The Daily Thought, summarized:
Just like when I reached 100 posts, let's do a scorecard.
- Post a new thought every day, for one year. SUCCESS!, unmitigated, I'm really proud of this.
- Don't regurgitate other news stories or blogs without adding value. success, I never slipped into the “me too” style of blogging.
- Keep it short. success, Entries have been a good length, see more below in stats
- Deliver original thoughts. success, while I can't claim that no one else has shared the thoughts expressed here, I can say with confidence that I didn't lift the idea of others, all the ideas here, the good ones, the bad ones, the smart ones, the silly ones, surfaced organically in my head.
- Keep it general. success, I'd be confident citing all these blog posts at a dinner party of smart friends, no matter from what industries or backgrounds they hail.
- Learn something new every day. success, this blog has been a huge learning experience for me, as outlined more below
- Capture thoughts I expect to be valuable. success, in fact, I think if this blog has any legacy, it will be as a diary to myself, things to remind myself of in the future
- Share with others. failure, with no commentary, and a stagnant readership, this blog doesn't “have legs”, and remained for the most part a personal experience rather than a social one. I could certainly have done more (included sharing options, integrated better with the Facebook/Twitter ecosystem, cross-posted on other blogs more often), but ultimately I didn't find myself driven by a need for people to participate in order to feel satisfied with the experience of just writing.
- I wrote almost 50,000 words, 200 pages, a paperback novel's worth of writing!
- The longest thought was Regarding Twitter at 2,079 words (I find that satisfyingly ironic)
- The shortest thought was The Best Bar, weighing in at a measly 11 words
- The average length was 133 words, or 812 characters, and the distribution was pretty regular over the course of the year.
Thoughts on Thoughts
So what have I noticed after a year of this?
- I ended up writing a lot of advice to myself, which I didn't expect when I started, but I think will prove valuable (or at least humorous) when I look back at it years from now.
- I like having a central web presence, it was the first time I could put a URL confidently down in my LinkedIn profile, email footers, and when commenting on other blogs. I like that my web presence is mine alone, and isn't a Facebook or Twitter URL, call me old-fashioned.
- I fear that no focus on any particular topic meant no one actually could get invested in the blog. Niche blogging will always get more readers.
- Publishing daily thoughts is more self-indulgent and less admirable than I thought it would be, which didn't feel so nice.
- I'm probably unhealthily obsessed with self-improvement (“personal development” is the single most published category in the last year, save for the catch-all category “life”), and I could see myself writing self-help books if it paid half as well as being an internet executive.
- This blogging format encourages sloppy writing, not well referenced or researched, and not well edited. I take enough pride in my writing that it was tough to watch it degenerate in those ways.
- You'd think that after a year, I'd be better at capturing thoughts out of my head and not forgetting them before I write them down, but I have moments literally every day where I think, “Ooh, what was that thought I just had? I meant to capture that for the blog!”
- It's humbling to consider just how few thoughts are really original. Most of the philosophical or personal development thoughts on this blog have no doubt been thought before. Heck, take nametag day, it wasn't just someone else's thought, it actually exists.
- The longer an idea gets left on the shelf before I flesh it out in a post, the worse the post. The best ones are ones that I force myself to articulate fully on the spot, while the thought is fresh. There's probably some really important lesson to take away from that when working on things that are more important than a blog.
- I'm a funnier guy than this blog would have you believe. I don't know why all the thoughts I feel like sharing are so serious. I'm at least 50th percentile on the silly/funny scale, but this blog is hovering around the 20th percentile. Shame on me.
- While I've enjoyed getting my thoughts down in writing, my natural strengths lie in influencing through lively face-to-face discussion, not through words online.
- Ultimately, it's not the thoughts that matter, it's what you do with them.
This blog will stay alive for a while, although I may consolidate it to a new URL in 2011, and continue to blog as I see fit. I do enjoy having a formal online presence, but only time will tell if I feel compelled to continue building that presence through blogging.
Farewell to my readers, please stay in touch, and thanks for participating in my successful experiment.