A Career Primer

A few weeks back, I expressed my desire to work in freelance technical communication.  Stacey Pigg;s piece, Coordinating Constant Invention:  Social Media’s Role in Distributive Work, puts the mechanics of that desire together.

I have a blog.  I am not very good about keeping up with it.  I have a Twitter account.  I am not so good with following up with that either.  I have read a dozen books on how to harness social media to further my career.  Stacey Pigg’s piece did a nice job of simplifying that.

Pigg’s ideas were nothing new, but it was helpful to read those ideas in a scholarly text.  While I can set my blog off to the side for personal reasons, her article reminded of all the practical reasons I should keep writing.

Recently, I parred down my book collection.  I had an abundance of business and marketing books, most were about ten years old.  I tossed all the business and marketing books.  Those books appeared outdated but, in reality, business is business.  The PR and business strategies were different, yet they continuously tell you to find ways to stay in your audience’s view.  You have to stay fresh, current and visible.  Dave’s “daily grind” is all about staying relevant.  He is a living and breathing personal PR machine.  The blog isn’t just to write and it certainly isn’t to entertain.  While the “traditional” advice in those book was useless in light of social media, it still has many similarities.

Dave made his work visible.  In many ways, his blog simplifies how a business, or in this case an individual promotes himself.  His blog is a portfolio of his writing.  It also served the purpose that an ad would by reaching his consumer base.  Even better, he is cultivating his contact list without the expense or effort that a direct mail campaign would require 20 years ago.


As this semester winds to a close, I am excited to return to my blog, re-experience Twitter and develop my social media from the stand point of my career versus my “personal” life.  What I let slip away in my private life, is not what I would do for my future or career.

I shared the above article with a friend of mine.  We both identified with Dave’s frantic multi-tasking.  We had never discussed this stuff before but it turns out we both have a ritual every morning.  This occurs whether we are working on our blogs, working, writing school papers, etc.  We both log on and sign into our various email accounts.  We also check back throughout the day, even if we can’t do anything about them.  Dave did reinforce our idea that you have to multi-task and jump around to be successful and get followers.

I loved this article and thought the author put what we need for success in a nutshell.  I did find one thing humorous.  I didn’t tell my friend any of my impressions about this article.  I sent it to her with a simple question:  “What do you think?”  She replied, “In this day in age—even if you don’t have a blog—don’t we all toggle to our social media a hundred times a day?”  Social media and email is part of many of our lives, just like getting dressed for the day.  We are always “connected.”

Posted on November 16, 2015, in Blogs, Creative, Marketing, Social Media and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. HI Rebecca,

    Like your friend’s comment, I also noticed a similar behavior between myself and Dave ‘s when approaching social media. Throughout the day, I find myself toggling between Gmail, Facebook, D2L, WordPress or various other sites I am constantly jumping back and forth between platforms. I think this multitasking ritual is pretty common, and something that most of us embrace in our day to day lives.

    I also liked your comment about approaching your own blog and social media use from a fresh perspective after this class winds down. (I also plan on doing a similar thing and try writing through a more professional lens.) I think the tools we have learned definitely will help us create meaningful posts with value!

  2. Hey Rebecca,

    You blog really made me think of the human habit. One of the things I struggle with, is when I try to do something new or make a change, sticking to that is often brutal. But what is that they say, in order to form or change a habit, it takes 4-6 weeks? For me, using social media on a consistent and regular basis is paralleled to quitting smoking or making a diet change. In order for it to really take effect one would have to stick with it and be very cognizant of [it].

    But to your point. Our generation I think has be hardwired to check e-mails for example and maybe Facebook and Twitter. The generation before us was forced to acquire those e-mail habits, while on the flip side the generation after us – well they are hardwired to attack the latest and great (just like us). I truly can’t help but wonder if education and awareness of technical communication needs to start at a younger age because of how much youth a predisposed to technology. Or maybe that is just one unattainable thought that is not even worth pursuing because of the rapid change in technology.


  3. I, too, start the day the same way. I check my work email, my personal email, Facebook, the StarTribune newspaper, MSN.com and LinkedIn. I also check back frequently throughout the day. At least once a week, I also check and respond to emails in a couple of other accounts that I use for my freelance business. I started to do this because of the expectation of immediacy (everyone wants a response right away), and I don’t want to look like I’m slacking. But now it’s a firmly ingrained habit that is rather compulsive in nature.

    I am also, like you, rethinking my personal and professional approach to social media in order to stay relevant and visible. It’s so easy to let it fall to the wayside, but I think this course has taught us that we shouldn’t do that.

  4. One thing that I have loved about this class blog is seeing which readings ignite a fire in the belly of my classmates. Though I learned a lot from reading this paper, I didn’t personally see myself reflected because I feel like I will be a career in-house graphic designer for quite some time.

    I do think that that my online publishing habits will change after learning form this course. Twitter, especially, still remains an intriguing entity that I have yet to fully understand. I would like to wield its awesome Twitter power professionally to connect with a larger community of higher education marketers, but I’m only beginning to see what that process looks like. The little glimpses and connections that I’ve been making over the past couple of months have been intoxicating. I’m looking forward to having a little bit more time after this course to do my own research.

    Good luck with your blogging and Twitter exploration! Your excitement is contagious.

  5. natashajmceachin

    Hi Rebecca,

    I’m one of those people who could never get into blogging. I have at least two blogs, but I don’t even remember the credentials to access them. It’s challenging for me to view blogging as anything more than a hobby. Although it’s common knowledge blogging promotes endless possibilities, I haven’t yet found the motivation to research how to maximize this medium.

    This article forced me to question the opportunities I might have and still might be missing out on because I haven’t presented my abilities to enough people. I’m happy you’ve regained your excitement for Twitter and blogging, hopefully I can get there some day 🙂

  6. When I first joined Twitter, it was before celebrities took it over. I don’t remember how many people I started following, but I did know they were real people, namely academics and other graduate students in my field. I was able to scroll through their tweets every day and didn’t miss a beat. That’s impossible now, but from time to time when I do spend a half hour or so on Twitter I find amazing resources such as “An Interactive Map of Odysseus’ 10-Year Journey in Homer’s Odyssey goo.gl/FJwxmj,” which is perfect now that I’m introducing the digital humanities to my undergrads, and “The Conversation Never Ends: Participatory Culture in a Networked Era shar.es/15F9IT via @henryjenkins,” which could be a source you could use in the final paper in this course!

    It does take time, though, and while a few of my undergrads might complain about me requiring Twitter and using a course-related hashtag, doing that for a 16-week semester inevitably leads to wonderful discoveries, so I stand by it!

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