Archive for May, 2007

Blogging Brainstorming Help

I am toying with the idea of testing the problogging waters – writing a topic-focused blog, promoting it, monetizing it, and seeing if it can become a self-supporting endeavor.

Interestingly enough, although I’m typically quite decisive, I have a hard time defining a subject area… my native perfectionism is sabotaging me. I can’t really pin anything down that meets my criteria – and thanks to eMoms at Home for the great supporting article on the subject:

It must be:

  • Broad enough audience appeal to attract sufficient traffic
  • Both narrow enough that it’s marketable and topic specific, yet wide enough that I can write fresh content about it regularly
  • A growing field or industry, not declining
  • Subject matter I care about and am sufficiently knowledgeable about to write on
  • A concept that lends itself to connecting and community building

So what do I know?

  • Project management (niche audience)
  • Business writing (ugh – boring)
  • Telecom & IT (boring)
  • Being a woman in business (saturated market)
  • Creative/artistic type stuff (limited niche audience)
  • Dogs (limited niche audience – boring)

It almost the equivalent of being struck by lightning for a general, daily life, non-topic-focused blog to succeed wildly, like Dooce or Xiaxue. Those ladies are pretty amazing, but I have no interest in emulating their version of cold fusion in a Dixie cup.

Why am I interested in this? A month or so ago I published a Why I Blog post – I do it because I love to write, and also because I enjoy being a part of the user content-driven renaissance that is Web 2.0. Jumping on board that groundswell of fundamental change in the nature of the Internet and its business model in a more substantive way intrigues me.

So, I’d appreciate any ideas, suggestions or comments from readers – wild, crazy, silly, sensible, random or otherwise.

Thanks!

Posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2007 by Jeri
Under: communication, inspiration | 11 Comments »

Networking with LinkedIn

Planet EarthI am trying out a new professional networking site called LinkedIn. What is it? From the ‘About’ page:

LinkedIn is an online network of more than 11 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. Through your network you can:

  • Find potential clients, service providers, subject experts, and partners who come recommended
  • Be found for business opportunities
  • Search for great jobs
  • Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
  • Post and distribute job listings
  • Find high-quality passive candidates
  • Get introduced to other professionals through the people you know

The basic service is free, but it’s missing some very key elements necessary to using the service. The minimum functional service is $20/mo.

In a half hour of searching, I found dozens of people I know at my company and partner companies. If I connect to 20 professionals – and they each have 20 networking contacts – then that’s 400 potential professional introductions right there for projects, business opportunities, jobs, mentoring, and more. At least that’s the concept.

Some of the big names in business, like Guy Kawasaki, highly endorse LinkedIn and have written posts about how to get the most from the network. Conversely, others like blogger guru Robert Scoble hate it.

I’ve signed up, created a profile, and started connecting to people. It’ll be interesting to see whether this is helpful to my professional life or ends up being just a time drain.

Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: work | 4 Comments »

My Friend’s Child

One of my colleagues, Christy, is a mom with a 2 year old baby girl and a 6 year old little boy. In what has to be every parent’s worst nightmare, her little boy Bryant has just been diagnosed with fairly advanced cancer – acute, stage III lymphoblastic lymphoma.

This weekend they flew down here to Seattle, and Bryant was admitted to Seattle Children’s Hospital. The parents are staying in the amazing Ronald McDonald House, and their lives are governed, now, by hospital visiting hours, doctors’ rounds and chemotheraphy schedules.

Apparently the long term survival rate for this type of cancer is quite high, even at Stage III or IV – some references give the average patient 75-90% odds of beating the disease. That’s great news, as long as you’re not one of the 10-25% who has issues. For more information, and to support research toward a cure for everyone, go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation.

From my reading, typical treatment is chemotherapy, both intravenously and via injection into the spinal canal, for up to 18-24 months. It can also include radiation therapy, depending on the symptoms. That’s an awful lot to put a little six year old, 55-lb body and spirit through!

I can’t even begin to imagine what they are feeling. It must be overwhelmingly difficult for a mother to remain cheerful, matter-of-fact and courageous for the child, in the face of her worst fears.

I’ve sat bedside vigil with both of my children as they’ve been hospitalized with serious medical issues – asthma and epilepsy, respectively – but both have been fairly immediately treatable and neither of those medical conditions have the grave burden of terrifying prognosis and long, arduous, invasive treatment. I would be cheerful and positive in the room with them, but the sight of my once-healthy son, pale and raccoon-eyed, painfully dragging an oxygen canister down the hall with him to the pediatric play area reduced me to tears in the bathroom more than once.

I personally tend to fight my fear, find hope, and feel a sense of control in information. I’m sure that Children’s Hospital is a great place, it has a very solid reputation, but at best hospitals are bureaucratic, ponderous and miserly with information. You can spend all day, hours building on hours, waiting without a bathroom break for a really critical detail that never ends up in your hands. I hope they receive the best support in the world from the medical staff at Children’s Hospital – answers to their questions, hope for their fears, and the physical assistance they need to make it through this long ordeal.

As a mom, I wish Christy all the courage, grace and hope in the world. I want her to feel free to question, cry, pray, and shout at the heavens when she needs to; hopefully, she can find some space where she can do just that.

Most importantly, I wish them well, in the most literal sense of the word.

Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: health | 4 Comments »

Faithless Wench

BoatThe freaking boat wouldn’t start.

It did just fine two weeks ago, when Bryan was prepping it for the season – but today, nada, no go, zip. Just click click click and a pitiful little cough.

Dang it all! It takes weeks to schedule a boat mechanic at this time of year.

It’s a good thing she looks good docked.

Posted on Monday, May 28th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: boating | 6 Comments »

The Better Half

A couple of days ago, I read a very powerful blog post by Joss Whedon, creator of the awesome Firefly and Buffy series.

The post – read it! – talks about the status of women in our society. Recently, he saw graphic Internet video footage of the brutal ‘honor killing’ by stoning of a young woman in Northern Iraq. During the same time frame, he came across a preview for a Hollywood feature film where a young woman is kidnapped, tortured and murdered.

He asks – and I ask too – why are women in our society seen as flawed and ready victims? Perhaps, in a religious sense, it goes all the way back to the concept of original sin – and in a secular sense, there are all sorts of issues related to fear, dependence and objectification.

Our culture seems to glory in violence, in stories, songs and media that make women weak and desperate and sorry.

There are women in less egalitarian cultures that are being killed, battered, mutilated and deprived of the most basic freedoms every day within and outside the legal system. Even in our Western culture, I have online and real life friends that have been battered both physically and verbally/emotionally by their partners. Most women I know still earn $0.70-0.80 on the dollar and have limited opportunity compared to their male counterparts.

Why in the world do we tolerate this? Why do we accept any cultural definition that says half the world’s talent, brainpower, skills and heart are somehow less worthy of value and respect?

But we do. And then we even allow an outspoken few to glorify it under the banner of “freedom of speech” by making obscenely, graphically misogynistic media for public release. Some watch it, cringing, like we watch a wreck on the highway, cringing, as we drive by. It finds an audience.

And the cycle continues. Where will this end? What will we become?

As Joss says, it’s no longer enough to shake our head. When we ignore the injustice, the horror, the brutality, it continues to flourish. Do something – anything! Act locally. Act globally. Give. Serve. Write. Pray.

Joss’s blog has a link to one organization. There are many, many other service agencies out there for women and children – just search.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
  ~ Edmund Burke

Posted on Sunday, May 27th, 2007 by Jeri
Under: inspiration | Comments Off