Creating a website in sixth grade, at age 11, Devan Fink had no idea his new hobby would change the rest of his life.
Devan started the blog Cover Those Bases when he was in 6th Grade, as a tribute to his grandfather. He says, “My grandfather was my inspiration. We would always talk on the phone about what was going on in baseball and with the Phillies, which was our favorite team.” Unfortunately, in 2012 his grandfather passed away. Devan started a blog to continue the conversation for his grandfather.
Now it’s been 5 years and his writing has become a main part of his life. His Digital Footprint clearly shows who he is and what he represents. One of his most notable moments on media is breaking the story of Billy Butler leaving the Kansas City Royals. How did he get to break a story in 8th grade? He used Twitter to build relationships with people inside Major League Baseball. As a result he was on MLB Network, NPR, and in The New Yorker.
He now enjoys his paid writing job for Beyond the Box Score.
Power of Social Media
By the age of 16, Devan Fink uncovered the power of social media and the global reach of the internet to not only establish himself as a baseball expert but to perfect various skills to prepare him for any career he chooses.
Building relationships with executives and agents on Twitter allowed Devan to break stories and learn the different career paths he may be interested in. He just started doing what interested him without knowing whether he wanted to even pursue a career in baseball or journalism.
Just last year he attended the MLB Winter Meetings where he met some of his online contacts after two years of only communicating through technology. He says, “It’s fascinating how these relationships have developed between me and contacts inside the game through social media.”
“Social media as a whole often gets a bad rap. People think there aren’t a lot of positives to it and that it really is detrimental to the development of teenagers. But for me, social media has been instrumental in my success. If you understand how to use social media in a positive way, you can really extract the value that it has. It allows you to communicate with the world and it allows you to build relationships with people who have similar interests as you. It allows me to talk about something I love and am passionate about.”
“I’m always on Twitter, always checking what’s going on with the baseball stories.” Devan says he stays connected and on top of the news. In addition to communicating on Twitter, he spends about 4-5 hours a week writing articles.
Positive Digital Footprint
Have you ever Googled yourself to see what’s out there about you? Go ahead and Google Devan Fink. Through the use of social media and blogging, Devan Fink found a love for reporting and journalism. Only a junior in high school, he has established a positive digital footprint through the use of Twitter and a web hosting company combined with a lot of writing and research. He knows it matters to build your online profile to show who you are and what you have to offer.
How to Get Started on your Digital Footprint
It started as a fifth grade school assignment: create a website for math class. Devan took this to heart and started his own website a year later.
His advice to those wanting to get started: “The number one thing is to find something you’re passionate about. You’ll find time to do it if you enjoy it down to the core. If you’re writing and enjoying what you’re writing then you’ll find people with similar interests and passion.” So many interesting things have happened to him because he has a blog, and this can happen for anyone in any area of interest.
“The reason I’ve kept it up for so long is because I can see the impact it makes on other people. It’s fascinating to me that I have an actual readership. I’m 16 and people actually listen to what I say. Seeing the same people tweeting at me and interacting with me online has kept me going. I feel like I have a dedicated group of actual readers and I love discussing baseball with them. I want to be the first to answer people’s questions. I like to think I’m enriching the baseball community.”
Benefits of Blogging
Blogging at a young age has given him something he can consider as a career. How amazing that a hobby for an 11-year-old boy can turn into a full-time profession when he graduates from college in 6 years.
“The writing that I do for baseball has allowed me to become a better writer in other facets of my life: in school, on the debate team, timed essays in class. Understanding how to write something that’s journalistic, fact-based, and higher quality will help me throughout life. I can now write blog posts and school essays much faster. Between giving me career options and becoming a better writer, blogging has changed my entire life because I’m just so enthusiastic about it.”
“I’m still undecided on what I want to do as a career, whether its journalism, economics, law, etc… but I do know that one thing is for sure, this writing really will help me no matter what I decide to do. Being able to analyze, write, and communicate complex ideas are some of the most important aspects of any profession. Social media and my blog have helped me realize that communication is a very powerful tool.”
Good luck to you, Devan! Thank you for inspiring us all to use technology deliberately and more positively.