Staying motivated to maintain an online presence

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Sometimes when I'm feeling unmotivated or overwhelmed, or that continuing to learn while raising young kids (and all the obligations attached to that) is more than I can balance, the universe tosses a bunch of motivational stuff in my lap. First, I saw this this morning:

Then I came across a motivating video from Troy Hunt, on hacking your career. I don't usually get into videos or podcasts, preferring to read instead, but I'm glad I listened to this one.

My take-aways:

  • Don't worry about a niche - just begin writing and see where it goes.
  • Bloggin will push you to learn more about a topic, if only to avoid criticism.
  • Criticism is inevitable. There's always someone smarter, but that's not a bad thing.
  • Jerks are inevitable too, but we control our reaction not others.
  • Some topics will challenge/offend people, but if you try too hard to avoid it, you'll come off as bland.
  • Sites like Stack Overflow (GitHub, YouTube, etc) become a living record of what you've been involved in.
  • Build tools that interest you, then make them available for others too.
  • If the worst happens (like a layoff), you may have other things to fall back on.
  • We all put a price on our family - for many of us, it's a few conferences and a 9-5 job. He's missed a few family events but makes up for it in other ways. The important thing is that he and his wife "have a shared vision".

Troy mentioned an older post of his in the video, on why creating online identities are a smart career move. Very informative too... highly suggest giving it a read.

[A reason for creating an online identity is] "to be able to illustrate that over time, you’ve been actively involved in the areas in which you profess to have expertise. It’s one thing to present a CV or a LinkedIn profile which says you’ve done everything from writing enterprise software to creating perpetual motion, it’s quite another to be able to reliably substantiate it."

It occurs to me now why I've tried to create somewhat of an online presence, and disabled the "endorsements" feature on LinkedIn a long time ago. It feels more authentic to me when someone I don't even know - who has no vested interest in my success or expects reciprocal treatment - reacts (hopefully positively!) to something I've created or written.


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

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