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What Blogging Means To Me (And You)

Note: This is part one of a three part series on my predictions for 2009 (see part two and part three). I will be covering predictions for blogging, HR and those made by others as the new year approaches.

I was one of the celebrity judges for Brazen Careerists blog contest that asked How has blogging impacted your life? It was extremely difficult to judge as quite a few people had compelling cases as to how blogging had impacted their lives. After my first read through of all the entries, I ended up with ten finalists (and I wanted to pick two!). I eventually wittled it down to my two thanks to an afternoon of snow and ice here in Portland.

It reminded me of why I started blogging and why I continue to blog (two very separate things by the way) but it also made me think of how blogging has impacted my life since then.

How Has Blogging Impacted My Life?

There are three distinct ways that blogging has impacted me:

  1. It has made me more thoughtful - Many people think blogging means you have to go out on a limb and say something sexy every post. My experience has been the complete opposite. People appreciate advice that is interesting, unique and thoughtful. Some people who give career advice seem almost glib at times and others give perpetually boring advice. If someone says you should wear a top hat to your next interview to stand out, thats just entertaining but not useful. If someone says you should work on your handshake, thats not entertaining but it is useful. Ive tried to say things that are both entertaining and useful. So when you wear that top hat, make sure you give a really great handshake.
  2. It allows me to learn - There are some really smart people in the blogosphere that I have been fortunate enough to interact with in-person or through telephone, e-mails and comments. This is why I couldnt possibly do all of my 2009 predictions without including feedback from the great people online as well. Since I started getting involved with blogs (a lurker for four years and contributor for more than two and a half), Ive learned about subjects I never would have even known about. It is truly amazing.
  3. It has expanded my brand - When I was blog-lurker Lance, I got the minimum amount of benefit from blogs. I got the information without the interaction and credit. Now that I maintain my blog (under my name) and interact with the community (and use my blog for this), I get the full benefit of being involved in the community. I have always encouraged people with great comments to start a blog.

What Does This Have To Do With 2009?

Fine, fine, Ill get on with it! My prediction is that YOU (a.k.a. lurker who reads a few blogs a day but never comments) will slowly but surely start coming out of the woodwork and getting involved. First youll comment on a few blogs. Maybe youll start a twitter account and interact directly with other bloggers. Slowly (but surely), you too will start recognizing the real value of getting involved.

Something will have to spark it and I think 2009 is rife with opportunities to spark your conversion from lurker to blogger. And it wont (necessarily) be much:

  • Your friend will start a blog - Peer influence is a huge reason why people start blogs. If you already have built in network when you start, that rough patch as you get started is a lot easier!
  • The economy will compel you - Lets face it, the economy will not turn around overnight. That means if you are ready for the next step, you need to differentiate yourself from the thousands of other stiffs trying to steal your next job. A blog can do that.
  • Life will happen - Something will happen with your life or your career that pushes you into writing a blog. Unfortunately, I think 2009 will be full of these sorts of instances so a major life change may push you into writing and connecting with people who are in similar circumstances.
  • Someone will post something stupid - It could be me but at some point, you will read something you think is off the charts stupid. You will start to comment and it will turn out to be blog post length. Then youll figure it out: the only person benefiting from your super long comment is the person who initially infuriated you!

Or any number of other triggers. At some point you will want to be part of the conversation. And if thats not enough, here are some of my favorite posts from my judging that you should check out: A Reflection: How Blogging Affected My Life by Meg Roberts, Bloggings Impact on My Career and My Life by Thursday Bram, Changing the Direction of My Arrows by Carla Blumenthal, Just Keep Blogging by Milena Thomas, How I Found Our Voices by Holly Hoffman, Forget Careers. Blogging Changes Lives. by Nisha Chittal, and This Changes Everything by Tiffany Monhollon.

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