The companion to the Student Social Media Academy:

Lessons in Blogging

Today is day 42.  Exactly six weeks of blogging since I starting this leap blog journey.  Originally, this would have been my final post in this series.  17 days ago I wrote asking ‘how’s my leaping’  and declared I would push myself an extra eight days of daily blogging.  I would get to 50 days straight.
The act of writing, editing and posting daily online has taught me a great deal.  Three lessons continue to come up that I wanted to share with you.
1. Vulnerability
This is the biggest of the three.  Each post I release makes me little bit more vulnerable.  Critiques of content.  Releasing personal Information.  Publishing pieces of me.  The third week of writing I felt my fingers retracing from the keyboard, feeling the by product of fear and worry.
It was around this time that I began to get comments and likes on my posts, as well personal messages from friends and family.  This little boost taught me let it go.  Part of being a blogger is being vulnerable.  Coming across authentic goes much further online than controlled and prescribed.
I have come to accept that there were going to be weak posts, errors and judgement.  Letting it go allowed me to be back to my creative self.  Vulnerability is still a daily lesson, but by blogging I am learning to harness it for good.
2.  Accountability
Since  becoming a full time student, I am learning major lessons in self accountability.  I love the ability to set my own schedule, work when and where I want.  In school, if I do not submit an assignment on time means I lose significant points to my grade.  I know that having rewards and consequences aid in my accountability to stay on task.
In blogging on the other hand, I have no one to report to.  No grade measure of A, B or C.  If I was to miss a day completely, no one would hold me accountable for it.  Well maybe a jab from friends, who know about my goals.  Overall, my goal to blog daily has been completely on my shoulders.  One day I almost didn’t make it.
Lloyd and I had plans to hang out with some friends.  The hour came to leave for their house and my post was not yet complete.  I left the house in anguish and worry.  I knew it could possibly be a late night and the day would pass without a post.  Luckily we live in the same complex.  At 11:30pm I snuck away for a couple finishing touches, posting right before midnight.  Whew!
3.  Balance
My example above was a wake up call.  I could not let blogging pull me away from enjoying my life.  I needed to plan ahead.
Sure I have a healthy brainstormed list of ideas for future posts, but only ideas.  I would need to have a number of posts being crafted at the same time.  I can tell the posts that I have had more time to craft, I am personally proud of them and they also get read more.
The reasons I decided to keep writing to 50 were for a couple reasons.  First, my typical planner self was looking ahead and a number of significant days were coming that I wanted to highlight, two of which are

  • My dad turning 60
  • The 10 year anniversary of Lloyd and I meeting

Second, I am really enjoying doing it.  I knew taking on this project would be challenging.  The same reason why I do a marathons every five years.
Training actually has taught me the same three things above.  Running makes your body and mind vulnerable.  You have to hold yourself accountable put in miles.  Finally, balance is critical to keep your body healthy while still enjoying your life.
Whether this is your first post or have now read all 42, thank you so much stopping by!
Have a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day weekend!

About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

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