Two weeks ago I had the strangest phone call with an HR recruiter. I had applied for a Director of Social Media position and she was screening me before passing my resume on to the hiring manager. Fairly typical, except for the fact that she spent nearly 20 minutes scolding me about my resume. I didn’t necessarily agree with her, but I thanked her for her feedback and continued to answer her questions. That is until she let out a big sigh and said, “You don’t even have a blog!”
“Oh,” I thought, “I didn’t remember seeing in the job description that I needed a blog in order to apply.”
If you are reading this, then you can see I definitely have a blog. I also have 3 Twitter accounts, one of which is where you can read about how much my dog hates me. Do you think I include that information on my resume? Hell no! I try to put my most “professional” persona forward when applying for jobs, and I can’t think of anything more unprofessional that a blog from a “social media devotee” that hasn’t been updated in almost a year.
It’s not that I don’t have opinions. Hell, my personal Twitter account has over 30K tweets. I am as verbose in real life as I am in 140 characters, but when it comes time to write a blog post I just . . .
It wasn’t always like this. I never suffered such from such crippling writer’s block. In fact, in high school, I even fancied myself a playwright. I wrote awful one act plays that were whiny & self-indulgent, much like the teenager I was at the time. I continued this fantasy through my freshman year of college. I identified myself as a writer. It’s who I was. That’s why every birthday and Christmas I got at least 5 new “journals” to aid in my life’s great mission.
My dreams of literary greatness quietly died in the fall of my freshman year at college. That’s when I failed Italian to teach myself HTML instead. I fell in love immediately with the Internet and I haven’t looked back. I still tell the story about how HTML kept me from becoming a linguist, but the truth was I would have likely failed Italian without the help of the World Wide Web. What did surprise me was that my love for code would mean an end to my joy of writing. Sure, I could bang out a 10 page paper for class. Just give a large pot of coffee, a fully charged laptop and I’m halfway there. Yet when it came to fill up all those wonderfully empty journals, I had nothing to say. No witty puns. No deep insights. Not even a crappy blank verse of poetry. Words, my old friends, had left me.
Now here we are. Many, many, many years later and I still . . .
Maybe I can get out a title. I can definitely figure out the tags and categories. But what do I think about . . .
See? It just doesn’t come out. There’s a beginning, sometimes even an end. But the middle? It’s so hard for me to finish a blog post that in the course of writing this one I started, and abandoned, 4 other ideas. As I searched for a way to say what I really feel about blogging and writing, I keep coming back to one of the more famous passages of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke.
“Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.”
Bottom line: I am not a blogger, just like I am not a writer. Does that mean that I can’t advise bloggers about SEO? Hell no. Does it mean that I would avoid including blogs in my social media strategy? Hell no. Does that mean that I can’t roll up my sleeves and help publish blog posts if need be? Hell-to-the-no!
Just because blogging isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean I don’t understand and appreciate bloggers. In fact, my utter failure at blogging only reinforces how much I admire those that get up and find something to write about every day. Not to mention that they spend the rest of their day figuring out how to get people to read that blog, finding out ways to pay for the servers to host that, and whatever else they are doing as their full-time job.
- You do not need to be a blogger to include blogging in your content strategy.
- Give yourself a break. Working in social media does not mean you have to enjoy every aspect of it. You just have to appreciate it enough to know how to make it work for your brand/job/business.
- If it ever comes up, remind people that Twitter is a microblogging service and that’s how you prefer to do it.