Remember my post “I’m Glad We’re Not All Crazy” from last week? I blogged about how surprised I was that so few people in an MBA class were on LinkedIn or Facebook, or were following blogs. I got excellent comments to that post… and even one of the students who was there responded Maybe he’ll start following this blog :p
I wanted to address his specific questions here, in this post. So thanks to Chris McConnehey for the questions (read his entire comment here). I mentioned that the single most important tool I had to develop my professional network was this blog. Chris wonders:
What types of blogs should you look for?
I recommended to the class that they look for blogs that are inline with their industry, profession or geography. Sure you can go look for one of the most popular blogs, but I find those to be popular less for things that I’m interested in, and more for, well, herd mentality, popular reasons. Not that these blogs are bad, or suck, but considering the time you have to spend, make sure you aren’t following silly, goofy, pop blogs instead of following blogs that are more inline with your career aspirations. If you are in corporate finance, find some corporate finance blogs. Into legal issues? There are some great legal blogs, etc. etc.
I just happen to know that Chris wants to get into the VC world. There are a number of VC blogs that are worth following, from the straight VC to the analysts to the critics… so there is no shortage of learning about this space. I guarantee you’ll learn more about the VC space from a handful of good blogs than you will in school.
The blogs I follow are all career related – that is, personal branding, networking, social networking, job search, recruiter, job board news, etc. Following these types of blogs helps me understand the career landscape – how can you understand your industry landscape?
How to you find those that are most relevant?
There are three ways that I’ve found relevant blogs that are worth following:
- Go to a blog you like and click on the links in the blogroll. Usually bloggers put blogs they follow in their blogroll… so it’s (usually) almost an endorsement.
- Go to Blogsearch.Google.com and search for certain terms. It always takes me a few tries but eventually I find some cool blogs. Note that there are non-blogs in the results, so you just have to sift through a lot of crap to find blogs that you like.
- Search in Technorati, which should give different results than the Google Blogsearch. Same concept though.
What types of questions should I be considering as we venture out into this new territory?
I would say that you should ask yourself what role you can or should have in the blogosphere. Should you read them like you do a newspaper, or should you go one step further and start to comment, or should you go another step further and have your own blog? I know it seems like a huge thing right now to start a blog, but you don’t start on the top 100 list… you just start with dialogue. Sometime the dialogue is to yourself, but let me make two points about this:
- Creating a blog is the single best thing you can do, if done well and right, to create your personal brand online. If you want to see some excellent examples just check out the You Get It award winners, which are all listed individually on the (very) bottom left.
- There are people who haven’t started to blog yet that will take over the top 100 in the future. It’s just change. And some on the top 100 have made a significant business out of it… at the very least they make a living from it. In my opinion, now is as good a time as any to get started – but just be smart about it (and what your brand and message will be).
More tomorrow, with a bonus question from Chris.
What do you think? How would you answer his questions?