Note: Part 1 of this two-part series can be found in Part 1: 10 Reasons Why Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear. That post describes what blogging means to me.
I finished reading Hugh MacLeod's latest book, Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear. It's his love letter to blogging describing how this influential medium changed the trajectory of his personal and professional life.
Highlighting a few key quotes:
"My blog gave me everything."
"My blog gave me my freedom."
I subscribe to Hugh's blog, gapingvoid.com, which is how I learned the book was released this past week. Here's his video describing why he wrote the book:
I Love This Book. I'm also going to order Hugh's previous books, Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity and Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination. That's how much I enjoy studying his work.
Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear is filled with Hugh's motivational, irreverent,and rebellious point-of-view. It's his call-to-arms "to create stuff" by using the Internet to transform and reinvent our personal and professional lives. Because of the Internet, laptops, and broadband access, he reminds us we live in a world where "cheap, easy global media is here to stay."
The Book's Governing Question. So, why not use this global phenomenon to our advantage? It's the book's governing question linking personal and professional reinvention to blogging:
"So in my typical way, I'll ask you, are you a beacon? If not, don't you think you should be."
So without further delay, here are the Three (3) Themes I enjoyed most from Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear.
1. "Crofting" Is the New World of Work
A Croft Is a Smallholding. It's our digital identity (direct quote):
"Thanks to the Internet, we all have a little electronic "croft" -- an electronic smallholding -- to call our own: what is commonly referred to as our own digital identity, which we can cultivate, like a small farm, however we see fit."
It's Why Blogging Matters (More Than Ever). It's why YOUR personal blog matters. It's why YOUR personal blog can drive and enable career reinvention. It's why maintaining a separate digital identity beyond your current job description extends your personal brand (take note if you work for a corporation).
It's individual opportunity.
2. Bring New Light to What Life Might Be
Our Individual Points-of-View ARE the New Light. And, that fundamental theme cuts through all the typical how-to advice on developing a credible blog (i.e., post length, number of internal links versus external links, starting with a question, ending with a question, etc.).
There's nothing wrong with being influenced and informed by:
- The succinct brilliance of a Seth Godin
- The journalistic integrity and heart of a Mitch Joel
- The real-time web sensibilities of a David Meerman Scott
- The soul and substance of an Ann Handley
But, trying to be a carbon copy or an imitator highlights how you're a pretender. Those folks acheived their blogosphere status by bringing (and continuing to bring) new light.
Our blogs can bring new light to what life might be by:
- Writing about what individually moves us (what makes us want to write at 5 AM)
- Recognizing there's room for all of us to cultivate and lead our own tribes
- Having the courage to initiate and participate in digital conversations (blogging, commenting, tweeting, sharing, etc.)
Blogging Is a Conscious Choice. You can't be a player unless in you're in the game. Hugh says it best on page 54:
"Not everybody believes this. Not everybody acts on this. That's fine; it's their life, their choice. However, if you DO have that capacity within yourself and you DON'T act upon it, then everything around turns to desert."
3. The Internet Eats the "Ignorance Premium" for Breakfast
If You Can Google It, You Can Find It. There's so much published online that we can use to our competitive advantage (both personally and professionally). Hugh describes this concept as the end of The Ignorance Premium (direct quotes from pages 66 and 67):
"The Internet makes it harder for us to know more than the other guy."
"The Internet erodes the "Ignorance Premium."
"Because knowledge is now so much easier to share with the Internet, you're in trouble if the only reason you can make a living is because somebeody is too lazy to easily find out what you know with just a quick click of a mouse."
Our Opportunity With Blogging Is Promoting Our Individual "Intelligence Premium." The Internet and blogging makes it easier than ever to self-publish "what you know." Google makes it easier than ever for someone to find you. That sounds like opportunity to me.
Why not turn this unique opportunity into a career advantage?
My Take on The Internet's Ignorance Premium: Make Your Blog Your Intelligence Premium. A personal blog demonstrates your individual, "Intelligence Premium" (e.g., what you bring to the table) by showcasing:
- Your knowledge about a particular subject or industry
- Your creativity in storytelling through multiple media (i.e., text, audio, images, video, etc.)
- Your personal narrative about what makes you different
- Your understanding of digital media's role in marketing, branding, and public relations strategy
Then, Why Don't More People Self-Publish a Blog? Here are four reasons:
- Because it's hard (creating is not easy -- at least, not for me)
- Because it's a long-term commitment
- Because building an audience and a credible reputation is a slow process (it's what Mitch Joel refers to as "in praise of slow")
- Because it requires putting yourself out there
It's Time To Find Our Freedom. Those (4) aforementioned reasons are why blogging is more important than ever. They're why blogging represents individual opportunity.
That's the freedom blogging brings. Whether we do it in our underwear (or while wearing something else).
It's a freedom Hugh summarizes better than I can:
"The Freedom to be who were born to be -- the artist within us all."