Posts Tagged ‘brazen careerist’

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Social Networking Just Got Better

August 25, 2009

I have probably mentioned this before, but the first blog I ever read was Brazen Careerist. I would like to say that was inspired me to start a blog of my own and start spewing all my ideas into the internet, but it wasn’t really. I had been reading blogs for a while but was never an active participant, until the really nice guys at Brazen Careerist somehow found me and convinced me to join their network of bloggers and start talking to other people who were also crazy enough to post their ideas on the internet all the time.

The first few months of blogging were interesting because I had no idea what I was doing. My friends thought it was all hilarious and that blogging was crazy. They especially liked to drop casual uses of my made-up blog title, Politicoholic, in conversation at parties just to see how I would react. But I had seen the kind of success Ryan and Ryan had and I wanted to emulate that. Even though I was just a college kid. And when I want something there isn’t much, or anything, really, that can distract me from it. So I got involved, and was almost shocked by the results. It taught me how to approach my career and how to approach networking from almost a completely different way — but the way that careers should be managed.

I read Brazen Careerist almost everyday and sometimes am consumed by it: there’s so many fascinating people collected in one place who are all bursting with original, fresh ideas. People who are not afraid to speak their minds, put themselves out there, present and defend their ideas, and have a dialogue and learn from each other. And I would say that in today’s shaky job market, these are increasingly important traits that set people apart from the throngs of other job seekers with a college degree and a couple internships.

In a time when 80% of class of 2009 graduates don’t have job offers, and 80% of jobs today are found through networking, there are still tons of people approaching their job hunt in the old-school, Monster.com, resume-blast sort of way.  So  I think Brazen Careerist is filling a huge need by helping to revolutionize how 20somethings see their careers and how they manage them.

So I love that their new tagline, as they launch their new site today, is “Brazen Careerist: Where Ideas Are Your Resume.” And I’m excited to be part of a community that is doing something so cutting edge and innovative and has the potential to help so many young people. If you haven’t checked out their new site that launches today, I hope you will. Not just because it looks amazing (seriously, I think it looks better — and more useful — than LinkedIn) but because it holds so much potential for anyone looking to better manage their careers.

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Just in case you hadn’t heard enough about SXSW: some final thoughts

March 19, 2009

I feel like I’m a little late in the game to be doing the obligatory post-SX-wrapup blog post, but I’m going to do it anyways. And hopefully I can share some insight for those of you who might go to SXSW 2010. Especially the really young people, since I was easily one of the youngest there.

To answer the obvious first question: yes, it really was amazing. A lot of people will tell you: it’s about the people and connections, not about panels. This is generally true. However, panels are great too. And some of the best connections I made at SXSW were by going to panels and staying behind after they were over to talk to the panelists and get to know them more.

Was it weird hanging out with people you only knew online before: not at all, though I’m sure my friends are waiting with their “cyberfriends” cracks. But I think they’re missing out on a huge opportunity by NOT networking online. And finally getting to meet some of these people I’d been working with online for so long was really awesome. Sydney is so much fun. Elysa really loves her iPhone a lot :) Ryan Paugh is just as really, really sweet as Penelope describes him, and we have a shared affinity for taking shots. Holly and Margie are tiny but make up for it with a whole lot of energy. Oh, and Penelope really is a tornado. In a good way though! I think. She also gave me dating advice: “Nisha, there’s a ton of single tech entrepreneurs with no social skills at this party and hardly any girls. Come on! You’re not leveraging your girlness enough!” Thanks, P.

I could go on forever about all the things I liked about SXSW, and the fantastic people I met and the great opportunities I got out of it (I’m attending 2 conferences I’m really excited about in the next two months because of people I met at SX!) but I can’t possibly get into all of it.

One thing I will say is that I went to SXSW because of Brazen Careerist. Those of you who have been around this blog since the beginning –which, okay, is not really that long ago — will know I wrote this crazy post on how blogging impacted my life in December for the Brazen blog contest, and by some miracle I actually won, and got to attend SXSW Interactive as a result. To be honest, I had no idea what SXSW even WAS before that contest but I entered because Ryan Paugh would not stop talking about this contest for two weeks straight so I figured, why not. I really just was hoping my post would be good enough to get on the front page of Brazen, since I didn’t know much about SXSW.

I wrote that post three months ago and my theme was about empowerment, and how blogging empowered me to quit being a “lurker” – both online and in my personal life. It was about how I started becoming an active participant in running my own life instead of letting my decisions be dictated by others. And it was all about how empowering and exciting that was to me.

Three months later I’m home from SXSW and I can’t believe what an amazing experience this conference was — and most importantly, it was empowering. It was so exciting to spend five days in the company of some of the most brilliant, creative, innovative minds in the field of new media and technology. Like Sydney said: this conference is for the innovators and early adopters — and it was amazing to be around like-minded people who shared the same interests I did. I know I’m not the only one who can honestly say I’m having SXSW withdrawal.

Because of SXSW and some of the people I’ve met there, I’ve found even more cool new opportunities in the next few months that I’m really excited about and I feel really empowered by all of it. I feel like SXSW was just the beginning of what is going to be a really exciting ride. But that definitely would never have happened if I hadn’t put myself out there, started a blog, joined Brazen, written that post at 4 am, and entered that contest that I didn’t even think I should have been entering in the first place.

So to sum up, I think the lesson I’ve learned from this whole experience is: don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Sometimes it sucks, I know. But you never know what kind of awesome opportunities could come out of it. So take a risk and do whatever it is you’re worried about…. you might be really pleasantly surprised.

(And next time Brazen has a contest: you better enter!)

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Forget careers. Blogging changes lives

December 12, 2008

I used to be a lurker.

You know who they are: those surfers of the web who revel in dark, unknown corners. Who consume but don’t reciprocate. Whose existence is known to none but themselves, whose presence we are never aware of as anything more than a number on our blog stats that might pique our curiosity. They lurk and disappear back into cyberspace, and no one ever has to know; no trace of them is left behind.

I knew the ups and downs of Penelope’s divorce, Ryan’s workaholism; but until recently I had never so much as left a single comment on any of their blogs. Your first reaction might be: creep! But something like 90% of blog readers are equally creepy lurkers. Chances are, you are lurking right now and will read, digest, and move along without ever saying a thing to me (including you, email subscribers – I know who you are!). You’ll never voice your opinion. So before you call me a creep, don’t forget what you’re doing right now: creeping.

Daring to commit your opinions and your intellectual thoughts down in words, permanently etched into pixels in cyberspace, is unnerving. It takes balls that most people don’t have, and that is why the vast majority of users of the Web are what we so affectionately refer to as lurkers. They’re afraid to voice their opinion and let anyone who Googles them find them; afraid that someone will disagree and criticize them.

I was one of those, and I was hiding. And for a long time that was a theme in my life: hiding. I have about 4 drafts of blog posts I have written over the years, saved in my archives, about how I hide different parts of my life from everyone. But, in my typical fashion, I never posted one of them. Because it takes courage to even blog in the first place. It makes you an outlier, it makes you different, and that opens you up to a whole new level of scrutiny.

Blogging is at once intensely personal, yet unnervingly public. And it connects people in the most individual, human, personal way. Of my college-age friends, I have very few who have blogs. And when one of them first started her blog, she proceeded to get mocked and made fun of behind her back, constantly. Her blog is a joke to the rest of them, constantly bantered about; every new post is gossip fodder, eagerly devoured. Spending so much time around people like that had left me paralyzed, afraid to just be who I am; and prancing around in that living charade was exceptionally tiring. Why did I care about these people again? It was illogical and irrational.

The difference between me pre-blog and me post-blog is simple: I went from an invisible, hiding lurker to a real person, and an outlier. Seems simple, but that transformation is empowering in a way you’d never expect. I went from letting others define me to defining myself. Instead of always having to hide what I do from people, I can just…be. I have something to say that is worth saying, and I actively contribute to the conversation.

It’s no longer a simple matter of writing a blog and hoping someone reads: it overflows into every other area of my life. Now, I want to have more conversations and put out my opinion on everything. I want to seek out new people and new perspectives and constantly learn from everyone around me. I want to explore new ideas, challenge them, and be challenged. I want to do something worth doing, instead of just what everyone else is doing. And sadly, though perhaps not surprisingly, most people aren’t willing to do that. But blogger are.

The mockers matter less and less, because, really, I’d rather drop them from my life now. When one of my favorite writers, who is far, far more successful than me, emailed me out of the blue and told me she loved a piece I wrote, the game changed a little. When my work started to get noticed by some others, the game changed a little. I no longer care to be just one of millions of college kids that are exactly the same. Who wants to blend in?

I realized I am different from them, but instead of continuing to try to hide it I started to reluctantly embrace it. I constantly strive to be an outlier, to be above and beyond, to put myself out there and be someone who challenges the status quo — and not someone who maintains it. I no longer want to be part of the norm. As one blogger said, that’s fifth place, when I know I want first. But if your presence is never known, how will you make an impact? How will you leave your mark? The simple act of voicing your opinion and expressing yourself means you are challenging the status quo, however insignificant you feel. But if you aren’t visible, to the world you don’t exist. If you’re just lurking and not participating, you’re outdated, obsolete, last year’s season. That’s not even fifth place; that’s invisibility.

Now, I’m no longer letting things happen to me. I don’t let others tell me what to do. I don’t believe in destiny; I just go out and make things happen. And I tend to brazenly defy everyone who doesn’t believe me. I realized that the way I defined myself and my life had to change. And in doing so, I won the inner battle that has been raging inside of me for twenty years. I killed the inner critic, the voice that stops so many people from doing great things. I stopped living for what other people think, and started living solely to create an impact and a difference.

And blogging, and everything and everyone that came with it, are what forced that change.

So when I sat down to write a post about how blogging has changed my life, many things came to mind. I wanted to write something as flawless as Andrew Sullivan’s brilliant essay, “Why I Blog.” But I am not Andrew Sullivan, so I can’t. Instead I thought of all the things I had learned, the advice I had gained, the opportunities I’ve received, the people I had interviewed and the late night discussions I’ve had when I could have been studying. And those have all been amazing things. But to this day, nothing compares to the surprising rush of empowerment that comes in that moment when you hold your breath and hit the ‘Publish’ button. It’s your blog, and no one can fuck with you there.

It’s something those legions of lurkers will never understand.

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(Hat tip to BC – what a challenge. This is probably the hardest thing I have ever written!)

And an update: this post just won me a free ticket to SXSW Interactive in March!

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