After much deliberation, consternation, and procrastination I've decided to enter the world of blogging. So here it goes.
I've avoided all social networking sites like the plague for a while now. I don't blog (until now), don't Twitter, don't have a Facebook page, have never looked at MySpace, and I've only recently become aware of Ning, which I gather is a relative newcomer to the social network scene. I'm sure there are many more sites I'm not aware of, to say nothing of the thousands of communities out there that provide discussions on various topics. I do have a profile on LinkedIn but only because it's a professional gathering and when I started that way back when it wasn't included in the same group as the social networking sites; now I usually see it listed along with all the others. I considered social networking an unnecessary, frivolous activity that would just be time consuming and could potentially open up numerous cans of worms including security, identity theft, and most importantly the ability of people (like future employers) to dig up personal information about you on the Web. (I never said all of my concerns were rooted in reality.) I figured staying away from social media sites entirely was the easiest way to avoid the potential pitfalls. That, and I'm a pretty private person, anyway, so joining a social network "just for the fun of it" never really appealed to me. And there's definitely that time consuming thing—I figured I spent enough time on the computer already as it was!
So why am I starting a blog now? For a number of reasons. I'm still not going to establish accounts with Facebook or Twitter but I've come to see that having a blog could be fun. Recently I've been reading some blogs of people I know and I find that I enjoy reading them, so if I enjoy reading other peoples' blogs maybe some people will enjoy reading mine.
I also think having a blog would be good for my career. I recognize that social media sites aren't just for fun anymore: More and more corporations have an advertising presence on them and organizations use them to communicate with their members. (I was recently told that my department at school now has a following on Facebook. Intriguing, but I'm still not going to join it.) Next semester I'm taking a course on social media and public relations so I expect to learn a lot more about the positive aspects of social networking.
I've also come to recognize that if I want to get a good job in technical communication I need to have some sort of Web presence. I'm working on putting together a personal Web site but in the meantime I think a blog is a good start: It's definitely more practice for my Web skills than I thought it would be. (I've spent the past several days tweaking the template to get it exactly how I wanted it.) Technical communication also includes technical writing, and employers usually want to see writing samples for prospective employees. While a blog doesn't substitute for professional examples it is a good platform for my general skills as a writer. It (hopefully) will show employers that I can communicate clearly on various topics—whatever those topics may be, because frankly I haven't planned things out quite that far yet.
So there you have it—my reasons for starting a blog. Better late than never, right? As a Christian artist I like says, "The river's deep, the river's wide... So sink or swim I'm diving in." I'm taking the plunge. We'll see what the future holds!