One of my friends just asked me how I got started on blogging.
Although he wants to get started (a lot on the mind that needs an outlet – like most of us) – he cringes at the thought of starting one.
Exactly a year ago, I was cringing too.
The internet world was just opening up to me and it was, well, overwhelming. Before I always used the internet, but only for things like reading my G&M homepage, hotmail (yuck, thank god I dropped that!), Facebook and Google searches for school or the occasional question I had.
Now? The internet taps my curiosity and fills me with information.
It was just under a year ago that janeporter.ca got started and this is now….drumroll… my 80th post:)
I say that blogging has made me smarter. Here’s why:
1. Forces you to think critically
You read something and instantly you’re hit with curiosity, or an emotion or just a thought. By actually allowing yourself to stop and let that curiosity sink, you’re not just glossing over fast news, you’re absorbing an issue. (Society moves so fast nowadays, that most times, we don’t get a chance to do this) – BBC World Debate on Media – really good points on this)
2. Forces you to research
Absorbing an “issue” is more than just writing down your opinion on an article. Someone once told me that they couldn’t believe I had all these extra links on my stories. But that’s it – once you commit yourself to writing about something, you need to have backup sources. I google ridiculous amounts a day.
Take the post on toilets. I obviously don’t know all of those stats on Canadian water consumption but as I write, I research and find out how much information is out there at my fingertips. (Which often leads to more blog posts!)
3. Strengthens your opinion
Once you research, you’re can form better opinions. I know how much water we consume vs. other European countries, I know (somewhat) what the gov’t is doing to fix this problem and so now I can express my opinion (we’re not doing enough;) with a more solid grounding. Granted, of course, I don’t know the whole situation – I know more than before, and if I am really wrong, usually someone will correct me in the comments;)
4. Connects you with others
I’m amazed. This week I was featured on the Toronto Vegetarian Association site, one reader, Dan Bloom (polar cities guy) found me from Taiwan and posted me on the NYT Dot Earth comments. Guy Kawasaki twittered me! Etc etc, etc.
5. Personal branding (It’s the marketing in me;)
I like the fact that I’m getting a voice now, and being heard. People know me a bit more for who I am – as in what my thoughts are and that’s important to me. Who knows, might come in handy later on in life;)
Many more benefits but for any of you out there that has thought about it and just isn’t sure yet… as I told my friend, the cringing goes away after you start… so START;)