So you’re blogging away. You get feedback and suggestions. You comment on other posts and others comment on yours. You even meet people that contribute to your blog and vice versa.
Somewhere in all of this you find your running a small or community or are part of one. And your mind hearkens back to every single person who ever told you you should network more. Instead of that rising desire to scream at them “yes, I know everyone tells me that!” you realize you are doing that.
Blogging invites people in, invites them to communicate, creates dialogue. By blogging you can do a lot of networking without thinking about it (and over-thinking about it). Sure blogging lets you shout to the world, but it lets people talk back, dialogues begin, and some blogs even become comfortable places to discuss things.
You’re networking. And that can help your career and ambitions.
Blogging is a coffee shop.
Blogging by it’s nature has to be social because if no one is reading your stuff, it’s just cathartic. It invites comment by its very nature of being public communication.
Many is the time I’ve found my blogging turned into networking since I started it, and learned to run with it. I meet amazing people via blogs, and have worked to build a small and growing community in my own projects. Each person I meet means I meet more people through them. Every post becomes a chance for commentary.
When it comes to our professional ambitions and goals, this “coffee shop” nature of blogging helps us in many ways:
- It builds a community we can call on. That’s valuable on its own.
- Bloggers are their own breed, so you’re also part of a more widespread community just by being a blogger and connecting with people. That extend your network further.
- You get dialogue, and posts become conversations – conversations you can learn and grow from. Why not post not on something you know but something you don’t know to get feedback.
- You learn to use social tools, comments, Disqus, etc. You learn the technology but also learn about community building. This can be used in your career both to meet people and to learn tools you can use on the job or for your own business.
- If you’re antisocial, it can help you change that – at least somewhat.
- It gives you resources to call on for career advice, help, promotion, etc.
I think this aspect of blogging is often missed, there’s still an air of “shouting into the void” in blogging because so much blogging emphasizes posting, technology, etc. “Hits” and SEO is discussed in an inhuman manner, and community is often turned into a statistic. But in the end, it’s all about connecting with people.
So if you blog, remember it can be a coffee shop – and all the benefits that entails.
Takeaways and To dos:
- When you blog expect it to be social. That’s the nature of the beast – so embrace it.
- Cultivate community. Respond to comments on your blog (hell, respond to posts by other people). Post on other related blogs and start a conversation.
- Say thanks to people who post. I’ve written new commentors on my blogs and made some interesting contacts (in fact a few may show up here . . .)
- Learn and use community and social tools (something I could do a bit better on, frankly) to connect with people.
- Promote posts for blogs you like and other people’s posts on your blog on your social media. Help draw people together.
- Think community. Your blog will become one in some way or another no matter what, so be ready for it and cultivate it.
- Work with others and other blogs. Connect people together and build that meta-community deliberately.
Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.fantopro.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/.