By Chris Garrett
For as long as I can remember, I have been called a geek. It took a while, but eventually I began to see it as a compliment and I realized what an advantage geeks have over the rest of humanity. More and more, the world is becoming technical. The people that used to mock my geek-tendencies now rely on me for help with their interwebs tubes blockages so they can get their Flickr, iTunes and eBay. But wait, there is more! The most benefits came when I turned my hand to blogging. Here are ten points why, and how you can also benefit:
1. Clout from search engines – Having visibility on the Web has really come in handy, particularly when people Google your name and find you at the top of Google’s rankings. Now, you could argue that having social media profiles may serve a similar purpose, but it’s my opinion that your thoughts and commentary pull more weight than your picture and friend’s list.
2. Career – Once you have a good archive of wisdom to share, it can be of great help for your career, for furthering your job opportunities or getting freelance work. My writing has always been one thing that set me apart from other applicants, especially when recruiters were looking for case studies or evidence of competence in a specialized area.
3. Education (Deepening geekiness) – Keeping a blog forces you to stay up to date with industry changes and news. Also, via comments and conversations with other bloggers, you get exposed to ideas you previously would not have had access to.
4. Opportunities – Getting your name more well-known and your thoughts spread brings a wealth of opportunities, from startup gigs, freelance work, to speaking engagements and book deals.
5. Gadgets – It is not all business and careers. Many bloggers get sent free gadgets to review. In my case, the freebies tend to be books, but hey… it’s all good!
6. Attention – Would we have heard of the programmer Joel Spolsky without Joel on Software? The success of his business is heavily dependent upon his blog. A popular blog can attract links like a magnet. One of the places I blog is at Cogniview with my friend Yoav, where he produces a PDF to Excel converter. Blogging there is good for me and good for their business, so everyone wins.
7. Communication – One thing geeks are often criticized for is the perceived lack of communication skills. Show the masses that this stereotype is wrong and have fun doing it. It doesn’t do any harm to use your blog as a practice field to brush up those interpersonal skills either!
8. Networking – Networking is very important. I can not stress this enough. It really is true that who you know is as important as what you know. Many geeks are not great at the social chit-chat and handshake pumping but we are very good at the online stuff. Having a recognized blog really helps here, and you don’t even have to venture outside the social safety of your workstation.
9. Writing – A geek who can write is a more valuable geek. Think how many times you need to explain highly complex ideas in writing, anything from help documentation, white-papers through to progress report emails. Writing ability is a much sought after skill; the technology industry demands good written content.
10. Money – Geek bloggers can and do make good money, either through advertising, like Techcrunch, or via blogging, like me. It might not compete with your day job right away, but it certainly will have the potential to keep you in gadgets, games and DVDs.
Geeks were the early adopters of blogging, but I am constantly surprised by how many geeks believe blogging is still about a daily journal of what your cat ate! It’s not… a blog can be about anything you like, and if you make a good one, you too can share in all the benefits they can bring.
What benefits have I missed? Have I got any wrong? Please comment and let us know!