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:
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.
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.
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!
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