Why I Blog

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By Shannon Paul

Unlike a lot of other social media bloggers out there, I am not a consultant or an agency employee. In other words, I don’t need to blog to attract clients (not that there’s anything wrong with that at all).

Most of the time I’ve spent contributing to this blog I have worked inside companies helping them figure out the social media space and how they can leverage it for their business. A lot of people seem to ask why I blog or, what’s in it for me? so I thought I should probably take the time to answer that question.

I write this blog as a means of continuing my professional development and contributing to a growing community of people interested in learning more about how to use social media for business.

When I first started down the path of learning about social media, there weren’t many resources, there was even less data and there certainly wasn’t any empirical research I could reference.

Professional Development, Community Participation and Empathy

I learned from others who were learning and we helped each other. This is still largely what the social web is all about, and it’s the difficult piece to teach. Putting yourself out there in front of others requires a bit of courage for individuals and for businesses. I know this type of courage because I’ve felt my stomach wrench when I clicked “publish” on posts I was afraid others might misinterpret or lead to others thinking negatively of me. However, some of the most contrary posts I’ve written are some I am most proud of. Businesses often experience this same type of fear in a collective sort of way. I don’t know if I would feel as confident urging others to push past that trepidation if I hadn’t experienced it on a personal level first.

Experiencing the Other Side

Blogging also puts me on the other side of the pitch. I get pitched by companies to cover their product/service/study/book all the time. I can experience first-hand what works and what doesn’t work. And, I can see the disconnect between what many PR pitches serve up and how that differs from what I need to cover them as a blogger for this particular site.

Embracing my Strengths, Knowing my Limitations

I am not a developer, a UX or SEO expert, but I know enough about the functions now to ask better questions, ask the right people and understand the limitations of what I can or can’t do on my own. The mechanics of digital publishing, understanding how to write for people AND search engines, understanding how different buttons work, looking at traffic stats and analytics are all things I first learned through the act of maintaining a blog.

Getting things to work the way you want them to on your blog can lead you on a path of discovery. This is how most people learn and form friendships online — through the act of discovery. During this time not only have I become a lot more confident with the mechanics of posting content and writing for people AND search engines, I also grew this amazing network that helps me discover new things to make my work even better and lends a hand with answers to my burning questions.

Blogging Changed My Life

I can’t say YOU should blog, or that everyone working in social media should maintain a blog or an online presence.

However, I can say that if you decide to do it — I mean REALLY do it, it could take your life and your career in amazing new directions. It has for mine, and for this I am eternally grateful.

If you’re interested in what I have to say here, subscribe to receive regular updates.

More About Me

Photo Courtesy of Geoff Livingston

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

July 31, 2010 Allan

What a great opening position Shannon! Very refreshing because you’re not hawking yourself. You’re sharing and being generous. Thanks.

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October 12, 2010 Kendra | The Savvy WAHM

Hi Shannon
I found you through Twitter. I’m so glad I did. I have read post after post after post after…. You have eloquently stated in your posts beliefs that I have concerning social media strategy. I am the creator of a home biz blog for WAHMs. I am also a consultant and biz strategist for WAHMs (work at home mom biz owners). I’m passionate about helping them maximize their presence online. Could you recommend any resources – books, websites, conferences – that can help me to continue to grow as a social media consultant/strategist? Thank you for your time. I expect to be a regular reader of this blog.

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August 26, 2011 Michelle Hawkins

Very interestig and insightful website. http://wirequeen.blogspot.com

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October 25, 2011 Ivan Chew

For some reason, reading your blog is like a going through a blogging renaissance for me. Allan (Jul 31, 2010) puts it best: “Very refreshing because you’re not hawking yourself.” Another thought: I wish I’d written my About page like yours (oh darn, there I go me me me LOL). Seriously, thanks for connecting via Twitter. Let me think of 5 really good questions :)

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