I didn’t realize it until just now that I hadn’t updated my blog in over a month. Initially I started this to showcase my work somewhere online – a backup I could call upon when I met people or went to conferences and was asked to give examples of my work without having to pull out my hard-copy portfolio.
Now that I’ve updated with the shorter entry on Wayson Choy, there are a couple things I’ve learned that I think are worth repeating. They’re a bit cliché for those well-verse in blogging online, but now that I realize more and more friends and prospective employers are also reading this I think the value extends far beyond journalism to brand promotion and business as well.
1)If you’re good, all the more reason to keep it up.
If you put care into starting a blog and have written quality posts for it, people will notice and expect more. So update often, because not everyone will wait patiently for a month for a new posting. (I am lucky to have friends who do.)
2) People like pictures, so add them often.
Everyone gets reams of text from articles, essays, books. With television and video the visuals change often change every few seconds. But a photograph is something that can be mulled over, linked, and more easily passed on. It also takes up less bandwidth, reaching people on devices like Blackberries, iPhones and computers with painfully slow memory.
3) Make what you’re writing about also relevant outside your field.
There’s a lot to be said about the success of blogging for niche markets through themes like parenting, politics and fashion. But the interesting thing I discovered about my blog was that so much of it also applied towards personal branding, interpersonal relationships and business. I didn’t mean for it to be. But I think it’s also an indicator of what it now means to be a new journalist.
Unless you’ve got the rare steady full-time dream job unthreatened by budget cuts, it’s expected for you to have a website and showcase your brand of talent online. Branding is now more and more about the impression and reputation you establish with a new variety of people everyday, and maintaining a successful, trustworthy image throughout.
Publishing here allows me to articulate my journalism skills outside of the polish of an editor. Sure, in many ways that’s risky. But it’s also an accurate representation of my views, my natural voice and my skills as a writer and photographer. And it gives me great freedom to publish journalism-related things I wouldn’t normally be able to get in print through avenues like The Varsity or The Strand due to space, time, or resource constraints.
Upon reflection, I’m going to try and stick to entries under 500 words from now on, with occasional special exceptions. It takes up far less time to compose, there’s a smaller risk of boring readers but everyone gets a good sense of the entry’s purpose and message.
As always, I look forward to hearing what people think.