Work-Life Strategies & Solutions

On the Evolution of Work Systems in the Digital Economy

My Return to Blogging and Resolve to Use Time and Social Media Efficiently

During my hiatus, I reassessed my endeavors. One of the joys of maturing involves reconciling lofty dreams that drive you with life’s realities. Dreams keep life from seeming bleak and boring though awareness of time passing by compels you to estimate your chances of achieving them. For instance, I too wish to discover some way, within my own capabilities, to avoid trading time for money. However, realizing I might be wasting time thinking about this, I settled on hope that perhaps someday I’ll have an epiphany (and then I’d share it with you).

However, there are practical steps I can take to decrease wasted time. I thought about what good, realistically, could come of efforts to present myself as a professional online. Like many issues in life, potential results depend on many variables. Some tips follow.

If you’re an internet entrepreneur, blogging is vital! According to Tung Tran’s 11 Lessons Learned from 2.5 Years of Being an Unsuccessful Internet Entrepreneur, blogging can:

  • Help you target potential clients.
  • Establish you as an industry expert.
  • Create a community that support your business.
  • Give you a valuable person-to-person connection.

With regard to job seekers however, opinions are mixed. In What Employers Want from the Long-Term Unemployed, Brent Rasmussen reports, “Fewer employers felt that the ambitious task of starting your own business (28 percent) or writing a professional blog (11 percent) were good ways to improve your marketability, but if those activities showcase your potential value, they certainly can’t hurt.”

In 5 Things That Will INSTANTLY Make You More Employable, Ariella Coombs states, “Writing about things that matter in your field can help you establish yourself as an expert in your industry. So, when recruiters Google you and they see that you’ve been actively writing about your industry, you’ll score brownie points because you’re taking steps to be a thought leader in your field. (And most employers dig thought leaders.)”

One recommendation that people seem to agree on, though, is don’t spread yourself thin when it comes to the number of blogs and social media sites you promote yourself on. It’s helpful to maintain a consistent presence. See recommendations from J.T. O’DonnellMarcus Huntington, and Cheryl Palmer.

Finally, the following tips come from the Institute for Humane Studies with regard to academic blogging, but several tips are relevant to blogging as a professional more generally:

Blogging

Do:

  • Develop research ideas
  • Post academic announcements
  • Write quick/informal responses to critics
  • Comment on other current research

Don’t:

  • Make it a personal journal
  • Use blogs for partisan political commentary
  • Engage in gratuitous attacks, trolling, personal insults, etc.

Social Media

Do:

  • Use it to communicate with other academics
  • Follow the twitter feeds of top scholars
  • Share updates on your work
  • Engage in debates and discussions
  • Be open to invitations to write & comment
  • Maintain your expansive friends network

Don’t:

  • Let it become a time sink
  • Post old college photos, etc. that could harm your reputation
  • Post about partisan politics
  • Friend your students without thought
  • Invite negative web hits & bad publicity

It’s an election year in the U.S., I know. This means that many are compelled to broadcast their politics. In Blogging essential for a good career, Penelope Trunk recounts software consultant Ben Day’s perspective on this:

[P]ick your topics carefully and have a purpose. “The most interesting blogs are focused and have a certain attitude,” says van Allen. “You need to have a guiding philosophy that you stick to. You cannot one minute pontificate on large issues of the world and the next minute be like, ‘My dog died.’”

Day realized the value of focus after a misguided mashup of his politics and business. “I used to have liberal politics on my website as well, but my mentor said, ‘Dude, you gotta trim that off.’ Which was fine because in the world of liberal politics I was just another piece of noise.” Now his blog is all about software development with an emphasis on technologies such as NHibernate and C#.

To that end, my politics will continue to be ambiguous here. In the past, curious readers have tried to suss out my inclinations and found me dodging the subject. This post shows why I run this blog the way I do and, hopefully, provides helpful tips to those promoting themselves as professionals. Do you have tips to add? Let me know!

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5 responses to “My Return to Blogging and Resolve to Use Time and Social Media Efficiently

  1. Sara Rickover July 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Good advice here.
    Thanks. Sara

    • L. P. July 5, 2016 at 2:41 am

      Thank you Sara for commenting. Upon reflection, I suppose that risks involved with posting on politics differ from individual situation to situation – with more seasoned, established professionals having more leeway to do so than struggling job seekers in a precarious job market. I always appreciate your thoughts, along with that of others’, on this subject matter though!

      Happy 4th!
      ~Lynn

      • Sara Rickover July 5, 2016 at 6:08 pm

        Lynn, there are always risks in posting opinions. On my blog, I’ve chosen to engage on some issues and remain silent on others. But as you say, each individual has to make that call, depending on what they want their blog (and other social media) to do.
        Sara

  2. Mike July 19, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Welcome back, Lynn! This is good advice and ideas I, with your permission, will borrow for my own use. I have been having some of the same thoughts especially reconciling dreams and ambitions with reality. There’s some settling to be done in my case. Thanks for writing this!

    • L. P. July 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Thank you Mike! I’m glad to see you make an appearance on the blogosphere again too. I’ve missed your photography and thoughts on politics (which have really helped keep me informed)! Yes, borrow away, and you’re welcome. 🙂

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