In 2005, I helped found BlueJersey.com, a progressive political blog covering New Jersey politics. Frankly, my family supported me but didn't really understand what I was doing or why I was blogging. They thought I was giving away my writing and ideas for free. I always explained how I believed it would demonstrate my knowledge, help legitimize me and ultimately be beneficial. With the rise of Twitter and Facebook, I began to help publicize my writing to larger audiences and still my family questioned. They didn't doubt me, but still couldn't see the method to my madness. Slowly, they began to see the light as I began speaking about social media, appearing in and on traditional media because of my work with new media, was hired for jobs because of my new media knowledge and then was named by the Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza as one of the best NJ political tweeters. I had been a paid political operative for years, however it was writing for free by blogging that truly raised my profile to the point where I became the communications director for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. Along the same lines of my story, Jeff Bullas looked at how blogging can make you credible and offered this assessment:
Blogging doesn’t make you an expert but just through the sheer committment, research involved and the passion required to write often and regularly, that the expert label perceived or real starts to shine through. It is said that to become an expert it takes 10,00o hours of practice to be at the top of your game, whether you be a musician or surgeon. Blogging gets you noticed and positions you as a thought leader and consequently as potential customers read your blog posts and observe your committment and passion they brand you as an expert. The next logical step is that they trust you and want to buy from you.
I only wish I could have explained it that well when my family questioned. Blogging got me noticed and because I earned people's trust, I was considered credible. Trust is essential to communicating because lack of trust leads to immediate questions of credibility and accuracy. I utilized my blogging to gain this trust and credibility, making contacts with traditional media to improve the work I was able to do. I never claimed to be a reporter, in fact constantly credited reporters and talked about how I wouldn't be able to blog well without them. But I did manage to make myself a credible source of information about news and politics in New Jersey by simply composing my thoughts in the form of blog posts and then distributing them on social media platforms. Anybody can do it, you just have to take the time and make the investment.