Yep, it’s true. This week TIME Magazine quotes me, tells tidbits of my life, and pretty much makes it sound like my job is blogging.
So next time someone asks me that all-important question, “What do you do?” I’m thinking of saying, “I’m a blogger.”
Right now, when someone asks me what I do, the conversation goes like this:
“I’m a career columnist.”
“Oh. Where is your column?”
“I write for the Boston Globe, and my syndicated column has appeared in about 100 publications.”
That’s it. No fireworks. Maybe a nod. And then I ask the person what he or she does.
But if someone asked me what I do and I said, “I'm a blogger,” we’d talk about it. They’d remember me. And maybe they’d check out my blog. To most people, being a blogger for a profession is like being an astronaut: Shockingly cool.
But I’m starting to think that no one really is a blogger. In my quest to understand the blogsphere, I have easily spent 100 hours combing though Technorati to understand the ranking system. (I have a spreadsheet full of stats on all career-related blogs like I am playing fantasy baseball or something.) I have a good understanding of who the top bloggers are, and let me tell you, they are not blogging for a living. They are using their blog as a tool.
For example, Guy Kawasaki’s blog is part of his venture capitalist brand: He is in the know and you need to know who he knows to be in the know. Curt Rosengren’s blog, is a platform to launch a book career, speaking career, one of those multi-pronged adventures in passion that he promotes through his writing. Seth Godin’s blog, fuels his book sales which fuel his consulting business.
Let’s look outside the work world, though. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, who writes DailyKos is not a blogger per se, he’s a political pundit, and maybe a political fundraiser, or political gate-breaker. But you can’t just be a blogger and get all that attention. Cory, at BoingBoing, quit his day job to blog. Maybe is the closest thing we have to blogger, only blogger. But really, he is a cultural critic. Maybe a community organizer. Or, you could argue, blogging gatekeeper, since it’s hard to hit blog paydirt without getting a link from someone like BoingBoing. (HintHint)
But I don’t care that blogging is an amorphous job. I want to call myself a blogger because I want to see what happens when I do that. The way you answer the question, What do you do? tells the world how you see yourself and what’s important to you. And the world responds differently, depending on what you project. Maybe I’ll think of myself or my career in a fresh light. At least I will get to talk to people about blogging, which is what is at the front of my mind right now.
But one thing is for sure: My syndicator will tell me this is not a good idea. He is adamant that my blog is an offshoot of my print columns and not the other way around. I am not so sure. But, as always, it comes down to this: I get paid for the columns, not for my blog. So I’d be hard-pressed to talk about my blog if the question were not “What do you do?” but, “How do you keep a roof over your head?”