Blogging often sounds like the preoccupation of entertainers who dwell on rumor and have a gift to overdramatize their inabilities to handle technicalities. Liars
For newly industrializing societies like Kenya, its worse, because of the perception that everyone is out there to hustle and there are no rules. Well, this is not entirely false but this perception is one of choice of the writer than it is of society.
At a time when the quality of post-graduate studies is coming into sharp scrutiny, and outsourcing is gaining ground, maybe blogging could be the answer we’ve been waiting for.
There are basically five issues arising insofar as the maturity of Masters Degree students is concerned, the sixth is a survival tactic. Let’s consider them:
It’s one thing to cram a lecturer’s summary and another to use it to set new directions or pace of technology. To lead institutions, one must constantly become aware of needs and dormant potential and an ethic to engage more logically.
This could be blamed on our approach to training, where students learn theory in isolation of reality. In plain words, what this means is that a student is pursuing a course whose usefulness to society they haven’t conceived. For me this is the worst flaw with formal education.
I once approached my supervisor for advice on the scope of what to read. His answer was bizarre and for a long time I tended to believe the rumors going around. “Read everything under the sky” he said.
Reading should serve three major needs for a post-grad, 1) reading for the sake of it or what they call building a reading culture, 2) reading to understand known gaps also called a literature review and 3) reading to help you sleep, you need to learn how to manage the greatest asset (you). Your time, strengths and weaknesses must be managed prudently to enhance your effectiveness, prevent burn-out and build self-confidence. It’s in a book somewhere.
In the course of reading you pick up articles that are hard to put down, informative, captivating and simple. You also meet authorities in various fields and appreciate the structure of academic documents. Because you will get a limited time to talk about your work anyway, why not arm yourself with the most effective skills for writing.
For a majority, writing is something we have to force ourselves to enjoy. The secret is to pick a random title or issue and spend at most an hour to develop a 500 word article. Review it and share it with your peers or supervisors for feedback. Do it every day.
Academicians suck at selling themselves. Besides what you studied and what you know, there is the “who are you?”. Is your answer compelling enough to convince us how better-off we are engaging you? How creative are you in adapting what you know to our scenarios and solve peculiar challenges or create unique opportunities? Can you do that in a minute or 15? Then you are on your way to becoming a professional and that is a product, a brand!
You can read and write, well done. But just explain what you learnt to a child, the uneducated or even experts in other fields, better, a critique. Your writing should be able to stir our emotions (sensitize), rally us behind your cause (mobilize) and empower us to challenge your thoughts with different or recent writings (criticize).
Truth of the matter, once the sponsorship has run out, you are also out. This is a thousand times worse for self-sponsored students. Writing is a big industry now and with the aid of e-commerce, you could write from the comfort of your house and right there get paid for your work.
The first thing in blogging is developing a compelling profile. Tells us who you are, what solutions you offer and why you are unique. If this is done successfully, you will get clients but on tight schedules. Your strategy to attend to them will include prioritizing tasks, follow-up and punctuality. For free, this has just earned you the habits of organizing resources and people, managing time and crisis and etiquette.
Most clients will prefer articles that can be consumed widely on the internet. How to digest the jargon and technicalities and still touch the hearts of a multi-disciplinary and cultural audience is an impulse you’ll have to yield to in every blog. Reading is a must, after all you don’t want to be the fool when your arguments are challenged by laymen or certain sentiments you floated insulted a particular belief. Similarly, you want to be the authority that global masses can still seek and find answers. This credibility earns you a following and a following is the magnet that attracts big money in the long-term.
So, isn’t it time you signed in for that blogger’s account and sharpen your master’s degree?