Category Archives: Thinking

The death of Google reader and a personal pledge

Today I learned that Google has decided to kill Google Reader. I knew it was coming, but find it heartbreaking none the less.

I’ve been an avid Reader user since 2006 and am better about going through my entire Reader feed than any inbox I’ve ever had (I will not include voicemail inboxes though because that would be a joke)*. I currently subscribe to 121 blogs through Reader with categories for People I Know, favorite food blogs, top news outlets, and obviously much much more. I can’t imagine too many good friends of mine haven’t received an article I sent straight from Reader to them (afterall, email is the original form of digital social sharing…) What I fail to understand is why Google has put little effort into improving Reader in all this time.

Digital content consumption is increasing; mobile content consumption is increasing exponentially, and Google never once created an app or made it easier to check one’s Reader feed on the fly. You have a platform where people are committed to reading and sharing their favorite content regularly, but it’s not integrated with any social network other than Google+. In a blog post for my previous job, I suggested pulling Reader into Google+ as I’m confident that would have actually turned a committed base of passionate Reader users into Google+ users.

Instead, as part of spring cleaning, Google has killed the service that is my lifeline to my favorite sites and writers. It was, in particular, a friend to sites like mine — where a writer posts erratically as my (few but committed) readers didn’t have to remember to check back.

The cold-blooded murder of Google Reader combined with an email from WordPress that my domain mapping expired did, however, trigger a reminder that much as Google is doing “spring cleaning” of services so they’re not spread too thin, I should do the same. If I’m going to keep this site attached to my name, I need to write on it.

I used to love blogging because it was a space where I could share the things I loved, my random and scattered thoughts, and had an opportunity for more creative expression than I get in my day job. I loved the feedback from friends, family, and strangers; I’m still flattered that just in the last month three or four people have asked me why I’m not blogging more.

The truth is: this (formerly) safe space has felt less safe to me. While putting yourself out there publicly immediately opens you up to criticism, it’s hurtful to know that there are people who are sitting, searching my name, and sharing the things I write or say with mean commentary and chalking my posts up to “Gen Y Ramblings.” It made me question what was worthy of posting if it was going to be read a thousand times by people and over-critiqued for secret meanings.

How silly though — to let someone who devotes energy to unkind thoughts ruin a place where I was able to share my well-intentioned ones! My extended family has an amazing saying: “not my pig, not my farm” and I’ve chosen to apply it here: the hateful words and feelings of others are their problem… as is their wasted energy.

I am, technically, a Millennial and I do ramble and overuse ellipses and cheat and use bullets when I can’t handle real sentences. With that in mind, I hereby pledge to not let fear of others’ stop me from using a space that has maintained friendships, annoyed my mother, and kept me sane.

Not my pig, not my farm

*Seriously, please don’t leave me voicemails. I will reply to your email. Promise.

UPDATE: This post on Google Reader is amazing. And should be reason enough for Google to keep the service.

Karen 2.9: A Collection of Updates

Long time no see, WordPress! I’ve had trouble blogging the last few months partly because I knew I’d be moving and changing jobs but didn’t know when or where… and then once I did, it was all-consuming to actually make the move and start the new job. As a cheat sheet to my life changes, in the last month, I’ve:

  • Moved from Washington, DC to southeastern Michigan.
  • Left Ogilvy and joined Ford Motor Company.
  • Acquired the world’s most adorable puppy, Pepper:

Most of the changes may have seemed a little sudden, especially to those who know how much I loved working at Social@Ogilvy and my New York friends who I repeatedly promised I’d be moving to be with shortly (potentially for the last two years). However, I am so proud to get to work for Ford and take on a new challenge for an organization I already love and respect.

Anyway, I’m here, I’m mostly moved in, and I have a guest room and membership in a wine club: so book your tickets to DTW, friends!

Yesterday was my 29th birthday and 0 gray hairs were found… ego and sanity therefore remain in tact! As I am older and wiser, here are a few things I learned in my 28th year:

  1. You should get a dog even if everyone tells you it’s wildly impractical. That adorable face above also comes with a nervous and scared 11 week old puppy who barks at the shower, is not yet housebroken, and is teething (hey there Cole Haan, I’m sorry Pepper has no respect for your lovely shoes). At the end of the day though, it’ll take me a while to make new friends so it’s good that I have someone forced to love me as I’m the hand that feeds her.
  2. “It’s not personal, it’s business,” is not a realistic statement if you truly love your job. I cried saying goodbye and thank you to way too many wonderful colleagues. Working at Ogilvy was such an incredible personal experience as well as professional: I met some of my best friends there, I experienced the benefits of amazing mentoring, and I was given opportunities for work and professional growth that I can’t imagine getting anywhere else… how could saying goodbye and deciding to leave not be something personal at that point?
  3. Embrace the art of stress-free productivity. 8 months ago, I completely reorganized my life and changed how I manage every single personal and professional input. Since that moment, I’ve woken up every day feeling completely in control and having healthy perspective of the work in front of me. If you’re not feeling that way, read David Allen’s Getting Things Done, declare inbox bankruptcy, and spend 2 days offline getting your life together. It will be the best thing you do for your own sanity. Promise.
  4. As they get older, parents are terrible about asking for help. Twice in the last few months, I’ve decided to go home to help my parents with a move and an injury. I was never asked, but I can’t imagine not having gone or having left them to deal with those moments alone. In the future, I’ll try harder to read between the lines so that I don’t miss future moments where I could be helpful.
  5. Accept when you want to nest. As much as I love New York and all my friends there, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have a full kitchen and spare bedroom and my own laundry room. Those were items that didn’t make it on my decision-making spreadsheet, but the more I thought about where I wanted to be, they helped make this move just feel right.

Hopefully my next post won’t take quite so long… especially as I have much to say about reality tv, newly discovered wines, and the many brushes with nature my new Pure Michigan life brings me:

Links of the week: Fashionable old ladies, a foie gras bucket list, the cause of burnout, Darren Criss seduces us all, and more…

Some things I loved this week:

  • Someone is making a documentary about fashion-conscious older women in Manhattan. (Hat tip to Barbs who noted when she shared that we should aspire to be the two women in the big sunglasses)

People with last names beginning with letters later in the alphabet tended to jump on [deals, opportunities, and rewards] much faster in fear of missing out. The study believes this fear was cultivated by always being in the back of the line, causing the lower-lettered last name subjects to concern themselves with being too late to the party.


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