It’s not fame or fortune.
I’m sure you’ve come across articles that remind us why we should blog. Usually written by bloggers, of course.
Things like, “it clarifies your thinking,” “teaches you discipline,” “gives you a platform that you could turn into a business,” etc etc.
Not to slag them off too much, but I find most “why blog?” reasons to be either quite weak (running a marathon would do a much better job of teaching discipline), or on the opposite end fail to mention the MASSIVE workload that they would require (such as “start a business with it”).
There’s just one reason that has persuaded me to finally stop worrying about “defining a niche” or “building a following” or any of that pro-blogger echo-chamber waffle, and to start a personal blog that is free from concerns of monetisation, visits per month, or list-building.
Despite this, it will keep the blog extremely purposeful, and it makes a case for why the whole world should be blogging.
The reason is this…
You can use a blog to get qualified for free!
Qualifications are proof that you have a certain level of intelligence, knowledge in specific topics, and all those hard-to-pin-down qualities that make someone competent.
Qualifications are proof of what you can do.
You know where I’m going with this.
The first I ever heard of Scott Young, a blogger who teaches metalearning (how to learn well/quickly/easily), was through a TED Talk he gave on his experiences doing the a 4 year MIT computer science course in one year using the online materials they put up for free. He passed his challenge, and the course, and the only thing he didn’t get as a result was a piece of paper with an official stamp, proving his accomplishment.
Listen to the talk below. It’s fascinating…
Crippling debt is the hangover of a university degree.
With so many schools following MIT’s lead and putting their lectures online, and many more ways to learn for free or cheap, getting an education is further democratising itself every year.
But getting an official stamp – that’s still only available to those willing to shoulder multi-thousands of debt for a good chunk of their lives, (and I am one of those happy souls).
Is it really worth it?
In some industries, it’s still essential. If you don’t tick the box of “have a degree”, you’ll never be considered for surgical residency, and so it should be.
If you want to climb almost any other ladders, however, what more proof do you need than a series of video blog posts detailing the various stages of the education you’re giving yourself?
What’s harder to fake?
A degree would be tough to fabricate, I grant you, and if you lack one you can stay clear of the degree-obsessed industries unless you’re blessed with a photographic memory and a prospective boss who loves to break the rules.
Faking a blog, however, where you document your entire process and final end result, supplemented with photo and video proof, is impossible.
No, it doesn’t count as an ‘official’ qualification, but any employer with an ounce of sense would look at proof that’s impossible to fake, even though it’s unofficial, and see value that’s impossible to deny.
The future of resumes, education, and proving what you’ve done.
There are plenty of people out there talking about the disruptive influence the internet is having on education and the job landscape without my help, but I haven’t seen anyone explicitly advising the use of a blog as a way to prove the achievements of your life, and make paying for an education entirely optional.
Maybe that’s because it’s terrible advice… I don’t know, I can’t say, I haven’t lived that way so far.
I have a big degree-debt on my shoulders, and I enjoyed the experience of full-time uni immensely…… but how much better off would I have been if I had taken up some extra courses online, blogged about them, and left school with all of that as a sort of intellectual property, an additional asset that prospective employers or business partners could browse through with great curiosity as they considered me?
How much better off would you be?
I don’t know about you, but at no extra cost other than a bit more effort on my part, I’m going to give this a go – to blog for a purpose close to the original one – as a “weblog” of what I’ve done.