This post was originally posted on my blog, so please check that out and give me a follow!
There have been a lot of activities and hobbies in life that I have just been naturally drawn to and enjoy. Programming, playing guitar, and robotics are just a few of these activities that require a lot of mental strength and devotion to become good at. They have taken time and dedication for me to hone my skills enough where I can count on them when I need to use them. Although these are tough skills, none compare to the difficulty and lessons I am currently learning from blogging.
I am not a natural writer. I do not always find inspiration when I need. Chances are I've erased three quarters of this blog post and rewrote it thinking that it wasn't good enough.
So then why do I blog if I'm not naturally good at it and it takes a lot of effort? Because it makes me a better professional, a better human, and a better communicator.
There are two major advantages to blogging and staying (relatively) professional about it. First, you have the ability for others to reach out to you and network in ways bigger than you could imagine. Last year, I wrote a post1 about my experiences of acheiving my dreams when I was living in New York City, working with Bloomberg, LP. The post received over 1,000 views (the second closest post had 200) and I received Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter messages, texts, and phone calls from people reaching out saying how they enjoyed the post and potential employers asking if I could grab coffee at some point. If I had not written that post, those people never would have contacted me, and I never would have had those opportunities to network with different people. When you start to blog, you open those opportunities and more up to yourself.
Secondly, blogging gives you the ability to write professional documents like a champ. Note that "like a champ" will never go into any of my professional documents, but even by writing this post, I become more confident and sure about my writing content and style. Being a developer, I write design documentation, project outlines, and summary presentations. Writing blogs has given more more tools and insight into what people like, how to phrase things, and what writing/speaking flow keeps individuals engaged more in what I'm trying to get across. Sure, Public Speeching classes will teach you the same skills, but at least I don't have to stand in font of a room of people just yet; I get to make mistakes on a relatively low stage.
Unless you are planning on becoming a nomad who lives in the middle of some uninhabited mountain region, you will have to talk to people for the rest of your life. To be fair, most of these conversations will be surface level and meaningless, but sometimes you will actually have to have deeper and more thoughtful conversations with individuals, such as your loved ones, friends, coworkers, potential investors, or even total strangers. We need to have the social skills to maturely and correctly have these mind-scratching conversations.
It's 2017, almost 2018 (yikes!). In the US, we spend an average of more than 12 hours a day on our smartphones2. That's more than half the day! How much time do we lose communicating with those around us when we spend so much time on our phones, and what social skills do we lose with all that time looking down? Sure, we Tweet and Post at each other, but what do we actually gain? Very little in deeper meaning or understanding of each other...Blogging let's us express our thoughts, emotions, and knowledge in different and unique ways. Through online writing, we develop better writing skills, and in turn develop better speaking skills as we gain better understanding on how to connect thoughts and ideas together into a coherent story.
Blogging, although still electronic, takes that interaction to a higher level of communication, through storytelling and insight. A good blogger takes what they learn in their life, and turns it into a story that they share with a larger audience. This story gives an insight into their life and provides more context for it's readers on the world around them.
For example, a young adult struggling with Imposter Syndrome3 might feel alone, scared, and small in the world of technology, but they will quickly realize that they are not alone by reading a really good blog post about overcoming Imposter Syndrome that changes their whole perception on life. Once we realize that everything we feel and learn is a shared experience, then blogging becomes easier, and being alive is easier. Knowing and sharing what I have gone through and learned, in hopes of helping someone who is a few steps in life behind me, is an ultimate aspiration of mine. Being a positive change in the world is not difficult, you just need to know where to start. Getting your story out through blogging (or vlogging as the young kids call it nowadays) is an incredible way to give back to those younger and behind in the game of life than you.