Monthly Archives: December 2010

My Top 10 Reasons for Blogging

Source: images.google.com

I blogged for the first time on a lazy Sunday afternoon in July, and I haven’t regretted it ever since.

It was something I instantly became obsessed with; I can remember writing 7-10 posts hot days in August when I had nothing to do.

Looking back to that first day, I can see that my motivations for blogging largely remain the same, however there are some new ones.

So here are my Top 10 reasons for blogging:

  1. I blog because I enjoy blogging. Blogging acts as a channel of expression for me; a means for sorting out all the crazy, random idea that my brain cooks up. Sort of like a diary, except one that everyone can see.
  2. I blog because I enjoy writing and want to get better at it. Writing is probably my best skill and I find the best way to express my emotions, thoughts and ideas. The only way to improve is to keep writing, and blogging allows me to do this without it feeling like “work”.
  3. I blog because I enjoy sharing information and helping people. My first three blogs were about Music, Writing and Social Media. I would scour the internet for new music, articles and other interesting information so that others could become knowledgeable or find something useful.
  4. I blog because I want to become an “expert”. I haven’t yet decided what I want to be an expert on, but blogging about a certain subject means that I’m living it and breathing it every day, and I hope to be recognized as a source of authority on that subject.
  5. I blog because I want recognition. Like everyone else, I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with completing a project, or achieving success. There’s nothing better to me than when someone says, “Hey nice blog! I read it all the time!”
  6. I blog because I want to build my online and personal brand. Blogging helps me shape who I am online and build credibility.
  7. I blog because I want to give employers a snapshot of who I am – what I’m interested, what my passions are, etc.
  8. I blog because I want to make money for myself, by myself. Or until I get big enough to hire other writers. 🙂
  9. I blog because I want to influence the content the people of all ages, but especially my generation reads, watches and listens to.
  10. I blog because it challenges me. As an introvert, it helps me be more outgoing and personal, and it also requires me to commit to a schedule and to excellence. I don’t want to disappoint my readers, whoever they may be.

So those are my Top 10 Reasons for blogging. What are yours?


What Should I Do?

The Summer of 2010 was probably the best summer of my life.
I got to live by myself just outside of DC (in College Park, MD) and received “real” work experience working for a non-profit organization right on L street.
Even though I was still a college student with an unpaid internship living in a college town, I still “felt” like a responsible adult.
And I have to say that I loved it.
Apart from living and working in DC, that Summer was so special for me because it opened my eyes to careers I had never before considered.
During my first three years of college, I went from having no idea of my intended career path to a fairly concrete one.
My freshman and sophomore years saw me change majors twice before finally deciding on History, and by my Junior year I thought I wanted to be a Lobbyist and work in Politics.
But near the conclusion of my internship I realized that the political arena wasn’t for me, and I became interested in Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations.
To make myself a viable candidate to pursue those career paths, I learned that I would need an online presence – and that was how my love for blogging and “all-things-web” began.
My love of blogging led me to social networking and social media, which led me to learn about online advertising, which led me to learn about web development, which led me to learn about programming.
So sitting here today, I have a plethora of career options in front of me: blogging, internet marketing, social media, mobile advertising, web development, computer programming, and a dozen other interrelated fields.
Oh, and did I also forget to mention how I wanted (still want) to become a Fantasy writer in between? And also a musician?
To me, this is all incredibly frustrating. And it’s a topic that has been addressed in a New York Times article on 20-somethings.
So what do I choose?
Do I try to find a job that combines as many of those fields as possible?
Or do I simply job-hop until I find a career that satisfies me on every level?
What do you think I should do?


The Enterprise of One

I read a really interesting post by Stephen Martin on TechCrunch titled, “The Enterprise of One”.

Martin talks about how a new breed of entrepreneur is rising, where the determinants of successful enterprise are no longer limited to background, resources or education.

Due to the changing business landscape, rapid techonological innovation, and reduced barriers to entry and transaction costs, Martin argues that “individual strengths, passions, and expertise” are the most important factors in whether an individual or business is successful.

I would wholeheartedly agree with this.

I am my Personal Brand, I am an Enterprise of One.

I believe that I am truly the only person responsible for my successes and failures.

Sure, there is luck and other factors involved, but ultimately it comes down to me, the individual.

I can start a blog or an online business with little or no capital.

I have access to resources where I can obtain funding, or simply advice from experienced entreprenuers who have been there before.

And although I am well-educated, there are still many things that I don’t know. But with the web, the resources to do my own programming or SEO are right at my fingertips, meaning that I can constantly improve.

I’m ready to be part of this new class of entreprenuer, I just don’t know where to start.


Learning by Doing

I’m an avid consumer of content, especially online.

My Google Reader is always at or near 1000 items and I keep adding new websites, blogs, and RSS feeds every single week.

I read a wide variety of online content; from Mashable and Social Media to the New York Times and Current Events, to more specific blogs and websites  such as Ad Age for Advertising, Search Engine Land for SEO, so on and so forth.

Yet as I was going through my Google Reader the other day, I asked myself the question, What am I really learning from all this?

There’s no doubt that reading oodles of content increases my value, making me a more informed and intellectually curious person.

But apart from the intellectual benefits, I consume a lot of content online to keep me updated about the career fields I’m interested in, and to make me more competitive for jobs after graduation.

For example, I’m interested in Social Media, Internet Marketing and Mobile Advertising. So I read Mashable, Read Write Web and Mobile Marketing Watch.

From my reading, I could tell you about the photo-sharing start-up Instagram, how much it has received in venture funding, yet I’ve still never used it.

I could also tell you about how the Mobile space is set to experience explosive growth in 2011 lead by smartphone growth and tablets, yet I haven’t really prepared myself to take advantage of said growth.

Reading all this online content, while great, I feel only gives me a topical understanding of these related fields. From just reading, I can grasp the “big ideas” and see what is trending, but I’m starting to realize that to gain a deep understanding and to truly have an impact in those fields, I need to fully immerse myself.

This means that when a new search engine comes out, like Blekko did recently, I’m not just reading reviews to learn how it works. I’m also actively using the service, and therefore learning by doing.

This means, instead of only reading how and why Angry Birds has captivated the attention of millions of people, I’m also playing Angry Birds to understand why it is so popular.

This all seems rather obvious, but I feel that many people, including myself are guilty of this.

If you truly want to learn something, and learn it well, there is NO teacher better than experience.

Sure, consulting someone or an online guide or reading a post on How-To-Blog might be very helpful, but you won’t gain a deep understanding or learn the nuances unless you actively blog yourself.

So this New Year, I hope to fully immerse myself into everything (OK not everything, but many things) I read about.

Because that’s the best way to learn something, and learn it well.


How I’m Becoming A Life-Long Learner

Beep! Beep! Beep!

The sound of my alarm clock woke me up. Sleepily I hit the OFF button instead of SNOOZE and proceeded to sleep through my 7AM flight.

My time at the airport was miserable. Apparently Jetblue flights from RDU to JFK are always packed full, and I had to wait an excruciating 12 hours without internet access. (Hyperbole: Being without internet access at an airport for over 12 hours is equivalent to being water-boarded. No, seriously. You try it.)

Yet 12 hours later I found myself taking the LIRR from Jamaica to my house, where I subsequently passed out for a solid 15 hours. (Not Hyperbole: 6pm to 9am)

It’s amazing what the cumulative effects of all night cram sessions, Domino’s Pizza, and a dozen other commitments can do a college student’s mind and physique. But that’s a topic for another day.

For others, break would normally be a time of rest and relaxation – but not for me. I’ve got to improve.

I enjoyed my second to last semester at Duke, but I realized that I stretched myself too thin. I had plans to write regularly on three blogs, overload with 5 classes, and work two jobs.

And this doesn’t even count all the social commitments I made as a result of being in a fraternity.

But more importantly, the idea of “school” began to drag on me.

I’ve never been made for school. For me, school is a place where I’m forced to wake up earlier than is necessary (not before 1PM please!) and write a research paper on forms of entertainment during the 13th century (they didn’t even have Facebook!).

Source: Google.

This is not to say that school is unnecessary, or that I didn’t learn anything from school.

I just wish it could have been things I cared about.

Which leads me to the point of this post: I’ve committed to becoming a life-long learner. And the movement starts now, with Christmas break.

Here’s the breakdown of my break:

  1. Read The Purple Cow by Seth Godin.
  2. Read the Social Media Bible 2nd Edition by Lon Safko.
  3. Learn HTML via www.w3schools.com.
  4. Attend as many conferences, meet-ups, networking events as I can.
  5. Read This Is Your Brain On Music by Daniel J. Levitin
  6. Start learning How-to-Freestyle. (My dream of becoming a famous rapper is not likely to happen. But I can still impress a cute girl a party right?)

Are you committed to being a life-long learner? What are you currently learning.