Friday, January 22, 2010

Indiana Blogger Gets Discovered; Loads Up Truck for D.C.

Today I write to offer hope to the millions of us who labor in obscurity on our blogs. One of our ilk has just hit the big time. And he's my co-godparent.

For close to a decade, Sean Medlock anonymously (and unbeknownst to us all) wrote a right-leaning political blog under the pseudonym of Jim Treacher. Then one recent day Tucker Carlson, editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, came calling. The grapevine has it that he flew to Indy to meet Sean, liked him, and then immediately flew him to D.C. to meet the staff.

So as of January 10, Jim Treacher has his own column, "The DC Trawler," on The Caller's site. Nobody is more amazed about his good fortune than Sean himself. "Isn't this crazy?" he asked me over Twitter last night. "It's happening to me and I don't even believe it."

I asked Sean to share a tweet of advice for all of the bloggers who aspire to go big with their writing, and he responded in classic Jim Treacher style:

Write every day. Or as often as you can. Okay, at least once a month. If possible. Maybe. Crap, I'm no good at advice.

But it sounds solid to me. I look forward to reading more of his adventures as the self-dubbed "Farmy McRube" acclimates himself to the beltway. But I don't plan on talking politics with him at Zack's next birthday party. Looks like we've got a Carville/Matalin problem going on (in which I am the scary cajun Jack Skeleton lookalike).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gearing Up for the Wisconsin Careers Conference

A week from today I'll be hitting the road with my coworker Bob, bound for Madison and the Wisconsin Careers Conference. This will be my first time at this conference (nay, my first time to even set foot in the state), even though it's been buzzing along happily without my presence for the last 24 years.

The thought of heading north in January has always made me seize up. But ever since I took over our workbooks a couple of years ago, I have felt that I wasn't quite in touch with the people who use those books. This conference is aimed at K-14 teachers, HR professionals, counselors and guidance staff, college and university educators and advisors, career counselors, career center personnel, and many others. So this is a great opportunity to immerse myself in their community.

JIST will be well represented there in addition to Bob in the booth and me in the sessions. Coworker/author Laurence Shatkin will be one of the featured speakers, sharing his research on the Best Jobs for Renewing America. Author Richard Deems will be leading a roundtable on his Job Loss Reaction Cycle (which is featured in his book, Make Job Loss Work for You). Our assessment guru, John Liptak, is hosting a roundtable on integrating spirituality into career counseling. And authors Bob Orndorff and Dick Gaither will be presenting preconference workshops. I'm looking forward to taking them all to dinner or lunch at some point in the conference.

I'm planning to bring along my laptop and tweet up a storm about what I'm learning. So look for me on Twitter next Tuesday and Wednesday (@loricateshand).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why I'm Now Moderating Comments on This Blog

I'll start by saying that this blog has never been a hotbed for comments. Sure, there have been some great comments by loyal readers and many good discussions have arisen. I also enjoy the occasional anonymous tipsters who drop by with a little inside info on the industry--very illuminating. And some of the best discussions have occurred over e-mail and Facebook with people I met through this blog that I now consider personal friends (Katharine, Mark, and Krisan, I'm talking about you!). So comment moderation really hasn't been much of an issue.

Right off the bat, I did set up a captcha so that only real people--and not spambots--would be commenting. That has helped tremendously. But what I didn't count on were the so-called SEO bloggers who are real people that go around comment-spamming relevant blogs. For a long time, I just went in and deleted these types of comments.

But back in November, an industrious spammer in Mumbai took a fancy to Publishing Careers and was daily posting the same spam on different entries. One day he or she was posting them faster than I could delete them, and we were doing battle in real-time. I decided to turn on comment moderation, which means that I get to reject comments before they are posted. Immediately, my spammer went away. I might never find and delete all of that spam, but at least I've stemmed the tide.

With this new "power" comes responsibility, of course. Do I go ahead and allow comments that are critical of me? And what do I do in cases where I really can't tell whether the commenter is sincere or just a very sly spammer? I promise to post all but the most obscene criticism, and to do my best to separate the spammers from the true commenters. And I promise not to let comments sit too long in moderation limbo.

Thanks for reading. Sorry I have been a lax poster as of late.