If you don’t believe me I urge you to read this post until the end – I might be able to convince you.
Blogging is the most accessible form of creativity of the modern world: You don’t need to be comfortable in front of a camera, you don’t need to be comfortable in front of a microphone. You don’t need photoshop skills. You don’t need to be a beauty queen.
And despite the low entry barrier, blogging allows anyone to be valuable to others, to build a career based on this value, and to be creative. Blogging empowers our generation – or merely a part of our generation. And right now that is a very small part.
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And that part is still too small. This part is too small for this generation to strive for greatness and to be a successful generation.
Enough bloomy words – now it’s time for facts!
Why is blogging so important for this generation
Do you know who Jack Ma is?
If you don’t, he is the founder of Alibaba – the Chinese tech company that had an IPO of 25 billion Dollars back in 2014. He is among the leaders of our generation, both in business and in thought. He is wiser than me – and as a wiser person he get’s more people to listen even if he states facts that some people have been saying for years (including myself and also himself).
At the annual World Economic Forum in Davos in January of this year he said something very wise:
Now, there is a lot in this 1 1/2 minutes of video – and granted, he doesn’t mention blogging explicitly. But what he said is nevertheless very intriguing. If you analyze his words carefully, you get three elementary facts:
- Machines and technology are going to take over the traditional aspects of our current way of work and life.
- Education needs to be less knowledge-based and focus on core soft skills that machines and AI cannot compete on.
- Examples of these soft skills that humans need to be educated on are: Values, sports, teamwork, and creative skills like music, painting, and entertainment.
Notice that I highlighted the creative skills – I’ll get back to that.
But first, let’s have a quick look at what he is saying in general… Is he right? Are machines going to take over our traditional way of life? What is our traditional way of life?
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Traditionally, most people work for a fixed income and get about half their time to spend their income. And these jobs are going to disappear – and a lot of them in the next 10 years. It’s going to start with the most basic jobs. If you are a factory worker you can be easily replaced by a machine which is cheaper and more effective for the company. If you are a bus or cab driver, you can be replaced by an autonomous vehicle.
But it’s not going to stop there – you think your job is safe because you studied medicine? There will come a time when machines will be able to replace surgeons. You are a lawyer? Judges in the US are already assisted by artificial intelligence software in some cases, and while it’s debatable whether this trend is desirable, it still means even high education jobs are NOT safe.
In this wave of replacement of jobs, what is really disappearing are the jobs that are based on “hard” skills, skills that are learned once and make you valuable. You don’t need a car and a driver’s license anymore to get from A to B – you’ll just get an autonomous vehicle. Drivers are a thing of the past.
But soft skills aren’t going to disappear… and especially creative skills. It will take a long time for a machine to write the next New York Times Bestseller, paint a masterpiece or record a great album.
And the creative skill that everyone can learn, that is accessible to everyone without years of practice to become a master… is writing. Or, maybe not writing in general… but blogging.
Blogging is Taking the World over in many Areas
You may not realize how many areas of the modern world are already “infected” by the “blogging virus” (in a positive way). So here are some examples:
- Journalism: How do you get your news and your well researched current information and opinions? In the old days you would watch TV, then the new world came and you would use the internet. And everyone using the internet is sometimes getting his information from… blogs.
- Marketing: Most companies are already integrating blogs into their marketing strategies.
- Communities & Communication: In the early days of the internet communities would form in forums on certain topics – today, these communities form as part of the Blogosphere.
Blogging is a fundamental part of the current world already – bloggers provide more information for the modern world than the whole of Wikipedia. And it is growing.
The Meaning of Distribution for Creativity – and why it makes Blogging even more important
Blogging is a special form of writing that has a few characteristics that make it accessible and great training for any other form of creativity.
- Blogging is enabled by the first and most important skill that you learn at school: Reading and writing. That is all you need to learn to have the opportunity to start a blog!
- Blogging is writing in “bite-sized” format – you write a blog post, and even if it is 5000 words long, that is still a short piece compared to long-form writing. This means all aspects of creativity are included in a rapid cycle of succession: Writing, editing, publishing, distribution.
- Blogging is essentially “writing for others” – which means it includes one very important aspect of modern creativity: Distribution. Ensuring that what you write is seen by others.
Creativity is going to be the most important form of “work” in a future without traditional work to be done. But for “creation” to be “work,” what you create needs to be valuable to others and it needs to be seen by others. You need to find a target audience, and you need to distribute what you create to that audience.
Teaching blogging at school is will allow for these skills to be honed – right from the start. Getting our kids ready for a time in 30 years where these skills will be the most important skills in the world.
No, not every one of our kids will become a professional blogger – but teaching math at school doesn’t mean that everyone will become a mathematician. Being taught chemistry doesn’t make you a chemist.
Blogging is not Understood widely enough, YET
I’m a professional blogger – which means I am building a career based on my blogging activity. A profitable career – and a career I am proud of.
But try explaining what I do at a party in my circle of friends. Here is what you would get: “Ah – so you’re unemployed…” is one of the more friendly remarks… coupled with a blank stare. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to as long as the other person is not involved in web businesses (or the fashion industry) of some kind, what I do isn’t accessible to the minds of many of the people I talk to in my private life.
People who have pursued traditional careers based on hard skills.
So what I say is that I’m a marketing consultant, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer – depending on the situation. I’m all of these – because that is how as a professional blogger I have decided to build my business.
I shouldn’t have to find alternative descriptions of what I do – blogging should be widely recognized by now as a profession. Not because I want an easier time explaining myself – but because blogs are already an integral part of almost anyone’s life. And because they are going to be a tremendously important part of your kids’ lives!
Back to School – and how Blogging Should Be Taught!
Think back to your time at school – how were you taught to write?
If your experience was anything like mine, creative writing wasn’t what was taught there. You were taught to spell words right – and you got a crash course in grammar rules. And even when you were taught to “write creatively,” you were taught to follow certain rules.
And you were probably graded by how well you followed rules.
That’s not creative. That’s a rule book. And not a rule book that follows what your audience (or an audience wants) but a rule book that follow what a single person (your teacher) has been taught to require of his students.
In my opinion, this rulebook is what causes so many wannabe bloggers to fail – they don’t try to write for an audience (which could be a minimal part of the people out there). They write according to a rule book that required them to satisfy a single person – which may not be part of their target audience at all.
There are successful bloggers who reach millions of people – but there are also successful bloggers who write for less than a thousand. Finding your own audience is what makes blogging easier than writing an essay for your school teacher.
Do you know who Tucker Max is? He is a published author of comedic no fiction stories circling sex, drugs, and crazy stuff from his own life. If you ever give one of his stories to your school teacher, Tucker will receive a very bad grade. Yet, his books have reached millions of people, a movie about him was made…
… and he started as a blogger.
He found his audience.
He was creative and he learned distribution.
So how should blogging be taught at school?
You could start by letting children do some research – let them discover blogs they like, let them do research and find topics, let them start by imitating the bloggers they love. When you start to let them blog on their own let them blog for the other children in their class – and then in their school.
And most importantly let them discover the fun they can have with being creative for others – not necessarily for you (or their teacher). You should remove the teacher from the grading process – you could have the students write blogs for other kids at their school. Just an idea. You could also teach them how to use the technology. You could teach them SEO and social media skills to distribute their posts. At later stages, you could have them publish blogs outside their school networks.
You could teach them ethics – how to handle private information of others in blogging. You could teach them how blog posts can be structured to make them more easily understandable. The whole subject has a lot of facets that can easily fill up years of studying.
Blogging skills are essential for the next generation – from a creative standpoint as well as from a professional and skill-based standpoint. That doesn’t require everyone to become a professional blogger, but the skills that can be developed by teaching blogging at school are mandatory for the lives of the next generation.
And isn’t teaching the mandatory life skills what we send our kids to school for?