Earlier today I had a fellow co-worker ask me, "What do you want to do after graduation?" I thought for a second and remembered a lesson my dad had taught me saying, "If you're happy, that's all that matters." I've been asked what I want to do after college many times, and there isn't a day I don't think about my future. I keep running over the same ideas in my head: graduate, find wait-staff job for personal income, make sure the restaurant is close to home, simultaneously send out resumes to "real" employers, hopefully get an interview, a second, a job, then move out. But what happens after that? Will I like working a 9-5 shift doing mundane tasks. I've been a dishwasher before, and despite environmental differences, the concept is the same. So now I ask myself a question, "What makes me happy, and how can I make that my job?" I turn to the Blogosphere to help answer my question.
I am subscribed to a few literary magazines, and fellow professors that have online presences. I like to follow my past teachers because it allows me to see what they're studying, teaching, and creating. For example, a creative writing professor of mine regularly keeps his blog up to date, however he has not done so lately. Due to an injured ankle, and many other inconveniences, he just posted this past Thursday after a month break, in which case he wrote about where he has been, what he has been reading, and what he has been doing, all in his own creative voice. He is blunt, sharp, and rough; once he posted a list of the top 15 creative non-fiction blogs where his was on the list. But his blog isn't all about him. He has an extensive list of links that direct you to authors/books he reviews, literary magazines he reads, marathons he has ran, and a blog roll that includes everything creative writing. It seems like he is doing what he loves, while connecting with those that share similar interests.
Personal blogs help make a person's online presence authentic; after studying a class over the rhetorical art of blogging, an anthology titled "Ultimate Blogs" had a variety of what was considered a good, creative blog, and the list is still growing. As for myself, I recently created a blog with a friend so that we could share our writing and drawings, though he does most of the pencil work. Being introduced to blogging two years ago, I still wouldn't consider myself an active blogger, but now I've found a personal reason keep updating our site. I enjoy writing on a blogging platform because it gives me creative freedom to express myself, which is something I think everyone would like: a personal space where people can share their ideas while pursuing their hobbies and interests.
As we all know, blog posts can include video, text, links, and pictures much like Facebook and Twitter; however, on those social sites there are restrictions such as character count and customization of posts. According to this Emarketer article, "Blog writing, by contrast, is a more niche activity." The more people that find their niche, the more they might want to start a blog about it. From the "Ultimate Blogs" book alone, there are dozens of blog sub-groups like runner blogs, stay-at-home mom blogs, cooking blogs, even blogs about rubber bands. It's no wonder this medium is gaining some momentum compared to social media networks. Though the numbers are not significant, this Mashable article suggests that social media, as popular as it is, has "plateaued" due to a lack of creator content in the United States. It could only be a matter of time before this changes, but for now, I would like to use this as evidence that social media platforms limit creativity; Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Google, etc., should be used as tools to enhance communication by sharing information, not attempting to place boundaries that artificially shape our personalities.
I will end this post by citing an awesome article by John Capone from Mediapost publications. His article titled "The Future of Talent," explains what it's like for college graduates heading into the world of general business. Through his own research, Capone emphasized that graduates today are "picky" about their jobs. They want choice, as well as a paycheck, but most of the students found only the modest latter. Capone cites a college professor, "One of the smartest people I've ever taught decided to become a bartender, because she'd just had it with that kind of environment," focusing on a lack of interest within jobs today. This lack of interest is caused by corporate management ignoring their employees' wants, thus making some pretty p.o.'d workers. Instead, he thinks that businesses should be more like Bigspaceship, an organization that has a "reputation for giving its employees the freedom and resources to pursue personal projects." Now this proves nonnegotiable in many jobs, but why? Why can't our employers support our creative endeavors? I'm not asking a business to buy an employee mounds upon mounds of art supplies, I just think it would be reasonable to allow some agency for such activities.
The rest of the article goes on about how great ideas form from a few creative endeavors, but I won't write a whole summary. Social media platforms compliment blogs, and blogs compliment our online personalities. When my dad told me, "Do what you makes you happy," I never considered blogging to a place where I had such public freedom. Perhaps companies that would only allow more creative endeavors from their employees might find some new solutions that would have never escaped the minds of a person tied to an office chair, staring endlessly into the screen. I think allowing creative expression in the workplace, from anyplace, should be the future of how we do things.