By J.T. O’Donnell
If you don’t know who Chris Brogan is, then I must be the overly-honest person who tells you that your use of social media for business and career development purposes is probably still in its infancy. Chris is just one of several people who has gained ‘net celeb’ because of his work leveraging online tools to create powerful virtual communities of people. His blog was recommended to me at the end of last year. I am still amazed at how much he teaches me weekly through his posts. I’ve never met him, but his blogging style is such that you can’t help but think he’d be the kind of guy you’d want hang out with. In fact, Chris is the first one to play down his status in the blogging world. So, when the decision to start interviewing people on Careerealism.com for our new column, ‘Career Do-Over’ was made – he was at the top of my list. I shot him an e-mail (expecting nothing), and was lucky enough to have his lovely colleague Kathryn respond to me saying if I was willing to send the questions online, Chris might be able to answer them. A little over a week later, I got the following responses:
1) What did you study in college, and then, knowing what you know now, do you wish you had studied something different? If so, what would it be and why?
All over the map. If I had to do it again, I’d study journalism, design, and small business administration. Though I enjoyed learning diverse things, I needed to know more fundamental things I could later employ to my own needs.
2) Tell us your career journey post-graduation through now in less than 200 words. Then tell us: If there was one thing you could do differently in that journey, what would it be?
My career was a strange series of coincidences. I spent 16 years in telecommunications where I learned a lot about enterprise technology, about project management, and about how midsized companies do business. It was very empowering. I took a sharp turn at the end of 2006, when I joined Jeff Pulver to run his Video on the Net conference and also contribute to his startup, Network2.tv.
I’m not sure I could do things differently. I somewhat regret not moving faster in the late 1990s with the Internet boom, but I’m making up for that now in 2009. : )
3) Name 1-2 things you’ve learned to date about career that you think young professionals (ages 18-40) would want to know.
Young professionals need to seize their own power through learning outside of their formal education. With books, I’d recommend learning from Jack Welch, and from Robert Greenleaf, and from Jeffrey Gitomer, from Donald Trump, and from Seth Godin. In practice, find entrepreneurs and learn how they differ from a typical MBA. Find artists and learn who is successful versus who is really talented. There are oh so many lessons to learn.
Oh, and start your professional online presence now. Swap out beer bong pictures on Facebook with a thoughtful website talking about the lessons you’re learning, the wisdom you’re accruing, and the innovative ideas you’re experimenting and modeling. Build your personal social networks early, and feed them often.
Wow, such great advice from a guy who will most likely be called one of the ‘grandfathers’ of successful online social media use someday. Not to mention, I almost fell over when I saw his comment about ‘beer pong pictures’ – I immediately thought, “Did he see our CAREEREALISM t-shirt?” If you are interested in the growing trend/field of social media, you can start to learn more from Chris by following him on Twitter @chrisbrogan and by subscribing to his blog www.chrisbrogran.com.
And now readers, I ask you: Who would you like to see answer these three questions on Careerealism.com? Post their name and reasons why and we’ll start trying to make it happen.