Grammar Girl

Pigg (2013) uses a case example to explain how one writer, Dave, was able to successfully use social media for employment. In my career, I’ve spent four years as a contractor for different projects and corporations. While I enjoyed reading about Dave, I was slightly jealous of the fact that he is able to use a coffee shop as his office. As a contractor, I was never allowed to work remotely. In fact, even the full-time employees were discouraged from working from home. It would be awesome to get paid to work at a coffee shop, just like Dave did in “Social Media’s Role in Distributed Work.” My most important takeaway from reading Dave’ case study on using social media for employment is that he used social media at two levels: project or task work and an ongoing professional trajectory to network with others for future work (p. 82-83).

As a contractor, most of Dave’s writing assignments are short-term, and I find it interesting that he uses social media as a way to find future writing opportunities. Because he works hard to get a large following on his popular blog, he is able to find additional work. I live in Austin and since it is the capital of Texas, there are a lot of technical writing contracts available at the various state agencies. I think it’s cool that I too could use social media (Twitter, Facebook, and blogs) to find employment.

Dave’s story reminds me of Grammar Girl. I have “liked” Grammar Girl on Facebook for several years. Grammar Girl posts frequently on Facebook; uses a cute avatar; and posts videos, links, and hashtags to promote her books. Several of her posts appear to be well thought-out ways to link back to her book –her background photo indicates that she has seven books. With almost 500,000 likes, she too has been able to successfully use social media to network and find employment opportunities. Can you imagine how long it took her (and how many hours at a coffee shop) to get that many likes?

This article taught me that to be a great technical communicator, I must also be a bit of an entrepreneur. Hence, if I am passionate about something, am willing to invest time, and treat social media as a project/task and plan long-term goals on how to use it to professionally network for future employment, I too can be successful. Dave had an idea to blog about fatherhood and Grammar Girl had an idea to provide tips on tricks on language and grammar. Both have used social media to generate income. I am passionate about running and CrossFit. Maybe I should start blogging about it and one day I could have a following. And in my wildest dreams I could get advertisers or sponsors one day. What about you, what ideas do you have to use social media for profit?


About peahleah

Youngest of four, left home at 17, traveled the country, and wound up in Austin.

Posted on November 16, 2014, in Blogs, Social Media, Workplace. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. It’s funny that you mention Grammar Girl’s Facebook page because I first discovered her in 2008 via her Twitter feed. I believe she only had 1 book out at the time, but I agree she’s leveraged social media quite well. Didn’t she start with podcasts?

    Even one of the freshman composition handbooks included a Grammar Girl academic planner in its packaging one year, so given that number of universities those books are shipped to, it’s nice to see her making a name for herself [and for teachers to have an alternative to the Purdue OWL].

  2. I think the most difficult way to make money on the internet is to try to figure out how to make money on the internet or through social media. It seems the majority of the people that you hear and read about that are successful online entrepreneurs were following a passion first and foremost. The passion led them to an opportunity to make money.

    I think your CrossFit hobby is a great place to start blogging. I have been interested in CrossFit since I seen Rich Froning on ESPN or some other sports network. The only problem is the $150 a month is a little too much for a gym membership. I couldn’t even stand to not use my old membership for $15 a month and ended up cancelling it. A suggestion for your blog would be CrossFit training from your home. “How to complete a CrossFit circuit at home in less than 40 minutes”. Sign me up.

  3. The part of your blog where you talked about working remotely caught my eye. While I enjoy the freedom of this online program (yay pajama studying), I value the interactions that I have with my coworkers. For example, I’m sure you remember when Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer banned remote work to improve company culture and productivity. I can tell you that when I work from home, I get less done than if I were at my workplace’s office. So perhaps as a contractor, it’s a good thing to be steeped in the company culture, too. Just a thought.

    • It’s interesting that you say that you get more work done in the office. I guess it’s not the same for everyone. Our CEO also recently banned working from home, and a lot of people were upset and claimed to actually get more work done at home than in the office. They claim that they wake up early to work and even work late if they are at home. But it didn’t work, we were told that until we meet our quarterly sales figures, no one is allowed to work at home.

  4. natashajmceachin

    Thank you for sharing Grammar Girl, I checked her out and added her page on Facebook. The magazine I write for uses Facebook as their primary marketing tool in combination with a blogger site linked to the actual website.

  5. I think you’re right when you say that tech writers need to be a bit like entrepreneurs. I’m realizing this more and more every day. In fact, I’m starting to get the entrepreneurial itch myself and am researching ways I can strike out on my own (and maybe be as successful as Grammar Girl).

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