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Blogging: Education or Experience?

No one goes into school thinking they are going to become a full time blogger, but that doesn’t mean their schooling does not correlate with what they are doing in the blogging world. I went to school for Computer Networking, and ended up being a technology blogger. It really isn’t that much of a stretch for me, as I have a strong passion for technology.

I didn’t really have any writing experience before I started, other than a short stint in the College I attended’s newspaper, but I was entrusted with writing for Darren Rowse on his Laptop blog. The guest position with Darren then led me to being able to write for Jacob at the Bloggy Network.

The question though I have in my mind now is about education and experience. I know with traditional jobs, the more education and experience you have, the more you get paid, but that isn’t always true in blogging.

Some bloggers with almost no education in writing and publishing or experience in blogging have come out of the woodwork to make far more money and gain more secondary benefits than I am. Some bloggers with far more blogging experience and a higher level of education than I have, are making less than I am, but still do it for the enjoyment, and have someone or something else to make up for the lower level of income.

Blogging seems to be one of the great equalizers. Those with an opinion and a will to share their thoughts, knowledge, ideas and experience seem to do well with their blog, and due to the low barrier to enter the arena, there is a sea of new bloggers every day. So how do you differentiate yourself? How do those looking to become a problogger monetize their education and/or experience? Which, an educational background, or previous writing experience is more important for a career problogger?

These are questions that have been racking my brain lately, as I talk to many great people online and struggle with the holiday finances.

In earlier articles I tried to come to grips with paying bloggers, and how that works, and what kind of payment methods I like and which ones I don’t. I realized though that I have been living off blogging for over a year now, and while certain things are moving forward and changing, others aren’t. I have accomplished many of my main goals in blogging though, as I have written more than three thousand posts in the last year alone, met some great people, and been able to pay most of my bills. But what’s next?

I find that the experience I am gaining seems to be teaching me that getting into blogging now, might not be as easily sustainable as it used to be, and that the writing has to be done more and more for the enjoyment and secondary benefits of writing. Meeting people, being interviewed, speaking at conferences, helping pen a book, being part of a new media enterprise, or getting employment in a secondary career like programming or graphic design. Thus falling back on my original education rather than the experience I have gained.

Aaron Brazell, Technology Manager for b5media, said to me today that bloggers should be using their blogs more for secondary pursuits than paying bills directly off a blog. It is hard for me to argue with him when that is how he became the Technology Manager of b5media, but at the same time, would he say the same to the dozens of bloggers employed part-time or full time by b5media?

So I pose the question to you, the readers. Do you think blogging is really only useful as a stepping stone or promotion tool for secondary jobs, or do you believe that someone can really make a comfortable living off purely blogging for say five or ten years (if the industry stayed the way it is now)?

If this post seems a little all over the place, I hope it goes to prove that even someone with over a year of problogging experience does not know where the whole new media wave is going, nor the position he holds in it. The excitement of being on the cutting edge can be negated by the feeling of a lack of job security.

Categories: General

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Comments

  1. Richard says: 11/30/2006

    Woah, take a breath! You may consider breaking this into smaller posts or maybe just expand on your thesis with your opinion.

    …Stressed about the bills for the holiday season? Just make a budget and stick to it.

    Reply

  2. David ) says: 11/30/2006

    It honestly did not seem so long in the WordPress post screen…lol.

    Reply

  3. Shane says: 12/1/2006

    David,

    These are some great questions.

    I think blogging is more like acting, music or some similar craft. You can go to Juilliard and learn how to become a great actor, but it really comes down to having some natural talent, the right look and feel, good networking skills and some business savvy.

    Success in one thing can always be capitalized into further successes in other things – so from that standpoint, blogging can be a great stepping stone to other things.

    Reply

  4. TDH says: 12/1/2006

    It’s not too long, David. The MTV generation needs to be taught to do one thing more than 30 seconds…

    An interesting question, I’ve been thinking a bit on this myself. My professional blogging have made me some money, but although I get paid well enough for my freelance writings, and surely will make enough with my own blogs if the tendencies are to be believed, the real money comes from spin-off work. So yeah, I think a blog should be treated as more than just a place to put Adsense ads. There are other opportunities out there.

    Reply

  5. David ) says: 12/1/2006

    Great responses Shane and Thord. I really appreciate it.

    I didn’t get to the end of your comment TDH…it was too long…lol.

    Shane – I totally agree about the networking and business savvy. These are things I continually have to work at, as I am a reclusive tech geek, more satisfied to sit in a dark corner with only the glow of my LCD to keep me warm than go to conferences and events.

    I do agree with both of you that blogging can be a great stepping stone, it’s just I love what I do, and I don’t want to have to do another job that I don’t like or ever use blogging as a stepping stone to stop writing, communicating, etc…

    Great to see some people read the post all the way through and were able to make sense of it.

    Reply

  6. Aaron Brazell says: 12/4/2006

    I think my point was that my advice to new bloggers looking “make it big” is that there is more success in leveraging a blog for indirect influence. So I think hat was a misquote. :)

    Reply

  7. David ) says: 12/4/2006

    You don’t think your advice works well for “established” bloggers as well? I think it does, Darren Rowse started his six figure blogging course as well as helped found b5meda…and no doubt when he has time there will be a book out from him.

    I think even established bloggers are using their blogs for indirect influence.

    Reply