By: Nikki Nies
“Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward.” –Tina Fey
Fey is not only a great example of a woman who balances family and career, but holds her own in the comedy world. While Fey’s above words sound daunting, in my humble opinion, they’re some of the best words of advice and in which I’ve used many times during decision-making. Although, apprehension and lack of experience can cause one to decline a job or find oneself limiting his or her options, the question is how are you going to grow if you don’t go out of your comfort zone? When you take an opportunity, you don’t need to know the details of how you’ll get it done because some way, some how you will!
It can’t be denied how influential social media can be and is and the role it can play in furthering one’s opportunities and experiences, with so many for health professionals to capitalize on 1. In addition, sadly, many people rely on social media as their source of news and real time updates. Even though, one can groan at the extinction of physical newspapers, it’s better to join in the digital age’s main source of communication. Social media bridges the gap between the mono direction information provides, allowing public engagement and awareness of health related news noninvasive2,3. In addition to the use of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube, blogging is an equally influential form of social media 2. Blogs used to be reserved as a means of “public diaries”, but are now considered a place for professional development 2,4.
Not only do health professionals have to contend with those not as qualified to share credible nutrition information, but using every resource and angle can maximize the opportunities to raise awareness. In addition to the general public requesting nutrition information, the international community wants to hear what you say and find credible blogs to be their go to guide. Don’t believe me, don’t worry I’m bringing the experts in! Studies have shown that the general public shy away from government backed programs are more willing to listen to what health professionals and like minded people have to say in regards to healthy eating 1,3.
Blogging allows you to not only hone your own writing skills, but bridges the gap between the people you may not have the opportunity to otherwise connect with. Blogs are great instrument to share data, tips, explanations and my favorite part, awareness. Blogs enlighten readers on topics bloggers hold dear to the heart, while allowing bloggers to better connect with readers in a way only writing can 1.
If I look back in my short dietetic career, all the great memories and opportunities have come from when I said “yes” to an opportunity or I stuck my neck out into a new avenue. Growth only occurs when there’s a beginning and the only way is up. I owe my whole blogging experience to Dana Baardsen. She is an entrepreneur and graciously invited me to start a group blog, We Dish Nutrition.
The intention of the blog was to have a cohesive blog of many minds, hence the name, but after a few months, the work of the blog has trickled down to falling solely on my shoulders. However, I can’t believe that I’ve only been blogging since January 2013 and now I can’t imagine life without out.
Let me back track. Of all people, I blog! Growing up I had my fair issues with grammar. I never knew where to put a comma and couldn’t differentiate between a verb and noun (so sad, but true!). I found writing to be a hassle, but when opportunity knocked, I couldn’t say no. During my undergraduate program at Montclair State University, I knew my writing skills weren’t up to par with where I wanted to them to be. I submitted an article to be published in the school’s newspaper. Low and behold that one nutrition article submission paved the way towards my dietetic career.
While blogging can be hard, it can be equally fulfilling. Even after a year of blogging, I’m not sick of it! I’ve actually added to my blogging experience, creating a blog for SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) subunit, Disordered Eating and Eating Disorders (DEED). DEED has generously allowed me to share my own voice while being able to passionately share the words of self confidence, love and the common battle of body image.
Still wary about the prospects of writing? Here are some friendly suggestions on how to revamp or start your own blog:
- Just start writing! What’re you passionate about? If you’re passionate about a topic, it’s likely others are too and want to hear what you have to say.
- Speak from the heart. People can tell when you’re being sincere and when you’re telling them what they want to hear.
- Be credible: While people shy away from government websites (i.e. USDA), that doesn’t mean you have to! Citing your information not only proves you know your information, but ensures you’re not plagiarizing
- One of the best ways to become a better writer is to read what others have written. Staying on top of current trends and news articles will also keep you in the loop of what others are reading!
- Lastly, have fun with it! Having a blog takes work, but finding your our niche and voice will make it that much more enjoyable.
While life needs a balance of work and play, your dream job or passion may be a “yes” away! When I initially agreed to participate a blog, I couldn’t have predicted how great it has been for my confidence in my writing ability, the contacts I’ve made, but most of all the positive feedback I’ve received.
For additional blogging ideas, check out my two blogs, wedishnutrition.wordpress.com and nodeedgoesunnoticed.wordpress.com. Take the challenge, use the voice you’re dying to share and join the blogosphere!
- Agostino D. Using social media to engage citizens: A study of Italian municipalities. Public Relations Review. 2013;39(3):232-234.
- Paulus TM, Lester JN. Making learning ordinary: Ways undergraduates display learning in a CMC task. Text & Talk. 2013;33(1):53-70.
- Hong H. Government websites and social media’s influence on government-public relationships. Public Relations Review. 2013;39(4):346-356.
- Holland C, Pellechia K, Schneider J, Wilson S, Fatzinger McShane P. Intern blogs: Communicating new technology tools to a broader professional audience. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013;113(9, Supplement):A17.