What My Communities Taught Me About Blogging


I gave a talk at the University of Washington a couple of weeks ago on the importance of community in our lives. The event was a celebration for women faculty and students nominated by their peers, friends and family. I was honored to be the keynote speaker for the night, and when I was asked, I knew I wanted to resonate not just with the women who were being celebrated, but the communities who supported and nominated them.

The word ‘community' has come to mean a lot of things to us nowadays, and to me it represents all of the important groups of people who have shaped my life. As I put the bones and meat of this talk together, it got me thinking about how my communities have helped, supported and guided me in the crazy world of blogging. It might take a village to raise a child, but it can take a few to bring up a good blogger!

These are the three communities I'm most proud to be a part of, and what they've taught me:

My family

Growing up in my childhood meant spending most of my time with my big ol' Filipino family. I saw them all the time (and still do!) Being the eldest of five, I learned a lot about leadership. While I heard the word ‘bossy' a lot growing up, I thrived being the leader of my sibling pack, and over time became more and more aware that my actions impacted their opinions of how to act. I look at my blog the same way I look at trying to be a role model for my brothers and sister. Always being aware that your words and actions have an affect on how others (readers, brands) think and act can really make you think twice about what you're putting out there. So whether it's a blog post or my next tweet, I try to keep this in mind!

My family also taught me a lot about loyalty, something that's also very important to me. When I'm choosing which brands to work with or pitch, I choose ones whose product I'd actually buy and support anyway. The promise of money, promotion or free product is tempting, but the brands I've worked best with are the ones I'm loyal to as a consumer.

My city

I'm a Seattle native and had the great honor of working for the city's chamber of commerce, producing events for businesses in the region. My love for my city and insatiable thirst for knowledge is the reason my blog exists! Doing events and interacting with so many different kinds of business people really helped me come out of my shell as a public speaker, and in being comfortable at networking events. I learned that I really draw my energy from helping others however I can. That's the driving mentality behind my blog – sharing resources, events, information and things I think are cool, fun, and stylish.

My web

Social media has been a big part of my professional life, as a blogger and now as a consultant. I've been active on Twitter since 2009, and am constantly fascinated with how social media has changed the way we communicate with each other, and with brands (for better or for worse!) I'm grateful to my Twitter and online community for all of the opportunities it's brought my way. Social media has helped me understand how to stand out from the crowd, especially in the overpopulated world of blogging. It's very easy to keep writing the same kinds of posts, follow trends, or talk about things everyone else is talking about. Is it important to me, and why? That's a guiding question I ask myself all the time. I like to keep things fresh and relevant, but always with conveying to my reader why it's important to me. Sometimes that means not getting as many page views or likes, but it's always in line with being authentic in sharing the things that mean something to me.

Who are your communities? Take the time to think about how they've impacted your life as a blogger – and take a minute to give thanks!

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

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5 Responses

  1. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West

    Hey Jess, I stumbled upon this article and really enjoyed it. Your take on communities is right on point. We are all incredibly influenced by those we align with, for the good and for the bad. You’ve offered a great look at how communities can be in-person or online or even a location. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joelle

    I really enjoyed this article – ‘Community’ gets thrown around in the blogging world and is usually used to describe groups of similar bloggers, or relationships between the blog and the reader.

    I like how you have taken your communities a step further to include your family. It has made me analyze my role in my own family to see how these relationships affect me as a blogger.


  3. Munachi

    I’ve been thinking a lot about community recently. Every community I am involved in, whether it be school, church, or home, affects me as much as the other people in it. I love a sense of kinship and purpose within a group so I have made an extra effort lately to get involved and be a real part of all the communities I’m involved in.

    P.s. I noticed your sly use of the word “bossy”. I assume you are referencing the Ban Bossy campaign. Apart from Teen Vogue’s tumblr, this is the only other blog post I’ve seen mentioning it. When I was looking for fashion blogger opinions on Ban Bossy for a post I was writing about the campaign (http://glamorousrevelation.blogspot.com/2014/03/should-you-ban-bossy.html?m=1) I was surprised at how little I could find. I’m glad you mentioned it, even if it was covertly 🙂

  4. Amanda

    I’m also most proud to be apart of those very three communities as well. My family/friends are my main supporters and motivators for my blog. I am a very outspoken person but I also have my shy side and they help remind me that I can “DO IT”- which is sometimes all you need to hear.

    I also love my city and think it’s one of the best places to live- lots of creative souls that can help influence posts, ideas and boost your confidence. And lastly my internet friends are also amazing. It’s great that we are able to create relationships with others without even having to meet them. For the viewers I have never met and the ones who keep coming to my blog- I am super thankful for them.

    I love this post- it too allowed me to reflect.