Saturday, December 31, 2005

Reflecting Back On 2005

In my last post, I took a look forward to next year. Now, before 2006 becomes a reality, I'm going to look back at the things that impacted my blog and my life in general.

Getting A Job

When I started this blog, I was out of school and unemployed. Writing this blog helped me cope with the troubles I had in finding a job. So, when I actually finally got a semi-permanent job, things were going to change. Overall, I'm a bit happier than I was when I was unemployed. I can actually pay some of my debts. I have a little money where I can splurge once in a while and buy something for me. I can contribute to the household by helping to pay some bills every so often and by filling up my dad's gas tank once or twice a month. At the same time, having a job meant that I couldn't update the blog as much. Ideally, I want to update at least once a day, but sometimes that wasn't possible because I would be way too tired to write much of anything. Also, I've agonized over how much I blog about my job. With all the horror stories of workers getting fired over their blogs I'd sometimes get a little paranoid about what I post about my workplace.

However, I've found a happy medium in regards to both blogging about my job and blogging while having a job. I do most of my blog writing on my days off (such as today) and I make sure to never mention anyone I work with by name. Frankly, I'd rather have to do stuff like this than be unemployed again.

Gaining Exposure (But Not Necessarily Visitors)

In terms of getting my name out there, 2005 was a big year for me. It all started when I decided to join That was probably the best decision I made all year. Being a member of that site has exposed my writing to a much larger audience than has ever visited this blog. I have posted more than 70 articles to that site and most of them were posted here as well. I have seen some of my articles syndicated to the network of sites and I have seen various other sites actually link to my articles as well. To go from only friends, family, and some lucky visitors view my writing to potentially tens of thousands of people is quite a jump.

I must admit, though, that it took me a little while to get adjusted to that. I've found that writing articles for BC does not necessarily translate to more people visiting my blog and that kind of frustrated me. Then, I was worried about my blog becoming a carbon copy of the kind of stuff I would post for Blog Critics. If everything I posted onto my blog was also posted to Blog Critics, what incentive would anyone have to visit my blog? Ultimately, I got over all of that and I am content with being a Blog Critic.

While Blog Critics may have been the biggest way for me to gain exposure, it wasn't the only one. In 2005, I also joined a website called as well as The Niggerati Network. Being part of both of these sites has definitely been a good experience, even if I haven't been able to contribute as much content as I would like.

Also, in a side note, I had two experiences this year that taught me the consequences of increased exposure. First, I managed to get a TV creator's attention by saying some not-exactly-good things about his yet-to-air show. Then, a reporter from a well-known entertainment magazine contacted me for an interview. Unfortunately, I screwed that up and likely screwed up my best chance for getting more people to know about this blog.

Increased exposure means that I can no longer post things without someone possibly noticing. I'm no longer that anonymous and I have to be at least a little bit careful in what I post. Yet, that doesn't mean that I'm going to get jittery or yellow-bellied about every single post. I'm going to be as true to myself as I can...even if that means I don't always come off looking good.


It's a very cool idea. Send a mix CD anonymously to the person you're assigned to while you receive one yourself. Everyone posts the song list of their mystery mix CD on a predetermined date on their blog and visits others' blogs searching for the list to the CD they received...and checking out the blogs in the process.

Mixmania, the brainchild of Jim at Patriside, has been a ton of fun for me to be a part of ever since the first incarnation this past spring. Each CD I've received has had music I don't normally listen to. In turn, I've rediscovered the joy of making mix CDs and people out there have had the chance to get an idea of my diverse (and maybe sometimes a little odd) music tastes.

I've discovered some good blogs in the process but I've also interacted with people pretty different from myself. Jim, for example, is white, a single father and of an entirely different generation than I am. However, we've been able to find common ground in a love of music (oh, and our political views).

I don't know how many more of these there will be. At the very least, though, the Mixmanias I have been a part of have been a great way expand my horizons and to interact with other people in the blogosphere.

In The End...

2005 was a pretty good year for me and for this blog. If the things I mentioned in my 2006 Sneak Peek post turn out well, 2006 could end up being another great year. However, it does give me pause to think back on things such as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the continuing War in Iraq. While 2005 was a good year for me personally, it wasn't necessarily a good year on a national scale. I hope things will get better for our country in 2006 financially, politically, and culturally.

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