I have recently joined the local Toastmasters club in my office. The idea behind the Toastmasters club is to promote & improve public speaking by encouraging participants to give speeches either prepared lengthy speech lasting about 5 to 7 minutes or do an impromptu speech for about 2 minutes on any random topic. I can say with confidence that I have experienced drastic change in myself. I no longer shiver with fear of giving speech by facing large group of audience. Now this blog post is not going to be about the merits of Toastmasters instead I am going to use this post as placeholder for my next speech which is going to be on public writing aka Blogging.
In our computing industry almost every notable personality has recommended that we should blog. And to be frank, we know a lot of then primarily because of their blogs and articles. Internet is filled with articles on why we should blog and I am going to make another addition to that list by specifying the reasons here on why we should blog. So lets get started.
Note: Preaching without action is meaningless. And thus I am listing down the merits of blogging because I have maintained this blog for more than 6 years. I have composed around 50 articles. I know that number is not too high and I haven’t been that regular but slowly I am trying to make blogging a lot more important activity in my day to day activity.
Learning opportunity : We put very little effort when replying to Skype or any other messenger communication. But when we have to send out a company wide email, then the time & effort increases multiple folds. We go through every single line multiple times to ensure that not only are we sending correct message but the message is syntactically & grammatically correct. It’s the same with blogging. When you are going to write something in form of blog or article then you are going to spend lot more effort in understanding the topic, trying to articulate content in a manner which is easily understandable by everyone, ensuring the correctness & originality of the content. And all of this in-turn will help you in getting much better grasp on the topic itself. I have personally observed that the topics I have blogged about are still much more clear to me even after having not worked on them for a very long time.
Effort in right direction : Remember the saying : “In God we trust. Other bring data.”. I recently came across a meme titled LinkedIn effect. It’s important for us to maintain an active profile in LinkedIn. But for some the idea of being active means copy-pasting links of every other article found of internet. Cloud, machine learning are todays trending topics. You want to prove your interest in this field then show what you have done instead of forwarding URLs. Show to the world what you have done. Your creation, your contribution. I am sure one genuine article is worth more than hundreds of forwarded posts.
Accentuate your profile : Unfortunately the number of pages in our resume is not directly proportional to our working experience. Norm is still to limit the number of pages in resumes to two. And there is not much that you can accommodate in two pages. Instead your blog could be your own private space, your online resume. You can list down what ever you want to share with the world. Personalize it as per your choice. The more the better. It’s common to see in blogs these days wherein bloggers have dedicated space like “About Me”, “Hire Me” etc. Let your blog do the talking for you.
Giving back to the community : Every time we are stuck with a problem our first course of action is to search for solution on internet. And mostly the search would redirect us to someone’s dedicated blog. That someone is a person who has put in effort to share with the world that he believed could help others. Same is applicable to all of us. We learn new things. We try and fail and then we try again. Why not share the learning process with others? You have decided to learn a new programming language, new UI library. Why not share your learning experience, your first working application with others. You might think of things you know as basic or not so important but I must tell you that there are so many people out there would like to know the same thing. When I look at my blogs dashboards, it’s the most simple articles that has the highest number of visitors.
Branding yourself : You could be a subject matter expert with in your organization on any technical or non-technical topic. Why not publicize the same to the entire world? If you are not limited to just programming language but instead you hold good command on certain areas like data science, machine learning, cloud computing or big data then you can very easily establish yourself in the community as subject matter expert. And with blogs, you can take representation to next levels like giving talks, conducting trainings or preparing training videos on any of the online training portals. Of all of the effort that we put in to prove ourselves within our organizations I believe with little effort on things like blogging etc. we can market ourselves to a much audience.
There could be many more important reasons on why you should blogs that what I have listed above. As we are getting more experienced, we need more than just two page resumes to represent ourselves. You can showcase your personal project hosted on Github or some library you have built or your contribution to any open source library to convince others that you are not just any day-to-day programmer instead you care about your profession. Blogging could be one of those means too and I believe it doesn’t require the same kind of effort & dedication than what is required for other activities.
So go ahead and get started!!