A personal take on various topics

Why You May Want to Have Your Blog

This is a reproduction of a post I made in a closed user group of largely young IT professionals in March, 2008. I believe it is of likely interest for many other young professionals who may want to blog in a professional capacity About blogging Blogging started off as an offshoot of the “individual home page” which was more of an homepage which was structured like an online diary (Blog is actually a short form of the word “web log”). However today it has grown very very substantially into a very powerful communication medium which has substantially increased the “expressivity” of individual opinion and a projection of an individual personality. The most read blogs are often those that relate to individuals offering their most private (and sometimes lurid) thoughts for public consumption on the net. Another popular category is the journalistic blogs which trade in news and opinions. This is a great platform for citizen journalism and has now become so powerful that most journalistic houses encourage their professional journalists also to have their own blogs. However what I am going to talk about is a kind of a blog with a very different focus than either of these. I intend to blog about a blog type which is more in line with the target audience of this blog - blogs that deal with professional identity projection. Why Professional Identity Projection ? The net is helping the world to shrink to a smaller and smaller world each day. This is a world which is now exploding in the opportunities that it offers in terms of networking resulting in each of us having a larger average professional network size than at anytime in the past. The larger network sizes and the increasing ease of communication means that we have a smaller time and attention span for each individual that we casually interact with. Thus there is a requirement to project a stronger image of oneself (think of it as you being your own brand). This helps you to be able to not only reach a wider audience of people and build stronger networks but also to be able to within such larger audiences conduct more selective targeting. By this I mean the ability to cut through a mass of people who are either not meeting the target segment that you are really interacting with, into those that will make a lot of sense interacting with How will a Professional Blog help me ? Potentially in a number of ways
  • It creates an identity for you that others can interact with without occupying your time. People can come and read your blogs - understand you and your opinions more without any downtime for you.
  • It creates a stronger and focused projection of who you are and what you are focused on. This tremendously helps others understand you much quicker. In very simple terms - as compared to not blogging, it might make you less attractive to half to two thirds of the general audience who my be not so enthusiastic about your views - but it very substantially increases your value in the eyes of the remaining one third to half - and these are probably the people you might find maximum value interacting with.
  • This is really important - your blog can be an online extension of your resume. If a one pager with a reference to your blog URL can excite someone - you’ve suddenly bought yourself an increased attention span and interest from someone you want to reach out to.
  • Market yourself as a serious focused and thinking person.
When you should not have a professional blog
  • You do not have some views or some aspects about yourself that you would like to project to others
  • You are not keen on offering either interesting commentary or narrative about something that is very original - ie. something you’ve come up with.
What kinds of blogs can I have Theres no clear answer here - its really upto you. However some of the possibilities are :
  • Technical : say a blog purely focused on Java
  • Software Design
  • Business : focused on Business Domain happenings in general and trends you foresee
  • Project Management
I would like to try it out - where do I go from here
  • If you want to offer an interesting thought related to technology, business, management etc. the [..deleted..] blog might be a great place to get started and getting your feet wet
  • There are many other free blog hosting sites. jroller.com is a great one if you want to primarily blog about java. blogspot.com (from google) and wordpress.com are other good free blog hosting sites.
  • Just run google searches like “introduction to blogging” or “blogging tutorial” and understand the space a little bit more.
  • This is a nice introductory document.
  • If you do create a blog do keep me posted about it :)
Important : Read ME Many companies publish documented guidelines about what you can blog about and what you cannot. Find out if your employer has guidelines about employee blogging activity and respect the same. In general blogging about company proprietary information, plans, designs etc., about internal company news are a strict no-no and can sometimes get you into legal trouble. Bitching about your current or ex-employers or any other similar activities in poor taste are only likely to reflect very poorly on you besides the obvious damage it does to others - make sure your blogs are in a positive spirit. In some cases your employer might maintain a corporate blog - see if makes sense to participate in the same. Also many such guidelines clearly require you to clearly state on your blogs that the opinions are yours and yours alone and not meant to reflect that of your employer.