1) Why I blog?

Hi Jennifer and class! I have admittedly started up blogs in the past, but had inevitably run out of material or had not developed a routine - so there have been a handful of non-starters.

This time around, my blog (http://www.projectidwil.com) is just a piece of a bigger vision that I am working toward. I like thinking about it as "building a mosaic" to illustrate my bigger 'idea.' Each post might not be directly related to the others, but in time, they all come together to provide a message that is rich and diverse. Because this blog (as opposed to the old failures) is a vehicle to help deliver something I am passionate about, I am confident that it with thrive.

I am psyched about this Skillshare class because I am not afraid to admit that I need help in building the community that I envision. From reading some of these posts, I know that I am in good company!

I look forward to getting to know all of you.

2) Submit 3 exemplary blog posts.

Recent posts that stick out in my mind:

"I KNEW Argo Would Win Best Picture Before You Did."
I liked this one because she surprised me with the title. I thought it would be a personal discussion about the specific movie, but she turned it around into a lesson.

"The Daily Checklist"
Zenhabits is a blog that is a nice place to check in with once in awhile. Since the content is consistent about advice and habits to lead to a more peaceful mind, it is hard to single out a specific post, but this was one of the first one I readand the premise is so stripped down and simple that it has stuck with me.

"Cool Infographics: State of the Union Address"
By trade, I am a graphics guy - specifically presentation graphics. So I appreciated this breakdown of the President’s use of supporting graphics during his recent address.

3) Early this week, take what you learned from your 3 exemplary posts and apply it to your own post. Include the same basic elements in your own engaging blog post.

What did you write about?

I wrote about a story of a networking lunch that I helped make happen, but it was for the benefit of my niece as opposed to my own professional networking. As it was happening, I was amazed to see how a relatively innocuous lunch was such a perfect example of what the larger Project:IDWIL is all about - connections and sharing, even when you can't predict who will be inspired and to what degree!

From the discussions regarding the exemplary posts, I focused on a conversational feel, tried a little bit of humor, tied my story to my overarching theme/message, made sure to include a call to action to promote reader comments, and included links to various other media outlets tied to Project:IDWIL

Tell us and share the link to your blog post.

Link to Blog post: http://projectidwil.com/blog/2013/03/inspiration-though-connection.html

Here is the post in it's entirety:

Inspiration Through Connection

Yesterday was a day that I was looking forward to because I had an important lunch. 

...not particularly important for me, but for my niece, Lauren. This meet up was just a last minute idea I had to give Lauren an introduction to some guys I work with that might be able to provide career advice or, better yet, some actual connections in DC, where she would most like to end up. We all met up at Panera - me, Lauren, Matt and Paul.

The place was incredibly crowded, so once we found a free table, the introductions were easy and casual. I imagine that Lauren may have approached this informal get together with her "interview hat" on - I on the other hand was just as excited about the spinach salad and bistro french onion soup that I was waiting on! I was happy that the conversation started to flow pretty quickly.

A little background: Lauren recently finished her Master's degree (in a subject that I know so little about that I can't even properly write it here) from Georgetown. At work, I had recently interviewed my co-worker Matt for +Project:IDWIL , and he had noted that he had lived and worked in DC for a few years - even headed up some think tanks, which was the keyword that caused the lightbulb to go off in my head. I thought "I need to get Lauren to sit down with Matt one day." When I approached him and explained why I'd like him to talk with my niece, he immediately agreed and suggested that I invite Paul, who is a political advisor that we work with. "Okay," I said, "if you say so." Paul was happy to oblige.

Back to Panera: The amazing part for me was that once I made the initial introduction, my part in this whole thing was done. Like Mike Meyers' Linda Richmond character, I put these people together gave them the subject of "ideas for Lauren" and said "Discuss!" I drank my coffee, no big whoop. I sat there listening and tried to keep up, but the information was so beyond my scope of knowledge that it didn't take long until I had given up and just chose to enjoy my You Pick 2. Normally, I would try to at least learn something new in that kind of situation, but it wasn't about me (and I was starving!). However, I had a flash, and I knew that this was one of the reasons why I created Project:IDWIL. How could I have overlooked this in all of the planning? In the past, one of the knee-jerk answers to 'why I am creating Project:IDWIL?' is: "look, I realize that I can provide a lot of information for my daughters when it comes to some things they can pursue in life, but for the things that I can't, I want to build this tool - IDWIL - so that when I have run out of the information that they seek, I can then introduce them to an expert in the thing that they want to learn more about."

This was happening - right in front of my eyes, and I couldn't have had any more warm fuzzies than I was experiencing right then.

I watched Lauren - I've known her for years. I know how intelligent she is. I know that she probably gets bored talking with me because even though we relate on certain levels, I can't even participate in the political discussions that are obviously "her element." But here, at this lunch, she could talk politics with these guys in a language that she must really miss while she is back in the rural midwest. Some clever anecdote would be made and they would chuckle - I would smile as well (a second too late, of course!) - but little did they know that I was just thinking about how clever I had been to make such a good iced coffee!

In the end, connections were made. As I've written about this before, connecting friends with the ideas, songs, shows, movies, apps, websites, blogs, etc. that I know will resonate with them is something I absolutely love to do! In this case, I hope that the selfless result was that Lauren got new ideas for pursuing her career and the selfish result is that she thinks of me in a positive way - that I knew some interesting people that could be a great connection for now as well as in her future.

What are some connections or referrals that you have made with others? Or connections / referrals that had been made to you that are memorable? Leave your stories in the comments below.

If you enjoy these blog posts, support what +Project:IDWIL is about, or even just know Jake, please use the tools/icons in the top right of the page to Add this to your circles; Subscribe to the RSS feed; Like Project:IDWIL on FacebookFollow @ProjectIDWIL on TwitterFollow on Pinterest


I have just done my standard workflow on this, but there is plenty for me to learn, and I look forward to suggestions!

  1. In Blogger, my blog was set up to share via G+ as soon as I posted or edited
  2. I would then create a shortened link via bit.ly
  3. Use the shortened link to post links on facebook (personal account and Page) with a short message to tempt people to read the post
  4. Use the shortened link to tweet from personal account and Project:IDWIL account

Not specific to an individual post, I have been searching for like-minded blogs via google.com/blogsearch and commented with appropriate feedback and not referring to my blog, but just make sure that I can attach my blog to my comment-identity.

Honestly, the most traffic I have had has come from being part of this class.

On the side, I have established (but not populated) accounts for Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn that I plan to leverage once more established.


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