Start Your Own Blog
Things already weren't going well when a recent college graduate was confronted by his boss. She asked if a piece of paper looked familiar. It did. Ten minutes later, the employee was being escorted from the building.
What the company had just discovered was the employee's blog, his personal online journal. "Morale is low, the company's in deep s---, and most of my coworkers seem ready to bail," he'd written. Ill-advised, perhaps, but it got him a great new job. "It forced me to back up my words with actions," he says. "I'm definitely better off for it."
You might be, too. In their short life span blogs have been parlayed into book deals, huge salaries, and delightful public scandals. You should expect more modest results-an estimate that the average blog has one reader is "probably generous," says Derek Gordon, a vice president at Technorati-but the 12 million Americans who blog don't seem to care. After all, says Henry Copeland of Blogads.com, "everybody's got a mother and an ex-girlfriend." And blogging has value even in a vacuum, says Steven Streight, who blogs about blogging. "I felt this new boldness," he says, something that happens "when [you] turn your computer off and go back to the offline world."
Blogs can give even non-writers a boost. "Say you're in the running for a job at a hedge fund, and there are three candidates, and you happen to have been writing a blog with some interesting thoughts," says Debbie Weil, author of The Corporate Blogging Book. "You're going to get more seriously considered."
And if your Internet presence is less than interesting? Blogs can help you there, too. "There is no way that in the next couple years people aren't going to Google you before they hire you-or invite you to a party," says Weil. How to take control? Start a blog-and put your name on it.
This story appears in the December 25, 2006 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.