Is a personal blog worth it?

Cue on the HN discussion thread here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32137336 The OP asks if it has opened up a new job opportunity for you or is helpful to be productive. I’d say yes! Instead of replying there, I thought it was more instructive to have a blog post instead!

First off:

  1. YouTube videos shill out a lot of useless information, and it becomes almost impossible to sift out information. Long form podcasts have similar issues, unless the host is mindful of ensuring discussion stays on track.
  2. Podcasts on Spotify have similar issues-there is no way to annotate (unless you are using new-age applications), but they are hit or miss. I found them useless for my personal knowledge base.
  3. Blog forces you to constrain content. The primary focus was to highlight papers and generate summaries here, but I branched out in other “enterprise” areas, which have been useful to understand how healthcare is moving forward (and the impact of technology). It is an ongoing learning process.
  4. Have opportunities opened up? Yes and no. Yes, because it generated specific leads and I learned to follow them up. No, because it did not result in translation of job offers. Will I stop blogging? No! I won’t. Failures teach a lot.
  5. I initially attempted to “write for an audience”; there are numerous “blogs” to “teach” you tracking SEO generated content. It is a wasteful exercise, and I write for myself. If you find it useful, it’s great!
  6. I started writing on Ulysses when I had a Mac. The application is nifty, and WordPress did not have the Gutenberg interface. I have shifted to Windows (specifically a ThinkPad) and I have browser specific workflows now. (Specifically Vivaldi). Ulysses application is overrated and not worth the subscription.
  7. Technical blogs get a lot more traction than general purpose blogs (or vlogs).
  8. You won’t find any affiliate links. This is a self-supported blog. I dedicate my time to it to bring deeper understanding for myself. I don’t think recruiters read it. None of the places where I have interviewed expect me to have a blog either!
  9. Twitter is connected, but it is only for “amplification”. I don’t get the traffic to “become viral”.
  10. Writing forces me to think through; it is now reflected in my spoken words too. It is subconscious, and I speak what needs to be spoken by being relevant to the context.
  11. This blog serves as a “time-capsule” of events too. Dig around and you’d find a substantial change in my world view. I am less enamoured of data and statistics and favour policy ideas. As I have mentioned, blogging opens up vistas for long-form writing, and there is less friction because I have already understood the context of the write up by blogging beforehand.
  12. Blogging is completely different from journaling, i.e. writing your thoughts on personal matters. Writing here publicly is an exercise for PR (or networking, if you are lucky) and getting better insights.
  13. Whenever you start blogging, there are numerous recommendations-WordPress, Ghost or “static-site generators”. There are other interesting platforms like write.ai (I think) that offer Markdown support for technical writing. WordPress does the job for most use case scenarios. Just start writing! (Avoid Ghost as a blogging platform, though).
  14. Use IFTTT (or Zapier) to seed content on other platforms. WordPress offers native Twitter integration. Learn to automate. The blog helped me achieve that option.
  15. I had an initial blog focused on brain-tumours alone. I will focus on neurology subsequently, but don’t restrict your options from the word go. Broad base and then find your niche (or interest).
  16. Accept all viewpoints. Those reaching out to you on email are special, because they chose to read you and possibly rebut you. Treasure those. Trolling is different, which is unfiltered criticism. Ignore those.
  17. Blogrolls used to be a thing. It’s lost art.
  18. Don’t write for feedback.

Happy blogging!

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