Monthly Archives: November 2008

Day 60: Blog Launch, Anyone?

Tonight, I attended the launch party for National Journal’s “Under the Influence” Blog, which promises an inside view of the Lobbying and Advocacy industry. A colleague of mine was supposed to go, but ended up being out of town so she asked that I step in and represent our firm.

I truly try to live by the motto of “Do at least ONE thing each day that scares you”, so when I couldn’t find someone to come with me, I decided that I would uphold my commitment and go on my own…

Have you ever walked into a room of people all chatting in groups and not known a soul? It is a most unnerving feeling and uncomfortable enough that I almost turned right around and walked back to my apartment without a backward glance.

But, I knew I just had to step up so I found a group of guys and asked them where they had gotten their nametags.  Cheesy, I know, but kind of ingenious at the same time, right? After they pointed me in the right direction (and which I promptly ignored), I asked some more question before ‘fessing up to being completely alone and feeling awkward… Which led to a really nice conversation with one of them.

It turns out that the person I was speaking had a lot of coworkers attending the event as well so I actually got to talk to with a good number of people. (One actually said, “Hey, you should really meet Brian… He…” – So stereotypical of how networking works!)

All in all, at the end of the night, I left with a sense of accomplishment – I proved to myself once again that I can rise to the occasion when I challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.

I mean, isn’t that why I left my life in Boston, a life that was good enough, to come to DC and see if I can make an even better life here? And that’s what I should remind myself when I start worrying whether I’ll end up settling in my life… I should know myself better to know that I will never be content with mediocrity.

Anyway, excuse the sappiness. I did want to share a few of my thoughts from the blog launch since the scene was so DC:

  • I know that the launch party was just an excuse to throw a happy hour and to get people to talk about the blog, but NO ONE THERE TALKED ABOUT THE BLOG! (Unless I missed it!) I would have expected someone to make a little speech and to possibly even have print-outs of recent blog posts.
  • I spoke to someone who kept looking around the room as he talked to me. Seriously, I know that I’m probably not the person that you’re trying to “connect with”, but show me some courtesy!
  • Someone asked me if my firm leaned one way or the other. The way they phrased it is so typical of this city. Being from Massachusetts, I grew up with the silly notion that we should be accepting of everyone for who they are rather than for their demographic affiliations. So, a) it’s hard for me to remember if/that my firm’s clients lean a certain way politically, b) understand why it matters.
  • I felt a bit naive because I really was only there, from my understanding, to support an organization’s new endeavor and, perhaps, meet some people. However, it seems like most there had an agenda – whether it was to speak to some press, to try to seek out some business, etc.
  • I have so much to learn about the non-profit / advocacy / public affairs scenes, it’s not even funny. The whole thing is COMPLETELY different from the technology start-up world I’ve been living in!

Where’s Your Contact Info?

Yesterday, in my professional capacity, I needed to contact a variety of bloggers directly. As I tried to navigate the blogs in question, I realized that one overlooked aspect of blog design is how/where to display contact information.

Openness is an inherent aspect of blogging; you’re putting your opinions, thoughts and knowledge for the world to judge, inspect and interpret… We include links to our twitter accounts, our linkedin profiles, even our pandora radio stations. (Side note: Yay for the power of threes!) Yet, bloggers as a whole seem hesitant to provide their e-mail addresses.

We strive for comments and interaction, so why do we close ourselves off from private correspondence? Is it because of spammers? Are we scared of people getting too close? Or is our e-mail information just simply getting overlooked as we focus on all the other (social media) links we know we must remember to include?

If spammers are the problem, I found this great site: http://aruntx.com/podcast/gogage/hosting.php, which allows you to enter in your gmail address to create an image that spammers can’t “read”.

I challenge anyone who has a blog to make a conscious effort to provide their contact information in an accessible manner. I’ll start:

I hope that if you don’t feel comfortable enough to leave me a comment here, you’ll send me a private note to let me know how I’m doing. 🙂

On Being Single

I attended a dinner party on Friday that was hosted and attended by my closest friends. But I immediately realized that it was three couples… and me. When I made a comment about being the odd one out, a friend turned to me and said, “but think, you have the possibility of having a really great first kiss with someone”. While this is theoretically true, it’s hard to appreciate that when you’re the only one without a counterpart at the table…

One of my friends was laid off from his job about a month ago, and luckily, found a new job this week. If you ask him if he enjoyed his three weeks off – and who doesn’t crave three weeks off?? – he’ll tell you that he wasn’t able to take full advantage of his “vacation” because he spent it worried about being unemployed and looking for a new job.

BUT, had he known that he would have a job within the month, he would have been able to relax and fully enjoy his time off until he began his new role.

In my opinion, it’s exactly the same thing to be single. If I knew that within five years, I would find someone with whom to share my fabulous life, the fact that I’m single now would become a non-issue.

But the truth is, there aren’t any guarantees and you don’t know what the future holds. You don’t now when – and even if – you’ll meet someone… That’s why being single can be a bit stressful and worrisome… more than those who are in relationships can appreciate.