One year ago today, I took steps that would change my life. I started this blog. Its purpose was two-fold. First, I was encouraged by my friend, fellow grad student, and technical communicator, Shay Shaked, to write a tech comm blog. He insisted that I was a good writer and that I had some interesting insights to technology, tech comm, and m-learning, and that I should just start writing some of this stuff down. I thought he was a little crazy, but I had done blogging before, so it seemed like a natural thing to do. At the same time, I was taking a fantastic social media class for my last semester in NJIT’s MSPTC program with Dr. Andrew Klobucar, and one of our assignments was to start a blog that centered on creating community for a particular topic. Since I was already about to start writing a blog upon Shay’s encouragement about tech comm issues, Dr. K had no problem with me continuing on my own with this, as long as what my end product produced, along with building up my social network through Twitter and Facebook (and any other outlets) also showed that I was immersing myself into my community and participating in that community. So, a little tech comm blog, with the goal of just having a niche audience in tech comm, e-learning, and m-learning was born. I never expected many people to notice my blog, or at most, it would be very, very small.
Boy, was I wrong! TechCommGeekMom.com has changed my life! It has opened many doors that I would have never expected, and has become a bigger blog than I ever expected. Sure, it’s still a fairly small blog with a small niche following, but even so, it exploded from my perspective.
As of this writing, since the first words were published on this blog a year ago, TechCommGeekMom has received 8800 hits, with my best day having hit 112 hits. It has been read in 107 countries. 107! I have about 634 registered followers of the blog as well. All this was accomplished through 306 posts (this is number 307) and 996 tags of both original and curated content. I pulled in content that I thought was interesting, and even had the aforementioned Shay do a guest post, but otherwise I just wrote about what I was going on in my mind. Little did I know that others had similar thoughts, or enjoyed my writing. I made sure to promote my little blog through my TechCommGeekMom Twitter account, which I had started shortly before the blog, and on my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts as well. Getting exposure is all about marketing yourself, especially if you’re out of work, and looking to graduate soon and find a tech comm job, as I was at the time.
My efforts definitely started working. The number of Twitter followers I had went from a mere 20 followers to 100 within a few weeks. Now, I have about 600 followers. Again, as compared to the major players in tech comm, that’s not a lot, but to have gone from 20 to 600 in about a year–that’s a pretty big jump! I started seeing people retweeting the links I was posting to my blog posts, and that was exciting! I think one of the biggest thrills for me was when I saw my tweet promoting my blog post about the m-learning Whitepaper that I wrote re-tweeted by one of the leading m-leading experts out there, and he was even one of my references in the paper–WHOA! I was even thrilled that another one of my references in the Whitepaper was actually my editor, too. I mean, who gets that kind of help? I also have enjoyed talking one-on-one with many of these experts through social media, and glad that so many have become not only mentors, but friends as well.
My big “break” was, as regular readers know, due to Adobe. I had written the post about wanting to know more about tech comm software, and of all the software companies that I mentioned, Parth Mukherjee of Adobe’s TCS marketing group actually responded. I really never expected ANYONE to respond to it. It was just a frustrated, ranting post, and yet here was someone from a major software company contacting me. So thanks to Parth, to whom I’ll forever be grateful, he helped me gain greater exposure, offering me a chance to do a Thought Leadership webinar when I was still a graduate student (I delivered it a month after graduation–see the link on the right sidebar), and between him and his team, have provided me with many great writing opportunities. This relationship has grown, which is evident from the advertisement that you see in the top right corner from them. (Do click it!) Through Adobe, I had the chance to go to their pre-conference event at Lavacon this past October, and meet other movers and shakers in the tech comm industry who truly are the ones who are moving this profession forward. It’s very cool to say that I was yarn shopping with about half the presenters at the Adobe’s pre-Lavacon event, and I continue to keep in contact–or at least keep up–with most of the people I met there even now.
This also helped open doors through the STC. I started making connections locally and through those I had met both through Twitter, my blog, and meeting at the Adobe event. Long story, short, this created some notice within STC that my local chapter asked me to do some articles for their newsletter. Also, after attending a webinar by the STC, the moderator recognized my moniker, and asked if I would be interested in writing for them! You’ve been seeing the result of that collaboration most recently with my “First-Timer’s Summit” posts, which will be continuing for a little while.
I also received fantastic mentions by TechWhirl.com and Tech-Tav.com, who have also been great supporters, as well as the professors and fellow MSPTC’ers, for continuing to be a source of support. Couldn’t do it without y’all too.
I just completed my first professional presentation yesterday at the STC Mid-Atlantic Technical Conference in Philadelphia yesterday. I was nervous, but happy that my talk was well-received, and I got a chance to meet some of the people whom I had gotten to know on Twitter and other social media venues in person. I think the biggest thrill–or perhaps it was shock–that I got yesterday was that two people came up to me and asked, “Aren’t you TechCommGeekMom?” They weren’t people whom I had met before online, either. One of the attendees to my session even told me she attended because a co-worker saw that I was presenting, and told her that she should go see “TechCommGeekMom”. For me, that totally blew my mind. I’m still (happily) freaking out over it.
So, from what started out essentially as a student project for grad school has grown into something much, much bigger. I’m working full-time now, so it’s not as easy to keep up the pace of writing as regularly as I used to during the past year, but this is my special project, and I’m not about to stop. I have grown in so many ways since starting this blog, and when I look back on my life a year ago, so much has changed, and changed for the better. I finally did get a job, and part of it was that they liked not only what I had to say in my interview and liked my e-portfolio, but they liked what I had to say in my blog. There was an interview that I got (although I didn’t get the job) in which the hiring manager actually included me for the interviews because he said he was intrigued by what I had to say about mobile learning in my blog.
It appears that when one feels insignificant in the world, just another number in a huge statistic, she can still have a voice, and I found mine in the past year. I’m just incredibly grateful, more than words can actually describe, that people who have read this blog appreciate my voice.
I’m excited to see where the next year is going. TechCommGeekMom is not going away. I feel like I’m just getting started! I love meeting all the wonderful people that I have in the tech comm and e-learning/m-learning fields. I’m not going to stop writing about either topic, and I will continue to try to write and curate articles that I think are important or have any kind of impact on others, or just feel that it needs some sort of commentary. Ironically, second article that I wrote for this blog, written immediately after the first one, was a small rant about how iWork documents for iPad wouldn’t be saved in the iCloud. Ha, how things have changed. The presentation that I did yesterday was done on my iPad
(me, still promoting mobile!), and it has a backup in the iCloud. Oh yeah.
If you would like to help me celebrate, be sure to refer my blog to others, and feel free to look at past posts over the past year, and let me know if you’d like to see me write or comment on anything in particular! I am always open to suggestions, and it helps me bring together the TechCommGeekMom community that I hope I’ve created. Helping this blog grow would be the best present ever.