Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Day Two

A strange turn of events has come upon me. Just a day after I decided on a change in direction for this blog I received this email:

Congratulations!

I'm writing to inform you that you've won the Best of the Web - Blog award from Psych Central, the oldest and largest mental health resource online that's been reviewing online resources since 1992.

The top ten list in depression was compiled with input from our readers, one of my associate editors, and myself. It reflects the excellence in regular writing of entries related to this mental health concern that we feel is consistent and worthy of people's time.


That's very flattering, isn't it? Of course the skeptic in me told me that it was all BS. But they published their list today and they seem to be an organization with at least a little cash behind them. This list of worthy, at least in their estimation, depression blogs was published today and I've seen a huge uptick in traffic. Besides their site, http://psychcentral.com/, I've received hits from http://foxnews.com/ and http://www.reuters.com/. It appears that they released a press release announcing their list. Presumably it is with a PR company and it probably cost them a little. So, thanks to them and especially to http://www.findingoptimism.com/ for first taking notice of me.

But this creates a dilemma for me. Do I continue my blog about depression or do I stick with the new journey that I announced yesterday? Or do I combine the two and push forward with my daily one hour rants but keep one eye on my depression during them? That last option seems very tiresome to me.

Here's the option that I'm most likely to settle on, at least at this point. I'm probably going to set up a new blog for my daily one-hour project and return this one to its original depression based content. I'm big about letting other people obligate me!

But I'm going to sleep on it. I try to do that. Even though this is a relatively minor decision in the greater scheme of things it is one that might have an much greater impact in the future so I want to give it time. I've been doing this for a long time - sleeping on it, that is. I'm very slow to make decisions anyway - tip: never go clothing shopping with me - and I find that trying to avoid making a decision on the same day that it was presented creates a lot less buyer's remorse situation in life.

Nevertheless, for now I'm plowing ahead with the one-hour project on this blog for today. So, if you care to take the journey with me I started this at 2:38p; it's now 2:56 so I have a ways to go.

Yesterday became a bit strained after around 40 minutes. I had a few things on my mind that

Wait. Before I forget, I also received this email:
Hi,

I’ve been looking through your blog and thought that this might be of some interest to you. This week Beliefnet, the largest online community for spirituality and inspiration, is announcing the launch of their new social network, “Beliefnet Community.” The network is geared toward spiritual seekers and faith-based groups, and will offer resources for study, inspiration and entertainment. You might find Beyond Blue blogger, Therese Borchard’s material especially interesting.

Designed to meet the needs of both individuals and groups—including intimate, small groups as well as multi-dimensional, large organizations—Beliefnet Community will offer award-winning content and online tools allowing members to work together virtually or in real-world small groups. Assemblies of all types and sizes—from book clubs and support groups to Bible study and fan clubs—can create and customize their own websites, calendars, discussion forums and content feeds.

Everyone is very excited -- we hope you'll check out www.beliefnet.com/community

I tend to want to help out whomever wants to take the time to email me. Even on my bigger blogs I entertain whomever wishes to contact me even if it is a blatant plug like the email above appears to be. The reason is that the Internet is a wide and wild place and anyone that wants to make a go of it here has my support. I think that it's a great think that a huge, multi-national corporation has pretty much the same ability to contact and get links from blogs like the ones I run as does a small time entrepreneur.

For instance, there was a controversy in an industry I write for a couple of months ago about a big firm that introduced a new, slick website, full of flash animation and super-sexy graphics. Their publicity guy emailed a bunch of bloggers that write about the industry with an invitation to preview the new site. It gave them a special link and told them when the new site would be made available to the public. Of course the idea was to create some buzz but so what? Some purists complained that this was blatant corporatism and should not be tolerated.

But here's the great thing. A couple of months later a fellow emailed me. His email was clunky and, quite frankly, a little difficult to follow in places. He had created a device designed to help consumers deal with a particular aspect of the industry. He built a website to sell this product. He contacted me because I'm an influential writer in that industry and he a) wanted advice about his site and b) he wanted to send me his product for review on my site. I'm working on that right now.

You get my point, I'm sure. As far as Internet promotions this guy with an idea and the multinational corporation are on more or less equal ground. I know the corporation all of the advantages that come from money and lots of personnel and there's not a lot that I can do about that but within the realms that I control they are equal and I'll treat them as such.

So even though this email - the one I posted above - reads like it could or could not be a form letter it does show some attention to detail and it is somewhat relevant to my blog. Additionally, I don't think that there is a way that the send could have found my email address other than doing a human search for it. Given these things I've relatively comfortable that it's not spam in the traditional sense so I pasted it here and gave the sender the link back to her site which is the most likely intent of the message. And if I decide on returning this blog to its depressing roots then I will likely review the site here.

What was I talking about before I interrupted myself?

Oh, right, how yesterday went. Like I was saying, I had a few things on my mind at the outset of the hour that I wanted to talk about but I ran out of topics at around 40 minutes. Then it really became difficult to press on. I decided that a list would be the best thing to do. I keep a notepad nest to my keyboard - a habit I picked up in the corporate world - where I constantly jot things down. I started a list of things that occurred to me throughout the day. But I don't spend all of my day in my office and my best random ideas seem to occur to me outside of it. As they did I made a mental note which fluttered away well before I got back to my desk.

Here's my list:
Topics
Writer's Strike
What does this have to do with depression

The first item is of course about the screen and TV writer's strike that is going on right now. I don't have a lot to contribute to it but when I heard it mentioned on the news I thought that I might be able to come up with something pithy here.

The second item is a mystery to me. I remember writing it and I remember that I had something interesting to say but now I have no idea. I suppose "this" refers to the blog but I just can't remember what I wanted to say.

3:25p

This is about the time that I crashed yesterday. Maybe this should be the 45 minute project instead of the hour.

The thing that's largest on my mind just now is the decision about whether I should return this blog to depression or not. I strongly inclined to do so. Like I said before I feel obligated by the actions of others - something that's been with me my whole life and may make an interesting topic here sometime - but also there might actually be some value in what I was doing.

Self-congratulations alert!

I was very surprised at how my blog resonated with readers. I never received more than a handful of hits per day but the response rate was really high when considered as a percentage. By response I mean people that left comments or sent me private emails. When compared to my other blogs which receive a lot more traffic, the response rate was much higher.

That plus this recognition makes me think that perhaps I was contributing something to the world and I should continue.

The funny thing about this is that I will likely move my new project to a brand new blog and thus have two blogs - enough that if they were people they could conspire - cultivating "Ray," my anonymous persona. This is funny because I've been working on my real person in much the same way - carefully cultivating my image as an authority in my field.

I may have to start a split-personality blog next.

Times up and none too soon! Things were getting silly.

1 comment:

james said...

Hi Ray,

Shiny Happy Person had a similar reaction when she won one of these awards for bipolar blogging.

http://trick-cyclingforbeginners.
blogspot.com/2007/09/
feeling-fraudulent.html
(you need to reattach this).

For what it's worth I think you should keep your current blog and do whatever you want with it. What you were going to do, as of yesterday, sounded great.

James