Be Careful What You Publish

by Randy Murray on November 29, 2011

Thank god the internet didn’t go public until I was an adult. There’s no online record of all of the stupid or dangerous or immature things I did in high school or college. Yes, some people may remember these things, but they’re damn liars. As they say, “Pictures or it didn’t happen.”

It’s a different world today. By the time you’re mature enough to realize that you shouldn’t publish every thought that pops into your head, someone with a camera has captured your “watch me try this, Bubba” moments. You probably do most of the publishing yourself. And the world knows that you’re an idiot. They may suspect that I am, but they have proof about you.

It may become a different world when everyone is known to be an idiot. That may be a good thing. I just think it wise not to risk it.

To take this an additional step, I do have some specific advice to my peers who want to be business writers: don’t write and publish your every thought about sex, religion, or politics.

I see a lot of potentially talented young people who aspire to careers as business writers. It’s a great gig. I love doing it and the money is good. Businesses and organizations hire me because I have a lot of experience writing for business. When they look at my samples, they can see lots of business, technical, and marketing expertise. When they look at this site they can see a lot about writing. There’s very little here that anyone could see and say, “gee, that guy makes me uncomfortable.”

Not so for a lot of other writers. Yes, you can attract a lot of traffic by writing about sex. Just not the type of traffic that results in paying jobs. Write about politics or religion and you’ll almost always find that your prospective customer will be on the other side of your argument. It might be fun to write about how much you had to drink last night or tweet about how bored you are in your current job. That won’t get you the next job, trust me.

Writing about sex, religion, and politics are a short cut to traffic and followers. It is, however, not a shortcut to a job.

You can have opinions. You can share them. But you might consider not publishing them to the world. Share them with friends, or with a community. If you want to be a professional, you’ll need to conduct your public life in a professional way. That means a restrained external personality. It doesn’t have to be boring or vanilla. You just have to avoid being an idiot.

The Be Careful What You Publish by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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