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Gavin Heaton

Blog profile: Servant of Chaos

Posted By: Lou Pardi

Blog profile: Servant of Chaos
Servant of Chaos

Gavin Heaton started Servant of Chaos in 2005. The blog now attracts around 125,000 unique visitors each month. Posts predominantly offer Heaton's view on marketing and communications. If you keep an eye out though, you'll find the odd well-penned poem. Heaton spoke with SMK about his creation.

What motivated you to start your blog?

I started my blog for two reasons - to re-establish some creative/writing discipline and also as a scrapbook of ideas.

How did the name come about?

The name predates the blog. It was a very early Yahoo Messenger handle that I used in my first corporate marketing role. We were undergoing considerable internal change and I felt like I could not control the chaos - I just served it.

What lessons have you learned from publishing your blog?

It has been a huge educational experiment. Perhaps the most important thing I have learned is that people are interested in digging below the surface - no matter how much the author wishes to remain hidden. Understanding the reality of this can be quite confronting.

Is your employer aware of your blog; what is their feeling?

Yes. As Director of Social Media for SAP's Premier Customer Network, my role is to bring best practices in social media into our business relationships with customers.

Does your blog help you do your job better?

It has done for years. The blog allowed me to understand some of the mechanics of building audiences and communities, testing things that worked (or didn't) and figuring out what it means to be ‘open’ and ‘transparent’ as well as ‘authentic’ in this socially-connected world.

Looking back on past posts on Servant of Chaos, do you find your opinions have differed, or does older content still reflect your current views? Are you tempted to address any discrepancies?

Each year I republish my very first post. It was a poem called The Servant of Chaos. Everything that I have ever written (now over 1,800 articles) can all be traced back to that. 

Do you think more people would benefit from keeping a blog or notes on their profession? How does reflection on your industry help you?

We all have different ways of maintaining our professional knowledge. A blog, however, focuses your attention away from your own thoughts toward what a particular idea might mean for others. That extra layer of reflection can be powerful. And obviously, you get to keep the best reflections for your own use.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing an industry blog should aim to/not to do?

Your blog needs to have a position. It's no point writing about the same topic as everyone else - UNLESS you have a point of view. The last thing anyone needs is yet another blog sharing links or republishing articles from Mashable. If you are going to the effort of writing a blog, make sure you share your point of view. That's what we are all hungry for.

Can you recall an incident where something on your (or another industry blog) changed people’s perceptions or had a significant impact on how people think about a certain topic/area?

A few years ago I attended an event in New York - Blogger Social. It was the first time that I met face to face with many of the people that I was engaging with online. It wasn't until we all came together that we were able to see the real impact of social media/blogging.

At that point I realised that all this social media activity is pointless without a live event or meet up. It is what we crave and what we are conditioned for. And this impact continues to this day. Just come to a Sydney Coffee Morning or similar event and you will see people smiling and laughing and connecting with people that they already know. That's the real impact. And it's the real opportunity for business.

Stats and Facts

Established:  2005
Views: About 125,000 readers per month
Reader demographic: Marketers and people interested in social media
Contact: Gavin Heaton

Posted By: Lou Pardi

Tags: blogger


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