My Favorite Graphs... and the future
This blog has always been about optimism, creating better user experiences, helping users spend more time in flow, and learning. There are 405 posts here. More importantly, there are nearly 10,000 comments from y'all that add so much more to the topics, and from which myself and others have learned a great deal. I don't want the last thing people remember about this blog to be The Bad Things.
So, I've moved my original "threats" post--something many people find very difficult to look at-- to a different web page -- rather than keeping it as a post here. If you want to read the original content of the post (it lost some formatting), it's here.
But I want the thing people see when they come here now to reflect what this blog has always been about, so I'm including a few of my favorite pictures from the last two years here.
As for the future of this blog, I know I cannot just return to business as usual -- whatever absurd reasons have led to this much hatred for me (and for what I write here) will continue, so there is no reason to think the same things wouldn't happen again... and probably soon. That includes anything that raises (or maintains) my visibility, so I will not be doing speaking engagements--especially at public events. (And of course it's not just me, it's anyone with a lot of visibility. Think: Scoble. He can take it, I can't.)
I made no money from this blog -- it was always a labor of love. Contrary to what the critics have been saying, I was never on the "paid" speaking circuit, never used it to gain "lucrative consulting contracts" (or even a single contract). I don't have Amazon affiliate links... this blog was because I love helping and teaching and learning from readers.
That leaves me with... what to do next?
I have a few ideas, but I'm now asking for any suggestions OTHER than simply returning to this blog and doing what I was doing before. These are just some wild possibilities that many of you have come up with and sent me emails about. Some are more reasonable or appealing to me than others. I'd love to hear more ideas, plus thoughts on the ones listed below.
1) Get a real job doing this, so that I can continue with the same kind of work, but without raising my own visibility. In other words, it would be for a company and the focus would be off of me.
2) "Ghost write" for someone or something else. I got myself into the Technorati Top 50, I could help someone else (if it's for the right reasons) raise their readership.
3) Create a fake persona and write as that fake person. Unfortunately, almost everything I do has a look and style, and I don't think the quality of my writing is suddenly going to improve, so it would be pretty obvious that it was me. Still... a rape fantasy about a fake person who lives thousands of miles from where I do would not effect me as deeply or as personally as when the dream/imagery is about the real me I don't like this idea as much because anonymity--NOT Owning Your Own Words--is one of the biggest contributors to the problems that have driven me and thousands of others off their blogs or other online communities.
4) Turn THIS blog into a real group blog... with a LOT of authors, and I would take more of an editorial role. That way, I represent only a small percentage and the hatred/anger/threats would be more distributed. Kind of a share-the-attacks approach ; ) More like 37 Signals, less like Scoble, where all personal attacks are directed at him instead of The Blog.
5) Right now, I couldn't pay anyone else so the blog would have to be sponsored to pay other authors. I would agree to sponsorship only if it was by someone/something I already love (Apple? Adobe? Google? Anyone interested?)
(And of course I'd also need authors, so if it looks like a group blog is the way to go, there will be a call for participants)
6) Make the blog private -- where only registered members can see it. That way, it would be much more difficult (and probably less fun) for others to attack it and/or me. It would simply be a private community. My visibility would drop dramatically, yet I'd still be able to write about the same topics. This idea is one of my favorites -- but at the same time it is much less user-friendly (you'd have to log-in, no public RSS feed, etc.) and that would be a really bad idea.
7) Do something else on the blog -- podcasts, video, e-books -- something other than the posts. This might not make any difference, though. But perhaps without the words and pictures... it could just make it worse since it would still be my voice (podcast) or worse, my FACE (video), although I've considered cutting videos that wouldn't have to show me at all.
8) ? ? ?
Please help. This will be the last post here quite some time, until I figure out what to do next. Please enjoy the pictures... most of them have been inspired by y'all.
(I will leave comments open, of course, but moderate with abandon. There will be nothing nasty or personal in this thread. Like I said, I want the last thing people see on this blog to reflect the spirit of this blog and its readers.]
Death threats against bloggers are NOT "protected speech" (why I cancelled my ETech presentations)
Update: I could not bear to leave this post up on the site, as one of the last things people will see and remember about this blog -- and especially with that horrible photo. So, I have moved the post to a separate web page here. The content is exactly as it was posted, athough it lost some formatting. Comments are closed (after 1100 of them), but you can still read them here. I deleted only one comment from this thread.
Update/Joint Statement with Chris Locke
Chris Locke and I agreed to publish a statement, together (both in our own words) in advance of the story which will appear tomorrow (Monday, April 2) on CNN, at 7:20 AM (EST) on "CNN American Morning", and throughout the day on other CNN shows.
A quick explanation for the critics:
When I was first bombarded by the media about this story, I refused to answer questions. Having no media experience, I found that when you don't answer a reporter, they'll tell your story without you, so I agreed to speak with a few. When I was asked for a short CNN interview, I said that I would do it only if they would let me invite Chris Locke as well. Needless to say, everyone including Chris was stunned to hear this.
But these stories should not be about me... I am simply one of a gazillion examples about what's happening today both on and offline. Nor is it a simple Nice Vs. Bully story, and I thought having us come to an understanding would encourage others to stop fighting on either of our behalves and try to listen first, and then talk, and maybe something good and useful really will come of this.
Although I've learned a lot in the last few days, I still do not know who made the unclebobism photo post, or why, or whether that person is a real threat. That part of the story has continued to devolve in even scarier ways.
So, this is the last post I'll make for some time, and I've closed comments because I cannot keep up with the hateful ones (including those that post my home address and social security number, etc.)
I'm sure I'll be back in the future.
I appreciate the overwhelming support here and elsewhere more than I can possibly say.
I cannot thank you enough for your stories and encouragement and kind words.
I hope that people will continue talking, and with less rage on either side of the issue and more productive ideas for what to do going forward.