This blog is written in response to a student’s question on what the pros and cons of blogging are for students, especially non-traditional students.
There are countless pros and cons of starting a blog in an atmosphere where social media is constantly changing and competition for attention is heavy. Nonetheless, blogging and participating in social media has definite benefits such as building a personal network and brand, producing content, and showing your personal expertise on something – anything for that matter, spanning from craft-making or cooking to professional topics such as public relations, graphic design or new technology. Linking your blog to your existing social media platforms makes marketing your blog easier than ever. Last, blogging is an opportunity to improve and showcase your writing abilities.
However, blogging can have its downfalls. Posting anything online can be a risk. Whatever you decide to post is out there for the world to see, comment on, agree with or disagree with. Keeping up with a blog can be a challenge as well. Blogging can take a significant amount of time per week, depending on what you decide to write about.
Bill Sledzik, Associate Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and blogger since 2006, describes this conflict:
“Blogging is a great way to build an online presence and a network, but you absolutely must produce killer content at least twice a week and do it for a long period of time. Since it’s such a huge commitment of time, you need a strategy to guide you – not to mention some expertise your topic and some solid writing skills.”
This is not to say testing the waters is a bad idea. Part of the beauty of blogging is that anyone can do it, on any topic, with any goal in mind. A way to start is to read other people’s blogs. If you want people to take the time to notice your blog, notice theirs. One of the greatest selling points of online social media is interaction with others and with information. I learn something new every day by just participating, just by reading and asking questions.
Each person or business will find different benefits of blogging, on personal or professional levels. WordPress.com, a popular blogging website, has over 360,000 bloggers registered and posting constantly on topics ranging from zombies to childhood obesity.
As a student myself, I would weigh my decision of whether or not to blog heavily on whether I have enough time to commit to blogging and what would be the best and most interesting topic for me to write about. And, under reasonable circumstances, what harm could it do to try?