Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

Blogging is killer. Why teens should blog (after they read this)

Blogging is killer. Why teens should blog (after they read this)
Get oriented.
Get oriented.
Get organized
Look 'em in the eye
Sleep already
Volunteer!
Exercise. Now.
Get blogging
Get coding
Get smart(er)
Get lucky

Maybe you don’t know Tavi Gevinson. Maybe you never read about her in The New York Times. Maybe you never saw her with Jimmy Fallon on Late Night. Maybe you weren’t there when Lady Gaga called her “the future of journalism.” 

Maybe no one told you how Tavi started a blog about fashion, about how it became so popular that when she launched her next website, its servers overheated on the very first day.

Tavi Gevinson with Jimmy Fallon

Just a teen blogger: Tavi Gevinson with Jimmy Fallon

Maybe you didn’t hear that she’s just begun her senior year at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Illinois. 

Or that she started that blog, “The Style Rookie,” when she was 11 years old.

Tavi Gevinson is not your typical teen blogger. But she’s not one-of-a-kind, either. Teens can be found blogging on almost every subject, on every continent on earth. 

Tavi did it. They’re doing it. Here’s why you might want to join those blogging hordes yourself—that is, if you haven’t already.

I blog therefore I am

jeremycooks.com_r

Top chef? Jeremy's off to a killer start.

A blog is nothing more than a website—a website you control. Which means your blog can be anything you want it to be. It can be an online diary of whatever pops into your head, like 16-year old Kelly’s blog. Or a one-track-mind-chronicle of whatever you like, like 15-year-old Gloson’s blog. Or just about anything else you can imagine (like this, from 18-year-old aspiring Top Chef Jeremy Salamon).

Your blog might be the proverbial tree falling in the forest—the one no one hears. Or it might be the next Rookie Magazine. In a way, it doesn’t matter. Because when you blog, you write. When you write, you think. When you write what you think, your thoughts become clearer and more focused.

In other words, blogging is all about communicating. When you blog, you practice communicating. When you become skilled at communicating, the world is yours.

In a recent nationwide survey, a staggering 98 percent of employers listed “communication skills”—the ability to convey ideas to others—as the number one qualification for new hires. They even ranked this ahead of “having a positive attitude” or “having teamwork skills.”

blogger_210

The reason: According to Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding, employers think “hard skills”—for example, the ability to use a particular software program, like Photoshop—can be learned, and learned quickly. But the ability to communicate is something that can only be cultivated over time.

Start blogging, and you start cultivating.
wordpress_210

Where to start

You can only build those chops the old-fashioned way: By thinking about something, taking the time to explain what you’re thinking about—why it’s important to you, and why you think it might be important to your reader—in 400, or 500, or 800 words. And then by doing it over and over…and over again.Tumblr and Pheed are popular for “micro-blogging.” But sorry, micro-blogging—little info-blasts that aren’t much different than Twitter tweets or Facebook posts—just isn’t real blogging. Micro-blogging won’t help you build the communications chops you’ll need if you want to take over the world, either.

For the kind of blogging action that will set you on your way to becoming a communications heavyweight, head over to Weebly (easiest), or to Google’s Blogger,  or to WordPress.org (hardest to learn but most powerful). At any of these sites, you’ll be able to get your own blog page up and running for free. And at Blogger, you can even run ads on your site and, just maybe, make some coin.

young woman before an old-fashioned microphone labeled "BLOG" RTimages/ShutterstockA word of warning

What happens on the internet, stays on the internet. Forever. It’s there for you to see. For your friends and family to see. For college admissions officers and employers to see.

Forever and ever.

Which means if you want to say something that you don’t want everyone in the world to see, you probably don’t want to say it on your blog—even if you think no one will ever read your blog, or that no one will really care too much about your opinions on anything. Apparently, that’s what Shelle Hale thought, and look what happened to her. Oops.

And, if you’re under the age of 18, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): Check with your parents (or legal guardian) before you launch your internet empire. When you put yourself on the internet, you step into all that’s great and, sometimes, not-so-great, on this crazy planet of ours. So bring your parents in on this. You’ll be glad you did.


What teen bloggers have inspired you? Are you one of them? And if you do blog, what advice do you have for newbies? Let us know!


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