5 years and counting...

Yesterday, my blog turned five.

I'm not really inclined to write much about that...  I've got too much work to do today.

And, I suppose that's somewhat fitting.  This is me working.  You want to look back on it?  Knock yourself out.  It's all here.  Me?  I'm looking forward.  I have stuff to do. 

I'm not going to write about how much my blog has given me or who I've met because of it.  If you're blogging with any kind of consistancy and effort, you know what I'm talking about.  If you're not blogging, then the rest of us are inclined to think that either a) you do not want feedback on your thoughts, b) you do not think your thinking needs practice or c) you do not think you have any thoughts worth sharing.  In any case, we're not inclined to chase you down to force you into it. 

It's 2009 and if you don't get it by now, the world is passing you by.

I will, however, leave you with three lessons that I hope, in my five years of blogging, that you've learned from me by now:

1) You do not know everything and neither do I, so open communication makes us all smarter.

2) There are a lot of people out there who are working hard on awesome things.  There are a lot of other people out there talking about other people who are working hard on awesome things, talking about awesome things in general, and tagging themselves on the 8,000 pictures they took of themselves during social media drinkups and tweetups.  These latter people are to be avoided.  Strive to seek out those are are actually changing the world--leave no stone unturned.

3) You can't please everyone... so the best you can do is be a lightning rod for those likeminded people that you do see eye to eye with, and poke bears and rattle cages around the rest of them. 

 

Ok, back to work...

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After four years of blogging, blogging is...

On Friday, I hit four years of blogging.

To be honest, I'm not sure what to say about it. 

For the first time, I sort of feel like marking blogging anniversaries is like marking the day you first started talking to people.

Sure, it's a transformative and pivotal event in your life that changes the way you relate to other people--but imagine the alternative.

I used to say that blogging isn't for everyone.  Now, I think that blogging like I do isn't for everyone.  You don't have to talk about yourself, or blog everyday, or post pictures. 

But, to me, there are a few things about blogging that I just can't see people going without, because blogging is... 

...writing practice, and since most people can't write particularly well or just can always get better, is worth it to build that skill.

...a way for people who share interests to find you.

...a way for you to find others who share interests with you.

...a way to get feedback on your half-baked ideas.

...a way to differentiate yourself in a competitive job environment, because a resume sucks as a means of describing your depth of character, experience, and thoughtfulness.

...a way to sharpen your thinking by forcing yourself to make sense of streams of disconnected thoughts.

...a way to remember where you were and what you were thinking at any given time.

...a low maintenance way for acquaintances to keep up with what you're doing.

...an open, inviting way to communicate that says, "I want people to interact with and engage me."

...a way to contribute your best thinking at the time to the world, instead of keeping it all to yourself, or even worse, behind the locked doors of subscriptions, members only, or just hidden away in library stacks.

So, write about whatever's on your mind.  You shouldn't care about now many people read or how often you post, or even what your is called. 

Just whatever you do, don't stop communicating.  Here's to another four years of all this...

Blogged with Flock

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Feed Cleanup... Need some inspiration

Over the last week or so, I've unsubscribed from a number of feeds that just weren't doing it for me.  Interestingly enough, what I've been left with is a feedreader full of my friends.  More than half the blogs I subscribe to are friends of mine. 

I could use some suggestions on new blogs to be reading.  Here's some key criteria:

  • People who are thoughtful about career and life decisions.
  • Anyone who takes Web 2.0 with a nice heaping grain of salt and doesn't get too caught up in the hype.
  • People with outside interests.
  • New Yorkers especially welcome.
  • People with a good sense of humor.
Ok... recommend away!

Blogged with Flock

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Piercing the Blog

When you get up to a critical mass of blog readership, you start getting a different kind of conversation from the crowd.  Most of it is fantastic and I'm lucky to have it, but some of it, not so much.  You get form letters from people marketing their new services to bloggers, LinkedIn and Facebook friend requests from people you've never heard from before, solicitations for link exchanges, blog network invitations and a whole host of Starbucks invites.  These aren't necessarily bad things, but a lot of them are just, well, out of the blue.  It's the blog equivalent of asking for sex on the first date...  or even before the first date.  Call me old fashioned. 

Since most of these people have never read my past blog posts about these types of things, I'm going to summarize my stance on all of them here.

First off, this is my personal blog.  I do not, as a matter of intention, "review" products the way Techcrunch does, so please don't ask me to review anything.  I'm happy to check something out and give quick feedback, but I'm lot actively looking for review submissions.

I am always, however, searching for products that will answer my own selfish needs, and so I'll sometimes write about a product's ability or inability to provide a useful service.  This does not occur as the result of a review request.  It does happen as the result of notes that begin, "Hey, remember when you were looking for "x", well I found (or "we have", if you're a marketer) a product that solves your problem."  This shows you're showing me something because you think your service applies to me specifically, not just because I have a lot of blog readers.

If you still insist on pitching me something with an actual pitch letter, then please please do not blow smoke in my face and tell me that you read my blog all the time.  Its ok if you don't.  A lot of people don't.  Most people don't.  (My mom does, though...)  I know who many of my blog readers are because they show up in MyBlogLog or they comment or I read theirs and see my link on their blogrolls.  People who emerge from the abyss to pitch something are not easily believed to be
"long time, first times."

As for all of these social networks, I basically use two... Facebook and LinkedIn.  Facebook is a place for my friends.  By friends, I mean people who I've met, hung out with, or would actually hang out with if they were in the same city.  Just because we met professionally does not mean we're besties, but rest assured, I value you immensely either way--as a reader, as a professional, as a colleague, etc.  If we are professional and reciprocal contacts in real life, please do feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.  Reciprocal is key here, though.  Reading my blog or just being in nextNY but never having met or spoken to me is one way, not reciprocal.  Just because I have a lot of LinkedIn contacts doesn't mean I just add everyone.  I need to be able to at least know you enough to recommend you on some basis, even if we just had a few side words over a specific blog post.  The first time I hear from you should not be without an introduction on LinkedIn.  That's like showing up to my office out of the blue and saying "Do you want to have a meeting?"

And then there's this odd little Plugoo box that gives you a direct means of IMing me.  It connects straight to AIM, which I'm usually on, and, I hate to admit it, I generally answer even when I'm working.  So, if you're ok with continuous partial attention, because you probably caught be doing something else, I'm usually up for a little Plugoo chat write through that little box.  Try it.. .it works!  It is quickly becoming my favorite widget.

As for in person meetings, you should know that I do not drink alcohol or coffee (I will go for a SBUX skim chat, though...).  The alcohol thing is just a personal preference...there are no problems with me that you need to worry about in that area, but it does provide an interesting social dilemma when people ask to meet up for a drink.  I do frequent lots of bars (you can't play on as many sports teams as I do without doing so), and don't mind them at all...it's just that when I do go, Sprite is my drink of choice, as my friends know.  If you're cool with that, then sure, by all means, ask me out for a drink.  I'm all for it. 

Lunches work great for me, although I try to spend them with contacts I already have and friends, too.  I try not to take blind lunches too often, but they're not so bad, because at worst I get fed. 

That's always a good thing.

If you really want to meet up, connect, network, etc...just hangout where I hangout...simple as that.  You can usually find me on weekends at the Downtown Boathouse Pier 40 location where I kayak and volunteer for our public kayaking program on the Hudson.  That season goes from mid-May to mid-October.   Other than that, I try to make as many nextNY and NY Tech Meetup events as I can.  It's always easier to catch up in person when I'm already planning to be out somewhere with other tech folks, as opposed to finding other times and taking time away from other things, which I'm happy to do, but we have to start somewhere.

Ok, is that fair?

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