! “And my own design!”

If you already have a domain, or know exactly what you want for a domain, then go ahead, get it, install WordPress and start blogging. Otherwise you are overthinking and procrastinating. If a common wordpress blog is good enough for Rich Trouton and Greg Neagle, it is certainly good enough for every one.

Writing post for everybody is a great way to focus your thoughts on a problem and find flaws in your own reasoning. I often stumble over some preconception I have, research it, and then learn a lot while writing up a blog post (or book chapter). A blog post will obviously make your solution available to other admins through a search engine. Also sharing your problem and the solution to it will make it easier for you and other admins to share the solution in emails and forum posts by linking to your excellent post.

A good blog post should have a description of the problem and how and when you encountered it. What you tried to solve the problem (including the more interesting failed attempts) and then your solution. If the code or scripts required to solve the problem are longer you can post them on gist or turn them into a public GitHub repository. You need to remember to remove data from the scripts such as hostnames, user names and passwords before posting, though.

You should also mention the versions of macOS and any other software involved, so that future readers can quickly figure out if this applies to their problem. (Pet peeve of mine: make sure the post date is visible on your blog. I hate it when I read an article and can’t quickly tell how old it is and if it is still relevant.)

You should aim to post regularly to train the habit and your writing skills. However, since most of us have day jobs, ‘once or twice a month’ is a perfectly fine frequency. You can also use your blog to re-post and promote other administrators’ posts.

Most admin bloggers I know put links to their posts on Twitter. For me Twitter has replaced an RSS reader as the main means of getting notified on blog news. It is usually easy to connect your blogging engine to a twitter account (if not, choose another blogging engine). The MacAdmins Slack has a #blog-feeds channel which can notify for new posts.

A blog is also a vanity project. You can and should use it as an asset when you are applying for a new job or position. Of course, you should check with your current employer, on what and how you can blog about your work.

Some blogs worth following: (in no particular order)

This list is obviously far from complete. Feel free to add your blog and your favorite blog to read in the comments.

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Mac Admin, Consultant, and Author