Ceballos at Ease with Life After NBA

     So I got another call from Patricia Kitchen, the Newsday reporter who interviewed me a few weeks ago.  We left off last time talking a little bit about blogs and I had pointed her to my attempt at a Career Q&A blog, which I haven't quite yet put the full court press on.  Anyway, this time, she's going to write an article about how blogs can help you with your career, and again, I talked her ear off for a good long time.  As I talked about it, I think she was overwhelmed, and admittedly, I was to, about the scope of uses blogs could have in terms of helping you out with your career.  In fact, at one point, she said, "I know you have your other book that we talked about, but you almost have enough for a book right here."
     At first, I kind of blew that notion off...  "Haha.. yeah, right."   But, after I got on the phone, I thought about it.  Actually, there was a lot of useful stuff here, and it was cutting edge and ahead of the curve.  More interestingly, I was as qualified as anyone else to write something about it.  I've seen how blogs change the interviewing process and blogs have enabled me to develop industry connections.  Not only that, their ability to keep me informed on a realtime basis about what's on the minds of the thought leaders in my industry is invaluable.  I started thinking about blogs as a career learning tool when I passed some marketing and brand related blogs onto a recent college graduate looking to switch into the marketing field.  She found them really useful, and I realized after talking with Patricia that there aren't a lot of good resources available to introduce people into this blog world, and more specifically, how really explore its value as an extension of your offline network.
     In fact, I'd go as far as to say that blogs will fulfill the promises that all of these professionally themed social networking sites will ultimately fail on.  For example, I filled out a LinkedIn profile about two months ago.  I think I used it once and that's about it.  Its not because there aren't interesting people to connect to on it--in fact, there are lots of top tier people who have LinkedIn profiles.  Its just that the site and really the concept, is very static.  There just isn't enough to do on them.  There's nothing active going on.  I'm just going on there to actually try to connect with someone (i.e. pinging people with hat in hand, which I hate).  There isn't any of that non-networky networking that really builds relationships.  Like, for example, offline, when you speak at a conference, it begets a lot of great conversations, builds your reputation, and connects you to a lot of feedback.  You don't explicitly speak at conferences to network, but its a valuable underlying benefit that gets you connected to people with them necessarily feeling like you're using them.  Blogs have the same effect and that's where their real value is.  When you write an interesting post, people comment on it, link to it from their own posts, and it helps build your own reputation as an interesting thought leader.  The more people who connect to it and read it, the more they are likely to bring you into their circle of "People I Read" lists, which, to me, is just as valuable a network as anything you can create on LinkedIn or Friendster.  You might not get the scale, but the connections you make are stronger, and to be honest, it doesn't matter if you get the online scale.  You get scale by being connected to the offline networks of people you're linked into online.  You don't need to be connected to 100,000 Friendsters... all you need is five or six people who regularly link to your blog and pass your thoughts around to their on and offline colleagues.  Plus, unlike conferences, anyone with great insight can become a thought leader.  You don't necessarily need a fantastic resume to be thoughtful about a particular field that you follow and anyone can blog about what they're up to.  I think for any professional wanting to get ahead and make a name for themselves, no matter what industry they're in, a regular blog is a must.  Think about it.  If you were a middle manager at some no name company, and you've been blogging for the past year about the ways you would streamline your business if you got the chance or the initiatives you took with your little group, that could be very impressive self promotion if you got someone to look at your site and you put it on your resume.  Instead of having your self worth reduced to bullet points on a single sheet of stock paper, a potential employer could scan through months of your thoughtful accounts on management.  Plus, obviously, your writing would say something about your communication skills.
    Obviously, there are pitfalls.  You have to decide what things you can say for confidentiality reasons and what you can't, as well as where you draw the line in terms of putting up personal information, political views, etc...  but I think the benefits for career advancement are huge.
     Therefore, I've made the decision to put my current work on career advice for young college students aside and start writing a book about blogging to help your career.  Ms. Kitchen has unknowingly inspired me, and I really think this idea has a good shot of taking off, because, thanks to the election and Dan Rather, blogs have jumped into the public spotlight in a big way, and a lot of people are still scratching their heads over the practical uses for blogging. 

    The ironic thing is that when I named my blog "This is going to be big...", it never occured to me that what would be big was the blog itself.