Can the Average Person Get Rich Blogging?

November 28, 2007

Yes and no (there is never a simple answer).

Now that I am back from lounging on the beach, I thought it was time to get back to blogging, and what better way to start than with a debate over whether or not people can really make money blogging. On Read/WriteWeb today, Alex suggests that . Well, yes and no.

I really liked Anne Zelenka’s response on Web Worker Daily. Her take is that

you can earn money because of your blog instead of with it. Blogging can be the centerpiece of your professional promotional and networking activities, leading indirectly to new money-making opportunities. Plus, blogging offers psychological riches — through the opportunities for personal expression and social connection it brings you.

The best reason for an individual web worker to blog isn’t to make money directly with the blog. It’s to boost your online persona, to make professional connections, to learn about your field, and to attract new opportunities, whether paid or unpaid. And note that unpaid opportunities are not necessarily less important than paid ones — because they can provide you with attention, reputation, education, and new connections.

(Quote from Anne Zelenka: Web Worker Daily)

I absolutely agree. I don’t make any money directly off of my blog (no ads here), but it has made a huge difference in my career. My career was in a bit of a lull until I started blogging a few years ago. At the time, I worked at Intel and did my job really well. I received great internal recognition, but almost no one outside of Intel knew who I was.

When I started blogging and actively commenting on other blogs, people started recognizing me. I went to conferences and people would approach me! I started getting emails from people who read my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in being on panels for conferences. While I do not make money off of Fast Wonder directly, I do think that I have made more money indirectly through blogging. Through blogging and getting involved in a bunch of unpaid tech community activities (organizing BarCamp, Ignite, etc.), my career has improved in so many indirect ways (financial and job satisfaction).

Related Fast Wonder Posts:

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Everyone’s a Peer. Live with it.

November 18, 2007

I stole the title of this post from the last two sentences in But Miss, they’re not listening to me, a blog post by JP Rangaswami on Confused of Calcutta.

In his post, JP describes a world where hierarchical command and control structures are being displaced by more democratized networked environments. The days of expert speakers who talk at us while we take notes and passively absorb the information with little or no opportunity for discussion are gradually disappearing.

This post resonated with me and helps to describe my recent thinking about conferences and speaking engagements. I’m finding that I rarely enjoy giving formal presentations where I yammer on and on with a slide deck while people listen to me talk. In these presentations, I don’t get much real time feedback from the audience other than the occasional non-verbal cue (nodding in agreement vs. nodding off, for example), and I learn little or nothing during these presentations.

In contrast, my favorite speaking environment usually happens at unconferences (BarCamp, etc.) where I can lead a lively discussion about a topic of interest by kicking it off with 5-10 minutes of my ideas on the topic and moving quickly to a facilitation role where many people contribute to the discussion. Since each person comes into the discussion with different experiences and diverse views, I learn as much or more from the other people participating as they learn from me.

Panels fall somewhere in the middle depending on the structure. I despise panels where the moderator asks too many questions or where each panel member essentially gives a mini-presentation with little time for audience questions. On the other hand, my favorite panels are similar to my unconference speaking style with a couple of minutes of discussion at the beginning, but opening it up to audience questions no later than in the first 10-15 minutes of the panel. The audience questions help target the discussion to topics that are interesting to the audience, but even more important is what you can learn from the questions being asked. Questions give so much insight into what people are thinking about the topic and what is important to the audience. My Social Networking panel at Defrag was a good example of one that moved into audience questions early, and I think it benefited greatly by the participation.

JP says in his post:

It’s a new world out there. We can’t go around saying “But Miss, they’re not listening to me”. We have to earn the respect of our peers. But remember, in a networked society, everyone is a peer. Your professors. Your children. Your subordinates. Your bosses.

Everyone’s a peer.

Live with it.

(Quote from Confused of Calcutta)

We each come into a discussion with unique and diverse ideas, and we learn by listening and sharing ideas with our peers aka everyone.


Related Fast Wonder Posts:


BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup

November 13, 2007

Want to hang out with other Portland techies? Join us at the BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup. We have ~26 people signed up already, so it should be a fun opportunity to talk tech and network with other local technology enthusiasts!

Thursday, November 15, 2007
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
At Jive Software

The Portland meetups are intended to be a little less intense and more frequent than a full BarCamp Portland event. The intent is to get a group of cool people interested in technology together to chat over drinks on the fourth Thursday of every month. Anyone working in high-tech is welcome to attend. Conversations usually range from wikis to open source to blogs to who knows what!

Note: We have moved the signups for this event from the wiki to upcoming. Please RSVP on Upcoming to help us get a count for the event.

You can visit http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups for more information.

Also, Please add yourself to the Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/barcampportland so that we can let you know if there are any last minute changes (we will send a note to the Google Group to announce any changes).


BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup

September 12, 2007

Want to hang out with other Portland techies? Join us at the BarCamp Portland Informal Tech Meetup.

Thursday, September 27, 2007
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
At Jive Software

The Portland meetups are intended to be a little less intense and more frequent than a full BarCamp Portland event. The intent is to get a group of cool people interested in technology together to chat over drinks on the fourth Thursday of every month. Anyone working in high-tech is welcome to attend. Conversations usually range from wikis to open source to blogs to who knows what!

Note: We have moved the signups for this event from the wiki to upcoming. Please RSVP on Upcoming to help us get a count for the event.

You can visit http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups for more information.

Also, Please add yourself to the Google Group http://groups.google.com/group/barcampportland so that we can let you know if there are any last minute changes (we will send a note to the Google Group along with posting an update here).


PDX BarCamp Tech Meetup Aug. 23

August 11, 2007

I wanted to remind everyone that our next informal Portland BarCamp Meetup is next week on Thursday, August 23rd. We had a fantastic time at BarCamp and are interested in continuing to network with other local techies. These events are held on the fourth Thursday of every month. The meetings are not highly structured, and you can arrive whenever it is most convenient if you can’t make it at 5:30.

When: Thursday, August 23rd
Time: 5:30pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Jive Software Office (317 SW Alder St Ste 500)
Sponsored by: Jive Software

Jive Software is located on Alder near 3rd. Parking is available in a nearby parking garage, and it is short walk from the Max / bus lines.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP on the Portland BarCamp Meetup wiki.

The meetup will be very informal and similar in format to previous meetups. We’ll network, do a few introductions, and talk technology for a few minutes about organizing the next BarCamp / DemoCamp, and then see where the discussion goes. This is primarily a networking activity, not a planning meeting.

Please feel free to invite a few others to join us (just make sure they RSVP)! Please encourage them to join our Google Group to receive email announcements about any last minute changes, future meetups, and other PortlandBarCamp communications.
The next meetup will be on Thursday, September 27th.


Portland BarCamp Technology Meetup on June 28th

June 19, 2007

I wanted to remind everyone that our next informal Portland BarCamp Meetup is next week on Thursday, June 28th. We had a fantastic time at BarCamp and are interested in continuing to network with other local techies. These events are held on the fourth Thursday of every month through October (July is canceled due to OSCON and November / December are TBD due to holidays). The meetings are not highly structured, and you can arrive whenever it is most convenient if you can’t make it at 5:30.

When: Thursday, June 28th
Time: 5:30pm – 8:00 pm
Where: Jive Software Office (317 SW Alder St Ste 500)
Sponsored by: Jive Software

Jive Software is located on Alder near 3rd (directions). Parking is available in a nearby parking garage, and it is short walk from the Max / bus lines.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP on the Portland BarCamp Meetup wiki: http://barcamp.org/BarCampPortlandMeetups

The meetup will be very informal and similar in format to previous meetups. We’ll network, do a few introductions, talk for a few minutes about organizing the next BarCamp / DemoCamp, and then see where the discussion goes.

Please feel free to invite a few others to join us (just make sure they RSVP)! Please encourage them to join our Google Group to receive email announcements about any last minute changes, future meetups, and other PortlandBarCamp communications.

The next meetup will be on Thursday, August 23rd.


Putting Collaboration to Work Conference

May 25, 2007

For those of you who attended our recent BarCamp Portland and are eager to attend another open space event, you might be interested in Putting Collaboration to Work on June 8th. It is a mix of traditional conference and unconference with a traditional, scheduled conference session format in the morning, while the afternoon is an open spaces agenda (similar to BarCamp Portland and Recent Changes Camp).

A few details:

I don’t think that I will attend this one. With BarCamp Portland, OSBC, and other events in the past month, I am a bit “conferenced out” right now.