Posted October 26, 2007
A year ago in just my second blog post, I explained why I write a blog. My answer then (and now) is I keep a blog as an intellectual journal of sorts. Blogging is my way of pulling together into a coherent form all the stray thoughts rolling around in my mind. Writing helps me sift the good thoughts from all the bad and fit them all together in a logical pattern.
Keeping an intellectual journal is the main reason for writing my blog. My secondary reason is pure economics. Blogging is a loss-leader of sorts. Through this blog I market myself and my ideas to people who I hope to do business with eventually.
Along those lines I read a blog post today from The Economist website. The author was commenting on a recent podcast on the economics of blogging by Tyler Cowen (of Marginal Revolution fame).
While the direct economic return to authoring a blog may not appear to justify the effort, the prospect of actively demonstrating one’s skillset for an interested public, many members of which work in talent-hungry organisations that pay real salaries, is an attractive one. Why waste time submitting CVs, when you could cultivate an audience of potential employers intimately familiar with your talents?
Interestingly, this effect could generate a filtering effect on the blogosphere quite opposed to the market for lemon model proposed by Dani Rodrik. If blog writers generally have employment in mind, we should expect those with strong resumés but lackluster ideas to abstain from extensive blogging, while those whose critical and analytical skills run ahead of the experience and education categories on their CVs should embrace blogging as a means to signal their exceptional fitness. We would expect those with most to gain from blogging to blog more.
I’ve always found school boring and homework a less then optimal use of my time. So my grades reflect that. “Good students” use grades as a signaling mechanism. A student with good grades is telling potential employers, “I’m reasonably intelligent and can tolerate boredom” — which is what’s really required at school and most jobs.
As my grades aren’t going to impress anyone, I compensate by blogging. I use this blog to “show off”, so to speak, my critical and analytic skills, my ideas, and my passion for social software, learning, and collaboration to potential employers.
But for now this is all theory—whether this works or not is still a bit up in the air… but in the meantime it’s better then homework… and since I’m done writing, back now to accounting homework I guess :>
Kyle Mathews lives and works in Berkeley building useful things. You should follow him on Twitter