Jan29200910:18 am

My head might explode

Sherry emailed me the other day, apologizing that she hasn’t been able to contribute as much as she would like to the blog. “We are literally swamped here with National Meeting planning,” she wrote. (NCIV’s annual National Meeting takes place from February 11-14 in Washington.) But she also mentioned that she is attempting to further her ongoing blog education (blogucation?) by diving deeper into the blogosphere and consuming more of its content. She has been enjoying her forays into this world, but admitted she was daunted by how much is out there:

I remain amazed by the volume and think where do people get this kind if time? Then I realize that it is a commitment, like preparing an op ed piece. It is the price of a type of communication that is growing increasingly effective, but I am still staggered by the volume of it all….

Always the optimist, Sherry ended the email with a chipper: “On a bright note, I love my iPhone.”

Sherry actually asked me to turn her thoughts from this email into a blog post—largely, I think, because she viewed it as an intergenerational issue: it’s easy for me, as the young, technologically adept one, to consume this vast tundra of content without breaking a sweat, whereas she as the older professional struggles to keep up. Perhaps there is truth to this on some level, but to feel daunted by the sheer breadth of news and blogs and other information on the Internet…I’m pretty sure it happens to everyone, and it certainly happens to me.

For example, one evening while following a few leads on potential blog topics, I stumbled upon the site Alltop.com, a self-described “online magazine rack”—basically a giant, never-ending list of blogs by topic. While at first I thought this was a pretty fantastic discovery (everything in one place!), it quickly turned ugly as I became absolutely overwhelmed by the volume and my head threatened to explode, kind of like in Scanners. How do you sift through them all?

Then it got me wondering—Working World is a relatively new blog: are we actually doing a service by putting yet another blog out there, or are we just adding to the “clogosphere” (the cheesy yet for some reason still endearing term used by some blogger out there, which one I couldn’t even begin to tell you)?

My searches on Alltop for more blogs related to jobs and careers in international affairs didn’t yield much, actually, and helped reassure me that Working World is relevant after all (as there are very few, if any, sites or blogs out there devoted to careers in international affairs, at least that I could find). After the break, the results of some very unscientific research on Alltop.

A few searches I performed on Alltop.com (lots of weather-related blogs out there, but not a lot of international career ones):

Search term: “International exchange” Results: “Expats” “Weather”

Search term: “International development” Results: “Jobs (Not Steve)”* “Programming” “Python”** “Weather”

Search term: “International affairs” Result: “Weather”

Search term: “International careers” Results: “”Careers” “Jobs (Not Steve)” “Twenty Something” “Weather”

*I’ll admit this took me upwards of several minutes to get. I don’t know if that makes me lame, or the joke. I hope for the latter.

**This refers to python the programming language, not python the deadly snake, which at first, for some reason, came as a relief, until I ventured into a few of the blogs about python the programming language and realized I would much much rather read about deadly snakes.

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3 Responses to “My head might explode”

  1. Marisa Jackson says:

    I really appreciate your blog because my husband and I are starting our adventure of international education for him and hopefully international fundraising/business for me. I just started reading your blog last week and I am really looking forward to reading your book. Thank you for this resource!

  2. garrettkuk says:


    I’d commend you on the fact that your blog is both differentiated and unique. You’re not adding to the “clogosphere;” rather, you’re in an enviable position to establish your thoughts as a leader/trailblazer. I can only imagine this field will grow in popularity as the cultural, linguistic, and communication barriers continue to fall. Finding an untapped segment of conversation and stepping boldly in to fill the void meets a need and adds tremendous value where there was none, as shown by the previous comment.

    For more information on niche blogging and differentiation, check out the following:



  3. Joanne says:

    Mark, i found this blog by searching for [international education and exchange + blog] on Google. Your blog is certainly niche and a standout one, firstly because you’re an excellent writer and also because of the (rarely written about) subject matter. Definitely not a clogger!

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