A Reflection: How Blogging Affected My Life

It recently hit me how dramatically my life has changed in the past year that I’ve been blogging. In twelve months, I have graduated from college, moved from Florida to the Nation’s Capital, left my family, interned at a prestigious public affairs firm, landed my dream job, and interacted with brilliant people from around the world.

Almost all of these milestones are a direct result of this blog. That may sound exaggerated, but it’s not. Launching my blog has significantly influenced my life in many ways, especially in my professional career, but more importantly – blogging has made me more appreciative of everything I have achieved so far and more willing to help others reach their own milestones.

When it comes to professional development, I might be the poster child for how beneficial blogging can be to one’s career. Looking back at the recognition I have received in the past year because of my blog is very humbling. Since creating this blog, I have been offered numerous freelance writing opportunities and professors have asked me to speak to their students about blogging. As someone making the transition from college student to full-time professional, these experiences allowed me to develop skills necessary for a successful career in communications.

Last spring, I was awarded second place in the PRSSA/Edelman Outstanding Public Relations Student competition, and the nominating team mentioned that my blog showed how passionate I was about my education and the PR field. When my last semester of college was ending, I sought advice from bloggers who had re-located after college and, with their advice and encouragement, decided that leaving Florida to pursue my career in PR was the best decision for me to make. Then, I used my blog to develop a professional network on LinkedIn and Twitter, both of which earned me informational interviews at several prestigious PR agencies in Washington, D.C. Because of my blog, I landed a summer internship at one of the best public affairs firms in the country. There, my supervisors tapped me for insight into the digital space and pulled me into important client meetings I never dreamed I would attend as an intern. I met former congressional members and presidential press secretaries – and got paid for it!

After my internship ended, I needed to find a full-time job. I wanted to work at a forward-thinking company that understood social media. Connections I made and conversations I had through my blog and Twitter led me to my current position – my dream job – at a company that embodies those exact qualities.

Though these opportunities enhanced my resume and portfolio, they are not the reason why I love being a part of the blogosphere as much as I do.

Perhaps the most substantial impact blogging has had on my life has been helping me push aside my shyness so that I could talk to people with more ease and confidence. After receiving insightful comments on my posts from prominent professors and professionals, I felt my bashfulness gradually subside. With this newfound courage, I reached out to people I respected and admired; something I’ve never been comfortable doing in the past.

The hospitality and encouragement I received from my mentors blew me away. Blogging made it easier to connect and build friendships with intelligent people like Karen Russell, Robert French, Les Potter, Constantin Basturea, Paull Young, Melanie Seasons, and countless more. Their kindness showed me the importance of community and that building relationships is the foundation for everything, especially in PR and social media.

Considering all of the professional goals I have achieved in the past year, you might be asking why something like gaining courage has had the biggest impact on my life. Well, it’s the circular nature that resonates so well in the blogosphere. My blog gave me more confidence in my abilities as a writer and communicator, so I felt more confident reaching out to bloggers I admired, and when they were so open to helping me, I knew that I had to give back in some way, too. The blogosphere frequently reminds me how important the pay-it-forward mentality is: help and be helped, what goes around comes around, sharing is essential.

The communities I have gotten involved with through blogging made me realize how much I love helping people, especially college students and recent grads. Each week, I receive comments or e-mails from students saying my blog has helped them in some way, whether it’s encouraging them to start their own blogs or inspiring them to apply for awards that seem out of reach. These kind words are never taken for granted – in fact, they are often what keeps me going when I find myself frustrated with blogging (or even life in general).

Blogging has helped me achieve many of the goals I set for myself, and all of the wonderful things that have happened to me would not mean as much if I did not try to inspire other people as others motivated me during my rough times, life changes, and professional pursuits.

So how has blogging affected my life? It helped me come out of my shell so that I could somehow interact with industry geniuses, move to a big city by myself, land my dream job, and share these experiences with others who are going through the same things I did. For me, this blog is about developing confidence in my own voice so that I can help others in the same way others helped me. If being vocal online helps other people along the way, I’m more than happy to pretend that I am a gregarious extrovert who doesn’t even know what the word “shy” means.

H/T to the phenomenal team over at Brazen Careerist for holding this outstanding contest and motivating me to write the post that should have been written a long time ago. Those guys really know how to challenge me!

23 thoughts on “A Reflection: How Blogging Affected My Life

  1. Hi Meg.

    Really good piece. I stumbled here through Twitter and it’s rewarding to see someone running a (roughly) similar path. I started blogging in 2003 and by mid-2005 had scored two major jobs simply by putting myself out there. Things built very quickly once I started writing regularly. Ironically, my second major job took me to Washington, DC as well (lived in Fairfax, VA)!

    Wish you nothing but the best…keep sticking that head out there in all of your work and you’ll be rewarded.

  2. Well written!

    I like that you’re taking pride in the effect of your blog rather than the “hit stats” it’s a very gracious thing to do. Even cooler is that you inspired me to start writing and that you and ^^^the guy above me^^^ kinda clicked, just like your post said it happens!

  3. “For me, this blog is about developing confidence in my own voice so that I can help others in the same way others helped me.”

    Bravo, Meg, you never cease to amaze me.

    P.S. Ditto to @verbalguillotine about the hit stats. Isn’t a smaller, more vocal and involved audience better than a big one that doesn’t care?

    I’m proud of you for ALWAYS remembering what’s really important.

  4. i agree with timbabyface and tory. great job. you, also, never cease to amaze me. enriching the lives of others with each post.

  5. Thanks for thinking of me as a friend. 🙂 I definitely think you’re a poster child, and I can’t figure out why more students don’t follow in your footsteps. Bravo to you for seeing an opportunity and making the most of it.

  6. Awesome post (per usual)! Thinking about how blogging’s impacted me is a always a jumbled mess in my mind, serious props to you for being able to articulate it so well.

    Good luck with the contest!

  7. You have an incredible gift of writing your thoughts into productive and very informative posts.

    I always look forward to them, and you give me inspiration to start blogging in a new and innovative way.

    Congrats on your success, you will be a solid staple in this industry.

  8. So true. You definitely have come out of your shell since you began. I personally have seen you gain confidence through your blogging, and am witness to how you have helped others, myself included, through PR Interactive. yay!

  9. Aw I love it! This is easily my favorite post that I’ve seen so far on this topic. I love that above all the cool opportunities blogging gives you to help you with your career, it’s the seemingly little things that matter most 🙂 Great job!

  10. Again, thank you! You guys are seriously emphasizing what I wrote. Also, I love that since I published this, 3 more students have contacted me and I’ve met some great new blogger friends who are helping me out. That’s what it’s all about, right??

  11. Hi Meg,

    You are a “poster child” (as Karen correctly says) for the good that can come from hard work. Only a few people actually know how overloaded you were when you began this effort with coursework, internships, Bateman, etc. The easiest thing would have been to let the blog and social media activities slide. Instead, you built a national reputation. From the beginning, I think the key to your success has been the passion you bring to your posts. All of us in the School of Mass Communications at USF are very proud of your successes.

  12. Pingback: What Blogging Means To Me (And You) | YourHRGuy.com

  13. Heya Meg,

    Great post, I know I’ve only known you so long but I wouldn’t really call you shy! Perhaps you attribute coming out of your shell to your blog but I think you are just growing and getting comfortable in your shell (skin), wow I’m so wise… anyway, that’s my 2… wait, has there ever been a cents key?

    I digress…

    It looks like your blog has enabled you to build a strong professional network.

    Count me in as a reader. If you’re interested maybe we could do a blog plug boost for our blogs. We could run a story (an interview even) about blogging one’s way into a pr/social networking career. And you could plug thehotsheetrpr.com for those interested in “entertainment and urbaneering” insightful creative news from Los Angeles…

    Is this your longest comment?

    Keep blogging!

  14. Pingback: Grown Up Digital » Blogging can be transformative

  15. Pingback: Tips from the Pros: Holistic Blogging Strategy

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