As I prepared to launch my blog, several editorial colleagues in different contexts raised questions about the utility of blogging and social media. The objections settled around two points:
- The volume of online content has gotten so high already that another drop in the bucket has little chance of getting noticed.
- The potential benefits of a blog or social media presence do not justify the time and energy spent researching, writing, revising, and publishing work in this way.
I understand these arguments, but I think they rest on the premise that freelancers develop blogs and social media presences primarily for the sake of marketing. Some parts of the field might find that approach more useful than others, but judging from the most widely read content mills people flock to stories that mean something to them. Moreover, that type of marketing begins to feel disingenuous pretty quickly, if only because it repeats the same tired refrain constantly. If my site is any good, it has all the directed marketing on it necessary to get you to hire me to work on a project. So why blog?
For one thing, people often ask me where I publish the things I write, and most of the things I’ve written in a professional capacity don’t lend themselves as easy examples. Some of it is bound up in confidentiality agreements or gets sold as part of a broader product, but beyond that most of it would probably just bore you to tears. From a professional standpoint, I need easily available writing samples. On a more personal, creative level, though, I use writing to think about things. I can keep a journal, but that type of writing inevitably looks inward. Writing for an audience forces me to sharpen my focus and gives me an opportunity to articulate things that others might find interesting.
So this is a space for me to publish essays on a variety of topics. I will likely discuss matters that relate to writing and editing, but not exclusively. I work constantly on the efficiency and sustainability of my work, so I will certainly discuss that. Thoughts and associations don’t run in a straight line, and I expect that even with an initial compass heading toward these things we’ll end up wandering in fairly short order. I hope it’s as entertaining a journey for you as I expect it to be for me.