Sunday, August 4, 2013

Social Media

Recently, a friend of mine asked me about blogging, in particular why I bothered blogging and does it help a person’s career. A blog is an excellent hub for your social media presence, and helps to engage your peers, customers and other audiences.

Technologists are a passionate group; in comparison in the Winter I am an avid skier, when the leaves start to turn shades of scarlet, yellow and orange and the wind starts them on their annual ballet toward their seasonal sleep on the ground, a skier starts to itch to get on the slopes. They start attending Ski Expos and going to the latest Warren Miller ski films. If you want to see a passionate group, go to a Warren Miller film at the beginning of ski season and listen to the cheers and jeers as the professional skiers perform amazing tricks and teeth clenching crashes.

It is the same for the technology community, they are a passionate group, they like to involve and support each other. Furthermore, just like the skier in autumn, it is remarkable to see the excitement build as VMworld draws near.  Everyone is sharing the sessions they are eager to attend and the après-VMworld events they will be joining.  This isn’t just individuals, this goes for vendors as well, technology vendors are great sponsors to the blogging community and to the après-VMworld events.

For me, blogging and social media is about engaging others that have a like-minded passion. For many of us, technology isn’t just a day-to-day job, it is about life long learning and the challenge of finding ways to use technology solutions to enable business capabilities or solve a business problem. Most IT professionals are critical thinkers (intellectually engaged thinkers), we try to conceptualize the problem then come up with the basic ideas, analysis, and theories to solve the issue.

Trust me, I have worked with my share of people that look at IT just as a job; it becomes obvious because they just live for routine. They execute tasks to get the job done so they can just go home at the end of the day. Sometimes it happens because of burnout, lets face it; this is a hyper-intensive job with technology changes that are evolving more rapidly than ever before. If you aren’t a life long learner and aren’t capable of adapting to change, than the current IT environment can be overwhelming.

Over the past few years, I have grown both professionally and personally from the blogging community, it has a significant advantage over traditional print media; and that is immediacy. You get relevant and up to date content about technology in an industry that is in constant motion.

You get unvarnished opinions and point of views you may not have considered when looking at a technical framework, solution, or conceptual idea. One thing that is certain, people have strong opinions and they aren't afraid to share it!

I highly recommend taking the time to write a technical blog and engaging the professional community. A blog isn’t meant to be a place where you publish your fictional masterpiece. It’s where you think aloud, where you have conversations with your audience, and you share with the community.  

Once you have set up a blog and chosen a topic, you are ready to begin writing.  Think about the audience you want to participate in. Actually choose, in your mind, a small group of individuals who you believe are the ideal target audience for your thoughts.

From that point forward, write your blog as if you were having a conversation with that small group of people in real life. Without much effort, you’ve created your social media voice.

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