Back in the 18th century, you basically had 3 choices of jobs–you could be a blacksmith, a butter churner, or a carriage driver.
Okay, so maybe there were more choices than that (how about tailor, butcher, barber, milk maid, footman), but the point is that there were well-known job titles already in existence for every occupation.
If you were hangin’ out at the local tavern and someone asked you what you did for a living, all you’d have to say is “I’m a blacksmith”, and you’d instantly be greeted with nods of acknowledgment and understanding.
Not so with the internet jobs of today.
To folks who aren’t online much, the internet seems like a sketchy place where folks look at porn and gamble at online casinos :) –sort of a boulevard of broken dreams and sleazy get rich quick schemes, not a place where you conduct a reputable business.
As a result, many of us who are very active within the blogosphere or work online run up against a lot of blank stares and misjudgements when we try to explain to our offline family and friends what in the world we do for a living or why our blogs are so important to us.
This isn’t surprising–we web workers have some of the freakiest and most confusing job titles on the planet.
Off the top of my head, ones that make sense to me, but I know would puzzle 99.9% of mainstream society are:
ProBlogger, Community Evangelist, Online Business Manager (this is me), E-marketing Consultant, Web Developer, Blogging Coach (or any type of coach for that matter).
Especially if you’re an online entrepreneur, chances are you’re a trailblazer in your field, and you don’t have the convenience of having a job title that everyone understands.
The upside is that we get the chance to create our own job titles.
The down side (asided from folks not understanding what our jobs are) is that if we change our job titles too often people end up asking us, â€œSo, what are you calling yourself now? Are you a web developer or an online publisher or a problogger or what? Who are you today?â€
The big amorphous “Huh?” that many of us encounter when talking about our online businesses or our blogs doesn’t seem like it would be that big a deal, but it can be.
Even extremely successful online entrepreneurs usually don’t get to soak up the glory with their friends and family because victories in the online world don’t translate into offline life.
(Be patient though–despite Bruce Sterling’s ominous prediction, sooner or later everyone will know what a blog is!)
I know this “confusing job title” phenomenon isn’t restricted to internet folks, so I’m wondering…
1) Do any of you have trouble explaining what you do for a living to your friends and family?
2) How do you deal with it? Or, how do you explain it in such a way that people understand?
3) Sidenote question: Do your offline friends and family read your blog?
Originally posted on March 22, 2007 @ 4:00 am