Here We Are!
You and I are standing at the point of embarkation for my first ever blog post, the genesis of my fruitful blogging career, and hopefully the long lasting relationship between you– the intrepid audience- and me– the scatterbrained savant blindly stumbling into the world of the contrived organization of fanciful thoughts and grandiose schemes. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been inundated with compelling evidence- straight from the mouths of successful entrepreneurs- that blogging is the way of the future.
Time and again, in lecture after lecture, those professionals whom I look upon with the greatest of admiration tout the enormous gravity of the blogging phenomenon, and its inherent dominance- not only as social media, but increasingly as a contender in the realm of professional communication. Never before has there been such an accessible outlet for public and private sentiment– never before has there been such a far reaching and open forum (or arena) for the expression of the human condition in all existential contexts.
In this post, I want to identify and clarify some key points I’ve picked up in my brief affair with the experts of the social media world. As blog connoisseur and communication educator Mark Shaefer once told me during a commencement dinner- and I paraphrase- “Blogging is not only a component of the Public Relations practice, it is vital to one’s survival.” I have certainly taken this to heart and have deemed it high time to jump on board, right into the deep end. Hopefully in this post I’ll help better educate you on some blogging fundamentals. Let’s hope I never fumble with them, and that each post subsequent to this will be a paragon of effective social media communication.
The question we in the blogosphere must ask is, “How can we most effectively wield such a powerful and influential tool?” As the greenest of all novices, I do not profess to have a straight or solid answer to this question. After all the hours spent in the lecture hall, I have come to one general postulate: The focus, form, tone, and character of an individual’s blog is necessarily subjective and personal. In other words:
1) Its Up to You!
The takeaway: Let your blog directly reflect who you are and what you’d like your personal brand to be or represent. If you’re an effective communicator in the physical world, and people are generally interested by the things you have to say, then don’t change a thing! Just put it all down in words and organized thoughts for the world to enjoy. You can be the voice of reason or the knowledgeable sage for a whole host of active readers and learners, depending on the quality of your posts. On the other hand, if you’re an enigma, allow your blog to let others into your world and the great things you have to share. At the end of the day, what you put down in writing should always mirror who you truly are, and should always be beneficial, even if just to provide comic relief.
Now, I’m sure we can all agree that most blogs must have a purpose. They should be tailored and master-crafted to further a specific agenda or goal, and this objective must be both transparent and appropriate. I am in no way an expert, but from experience I can deduce that no one wants to read a “blog-as-soapbox” from an unnamed, disembodied figure, hidden in the shadows of diatribe, posting only as a means of eschewing personal frustrations and discontentment.
2) Avoid Diatribe. Promote Mutual Benefit!
If there’s one overarching theme I’ve picked up on in all the research and reading I’ve done pursuing an undergraduate degree in communication, it’s that the most effective forms of communication deal almost exclusively in the realm of mutual benefit. Marketing and business professionals often parrot this tenant of good business practice too- you’ll simply get more attention for being nice. Use your blog as an outlet to provide meaningful, thoughtful, or resourceful information to others and you will receive the same treatment in kind.
I will never understand how people can get away being negative or unfriendly in this oppressive world, already filled with so many obstacles and hardships. It is mind-boggling to contemplate the audacity of those individuals who lack the integrity to cultivate relationships of mutual benefit. Honestly, how hard is it to be nice?
To satiate and alleviate the incessant fear that my first blog post ever will end up being too long winded and lacking focus, let me conclude these points with the mantra drilled into all students of the liberal arts:
3) Check and Double Check Your Work, Then Refine It!
It still surprises me that I eventually fell into this school of thought. Throughout high school and most of my college career I was, admittedly, the biggest perpetrator of the “first draft is the best draft” sin. Although passable, I look back now at the caliber of work I was submitting and sometimes publishing as comical and pitiable examples of what not to do. Take the lesson from me, while you still can: check your work and make it perfect before submission or publication.
Unfortunately for me, I always perceived the hegemony of liberal arts teachers-and my parents especially- to be non-compliant with my personal work standards and ethics. How terribly uninformed I was, and I still pay the price from time to time. If you’ll only believe it from the mouth of a colleague, then I implore you, get into the habit of proof-reading your work now. No one will be interested in lending credibility to an unprofessional looking blog, riddled with typos, awkward phrasing, and a general lack of proper grammar. (This said, feel free to burn me in the comments section for each individual mistake you find. I intend to rectify problems post-haste.)
I’m not exactly sure if anyone in the history of blogging has been so excited to clearly lay out for you their concluding statements with a bold-font header. These words mark the official closing to my first exploratory steps in the blogosphere, the virgin voyage forever linking the thoughts I pray are worthy of sharing with you to your perceptions and receptions of them. What a wild ride it has been thus far, and this is only the very beginning!
Hopefully I’ve provided a solid framework for those of you seeking to break the ground of your own blogging experience. It can be a daunting and challenging task, and I’m sure I have not come close to living up to the average expectations of blog readers with this post. My one true goal here is to get something written down to share with others, and to perhaps inspire you to do the same.
It is with every good intention I hold that I write to you in this context. I want to use this outlet to provide not only a virtual voice for myself through my writing to all of you, but also to provide you with useful, meaningful content, in the hopes that you’ll take something away from each and every blog post. I’ll be humorous sometimes, serious other times, but always insightful and entertaining. I look forward to our continuing reader/writer relationship, and I’m looking forward to all the great comments!
P.S. Please feel free to check out my poetry samples on the linked pages. I’ll be updating them with more verse as I compose; I want to use this as an effective outlet for getting my work into your hands. I’d love any and all feedback, so comment away!