Power of the Blog, A Short History

My friend Erica O’Grady and I sat together one February morning while we were both squatting in the “Tech Hostel” or more officially “Paige Craig’s beach apartment.” She said to me, “You really should have a blog. It’s a piece of you online.”

“I know, I know. I have a URL. I just haven’t set it all up yet.” I answered. See, I have blogged before. A lot actually. I was a blogger and then Lifestyle Editor for LAist from 2004-2008. I understood how a blog gains traffic and builds an audience. I also had for a long time wanted my own place on the web. I just was overwhelmed with a full-time job at a startup where I was online all the time anyway, LAist on the side, friends, boyfriend, yoga, hiking, dog, LIFE and when was I really going to blog? I journaled. Almost every night in my moleskin. Wasn’t that enough?

“No,” Erica said, “You really should just do it.” It just so happened Jonathan Dingman was also sitting around that breakfast table and said, “I can help. I can set it up for you. I can do whatever you want.” In addition to be a SEO wunder-kind and Wordpress guru, J. also has a few blogs of his own like GInside and I really knew that in order to get myself off the ground, I would need help from friends. I’m savvy, but I don’t know how to set up a blog. Once set up and running, I’m a little better, but I admit hand-holding was required.

“Pick a theme. We can customize it. Pick your content, put some sample posts together. It’s simple.” Jonathan said to me.

Well simple? I mean it’s simple to press the GO button. It’s hard to keep going at it. But you know what? I looked at Erica with all her fabulousness and Jonathan with all his kindness and generosity and I said to myself, “Today’s the day.” So I did. I did pick a theme. And Jonathan did help me set it up. He does help with plugins and things I need from time to time. He’s an amazing friend to do that for me and I can’t thank him enough because I know we’re all busy, but just think this blog might never have been without him making it seem just so easy to start. ** Now, 7 1/2 months later, I know that was the moment. **The Causemopolitan was born. I don’t have the same responsibilities I had a year ago, I do have time to write and blog and I do have things that I want to say. So I started with that. With my very first post on my very own blog, It’s About Time. Yes I had a Tumblr, yes I had dabbled in other blogs, but this one was going to be different! This was going to be my voice online.

So here’s what I would like to say: My life is forever changed for taking that leap of faith and starting to trust myself enough to push the “publish” button. A blog is one in a million right? Just a small post-it note on a HUGE wall of post-its. But my little post it, my little spot, has come to mean the world to me. It brings validation to what I do, it gives me a voice to fundraise for projects I believe in (like my Kiva Fellowship and Cause It’s My Birthday), it gives me a platform to share pictures and videos and stories from my travels. Most of all, it connects me with YOU. And that’s huge. I have made a whole new circle of friends, of people that reach out to me, of people in the cause space, based on taking the time to sit down and write out my thoughts in more than 140 and putting them together with some semblance of syntax and proper grammar and pushing publish. It’s amazing.

I’ve had fun with it. I’ve written what I wanted. And that’s been big for me. I haven’t put too much pressure on the content, because I want to get to where I actually find myself now - needing to share, to write, to express something going on. I really truly enjoy being here in the Wordpress backend typing away, or typing in Word to put into a post, or jotting notes in a notebook and writing about them later. It’s become, and maybe not forever, but for this moment in time, very much a part of me.

It was my first time at Blog World Expo this past week in Vegas (I’ll be writing a post tomorrow about my takeaways from there) and I didn’t make it to a ton of panels. I caught up with old friends. I met new friends. I met people who read my blog. I met people who came up to me and said, “Happy Birthday!” or “How was Kiva?” or “I loved your essay on being 30.” And as it happened again and again, I just thought to myself, I’ve got something here. I’ve worked to build a community and to reach people and it’s working. Eyeballs are coming here. Not a million, but more than a few. My numbers are climbing. My motivation to write good content and tell stories and share adventures is growing. All of those things are happening and it all started with one February morning when I was with two friends and said, “Today is the day.”

If you like this post, you might like: Six Months and Counting, Part 1. Philanthropy In Five Series Charity Smackdown: Team Brea FTW!

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