As we are nearing the end of the semester, I wanted to share some of my takeaways and lessons learned from this blogging exercise. As I have mentioned in many, if not all (sorry), blog posts this process was at times very difficult for me! I never would have taken the time to create a blog without this class, and I honestly never would have thought that I would have much to say. Below are the highlights of my lessons learned:
- The writing process
- My writing experience outside of this semester is purely academic. Long research papers, reports, essays are what I am used to. Each of these endeavors required much planning from my perspective. I am known to make outlines that are longer than the required page count, so when I am ready to write the final I sit down and write nonstop from beginning to end. I did not have the time or energy to outline each of these posts, and frankly it is not necessary for blog writing. I would spend a fair amount of time reflecting on subjects that I thought interesting enough to blog about, but there was no formal prewriting process. As describing in an earlier post, this was at first a little stressful for me – changing the way I am used to working. But it is important to try something new, important to break out of your comfort zone every once and a while, whether personally or professionally.
- Expand thoughts in a narrative form
- So much of my life is completely immersed in museums and the arts sector. Most of the media I consume on a regular basis is about the museum world. I go to school for it, I have an internship on the Mall. I go to museums for fun. Sometimes I take a step back and wonder how can I spend the majority of my waking hours thinking about literally one subject – but that subject can be saved for another post. The fact is, because of this hyper-immersion in the world, I truly do stay very up to date and aware of happenings. I always think about developments in the field, I will share an interesting article on Facebook everyone once and a while. This blog has created an outlet for me to development these thoughts in a more narrative form. The way that I went about finding outside sources was not different from how I would usually consume this media. Now, I have an outlet to actually develop these thoughts in a more narrative form, which I actually like more than I thought I would.
- This is a lesson I learned more so from Twitter, but having an online community of like-minded people is really great. Of course, I have participated in different communities of people online before. I love the health and wellness community, as well as the yoga community, on Instagram. All of these social platforms are known as networks because they bring people together, they are two-way communication channels. I guess, I have never actually participated in one where the two-way was actually reciprocated. I would die if Chrissy Tiegen responded to one of my tweets – will she ever? Likely not. Throughout the course of the semester I have received responses from the National Museum of American History, The Getty, The Ackland Art Museum, The American Alliance of Museums, as well as great comments on this post from museum professionals on the other side of the world! While I prefer to observe the conversations that happen in the #musesocial space, the fact the community is so open and willing to engage is amazing.
- While the community is open and accepting, that does not take away from the fact that I felt very vulnerable when interacting with people in the professional sector that I aspire to be part of. I still put a lot of thought into all 140 characters that I tweet, and the above-mentioned comments from the other side of the world made me nervous!! Writing anything is pretty personal, and to know that anyone could read it is one thing, but to have people that you admire respond to it is another! Luckily, the number of people that actually read this blog is slim to none (hi Suse), so the stakes are pretty low. But I imagine if I continue blogging more this vulnerability will lessen?
- Marketable and impressive skill
- Finally, I have discovered that merely saying “I made a WordPress website and write a weekly blog” is VERY impressive to a lot of people. I suppose I understand why, especially to someone who might not have any clue how to do this (me – 6 months ago), but lets be clear I am not marketing this as greatness. I am not saying that one time I sent an interviewer the link to my blog (upon request), and I subsequently was not offered the job. I am not saying that these events are related. BUT, I guess I under estimated how valuable and marketable this skill is to have. I have always regretted not taking programming classes in college (if you’re reading this – sorry dad), but this is a small step to greater online literacy!
Thank you for staying with me, my loyal 3 to 4 readers per week! Hopefully this blog will live on and only improve!