Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Idiot with a blog!

Actually I'm a bit late.  My first entry in this incarnation of my blog was on May 6, 2007.  It's interesting how it turned out, as in, not what I intended at all.  Sometimes if you just let things happen they way they're meant to happen, you get a bit surprised by the result. 

I intended to do two things with this blog when I created it.  One was chronicle a spiritual journey as it happened.  The journey never really happened, or at least not the way I thought it would.  So there wasn't much to chronicle there.  Occasionally I needed to re-center myself.  All I ever really did was remind myself of what I already knew. 

Two was to create some technical content.  I think I did one of those, and all it really did was point to a code project article I wrote.  That leads me to what I'm really thinking about here.

I've been pretty much absent for about a month and a half now.  I apologize to the 4 or 5 regular readers I have, and the smattering of casual readers.  This has been due to a couple of things.  In my last post I hinted that something big was going to happen, but I couldn't talk about it yet.  I couldn't talk about it because I couldn't be sure that people at my job didn't read my blog and that the information wouldn't get to people who could make things hard for me.  Let me try that again.....

I was about to quit and I didn't want management to know. 

There, that was much simpler.

An opportunity came up, and (for me, at least) it was big.  I try to avoid mentioning my employer's names in my blog, mainly because I'd rather that the content here didn't embarrass them.  That's probably even more important now, because this is a consulting job, so public appearance is even more important that it was before.  So I'll suffice it to say, that it's a well known company, with a handful of Microsoft MVPs, some .NET rockstars, and, as of about 8:00 this morning, me.

Oh, and they're in Minnesota.  That's right, I moved for this job.  I moved a long frakin' way away for this job.  I got the hell out of Kansas.  Don't get me wrong, I actually kind of like Kansas, even if there isn't much to do there.  That's what the Internet is for, right?  So here I am in a little tiny studio apartment in Minneapolis trying to find a house to buy while my wife tries to sell the one back in Kansas.  We're getting along pretty well lately.  Who knew all I needed to do was get us out of Dodge?

So I'm at a bit of a crossroads.  The vast majority of content here if various rants, followed by a bit of spiritual dogma, with a little bit of attempted humor thrown in.  Not really what I was trying to do.  As I left my old job, I saved a couple of blog posts I had written on their tech blog, and realized that I'm not all that bad of a technical blogger, I've just never done it here.  I'd like to focus on technical content more, but I don't want to alienate the little bit of readership I've managed to acquire. So here are my options as I see them.

  1. Delete this blog.  I've put a bit of effort into the online presence known as The Cowboy, so that feels a little like shooting an old friend in the head.  I've never hidden my real identity from anybody who asked, but very few have.  In fact, if you look carefully you can actually figure out my name without even asking me.  I leave that one to the "Where's Waldo" fans out there.  If I delete this blog I'm free to create another filled with purely technical content, and become the next Robert Scoble.  Shuh, right.
  2. Create a new blog, while maintaining this one.  That feels a bit like having a split personality.  But it works.  So far this seems like the most likely prospect.  I might even link from this blog to the other occasionally, but I doubt I would link the other way.  This seems like the best way to maintain the anonymity needed to not embarrass my employer and/or get me fired while still providing you, my loyal readers, with the incredible entertainment value known as Another Idiot with a Blog.  Eh?
  3. Come out of the closet.  No, not like that, dumbass.  I mean just start posting technical content here and use my real name.  Damn the consequences.  It worked for Rory Blyth, didn't it?  He even ended up with the kickass job at Microsoft I'm so hot for.  I'm just not sure I'm that cool.  I've also given up a lot to get this job, it would really suck to blow it now.  I've also been wondering how I could use the words "suck" and "blow" in the same sentence without being crude.

Okay, loyal readers.  This is where you come in.  I need you to comment like you've never commented before.  If you want to save this blog, now is the time to speak up.  If you're a lurker, time to come out of the shadows.  Let me know how you guys feel.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the new job, Tao-co! It seems like that happened for both of us at about the same time, huh? So, what do you think of it so far? I'm very happy for you.

    As far as the 'what to do with the blog' thing, this is what I think:

    Don't delete this. This is part of who you are and who you were, and to get rid of it would be the opposite of coming out, it would be covering up who you've been and where you've been. Part of blogging is the log part. Life is a journey. Even if your blog morphs into something different/better, leave where it came from.

    Don't create a separate blog. If you didn't have time to post a ton on one, what makes you think you'd have time to maintain two? I think Rory, me, and the other blogs you and I both read show that you can keep everything under one roof. This blog is you. This is the web log of one Tao Cowboy. Tech is part of you. Ranting is part of you. Coding is part of you. Taoism is part of you. Your life, hopes, dreams, past, wants, interests, opinions, are what makes this blog interesting to your readership. This blog is it is about one person going through life.

    Whether or not you use your real name is completely irrelevant. It's a label. You can be both the Tao Cowboy and your given name at the same time. 'Keeping it real' here is what's important. Don't post for the readership, post for yourself.

    Whatever you do post about, be into it. If it's something that happened, tell all about it. If it's code, get into details. You'll lose people if you don't post (not if you vary your content). A certain kind of readership likes varied content too. I would get bored if it were always all one thing. Periods of one topic or another are one thing, but forcing yourself to post only about one thing would probably come off as forced for you... posts may even be even fewer and far between.

    If there is a single post that doesn't interest me too much, it doesn't mean I don't come back to the blog.

    In the end, do what you think will work for you in the long run. I think you have a great thing going here- you just need to post more frequently. Seriously. If you want to divide things up, there are ways to do that other than making a separate blog too- rock the categories. Make the tag cloud. Have tabbed sections. But don't make your readership have to go to more than one blog and don't make yourself have to try and post to more than one.

    And if you feel you want to revamp this blog code and look wise, go for it. It's all about the content, but sometimes it is nice to implement some fresh visual ideas... like a new coat of paint on your home. This is your home. Don't be rid of it.

    This is your spiritual (and mundane) journey.

    You just moved, new job, new start. Of course you feel like new blog too. If you do go the new blog route, then maybe buy your own domain name and have this link there, and that still link here as an archive.