Mea Culpa

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What the hell is this? An advertisement?

Do you follow my blog? If you do, you know my latest post started as a humor-based personal essay and ended in a sales pitch. I tried to sell tickets to an upcoming event—a virtual author-talk by New York Times bestseller Jamie Ford. Let me assure you, I knew I was breaching accepted conventions before I even started writing.

I’ve been blogging for seven years. During that entire period, my day-job job-title has been Nonprofit Finance Director. A senior management position at three separate companies: a YWCA, a domestic violence shelter and a public library. I also endured a three-month stint at a bilingual charter school, but the executive director turned out to be the wicked witch of the east. I couldn’t leave that job fast enough.

At each of these companies, part of my job description was/is varying degrees of fundraising. I’m expected to use my contacts, business and otherwise, to secure donations. In many situations, I’m the person who writes the solicitation letter.  I think I’ve shown remarkable restraint in never asking my blog followers for donations. Until now.

Before I hit publish the other day, I made careful note of my number of followers. My pitch was so distasteful, I fully expected to lose five or ten followers. Imagine my surprise when I gained six. I didn’t sell any tickets—well, I might have sold one: somebody my organization has never interacted with before bought a ticket that night, but she’s reasonably local, just an hour away, so more likely she’s a friend or relative of someone we already know. No one bought a ticket from, say, Australia.

Back to those followers—what did they get from my commercial break that made them want to follow my blog. I’m picky about who I follow. The writing must be clean, concise and readable; of course, I need to find the subject area interesting; but most importantly, the blogger can’t be trying to sell me anything. A blogger writing a post for the sole purpose of making a sale is possibly the last blogger I would ever follow.

Taking a walk with Susan this evening, I mentioned the how strange I found it that my followers increased with that post. She’s great at not rolling her eyes or showing any frustration when I bring up blogging as a conversation topic, and she almost always offers some intelligent analysis that I overlooked. “Maybe they like Jamie Ford.”

See! She should be reviewing my stats instead of me.

Thank you for not dropping me when I made my solicitation. WordPress is a sacred space. A place to escape from the crass commercialism of everyday life. You don’t need or want to be blindsided by some dude hitting you up for money. I’ve learned my lesson—for now. Never say never, but I don’t think it will happen again. We now resume our regularly scheduled program.

21 thoughts on “Mea Culpa

  1. It was a very soft sales pitch. If it was an author I was interested in (or had even heard of😮) and I wasn’t in a time zone three hours earlier than you, taking care of an autistic eleven year old with ADHD, I might’ve even been interested.
    I’m still following 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly I didn’t even read that as a pitch because it felt natural and fit in with your interests. I kind of like it when people I follow talk about real events they’re doing bc there’s usually a lot of passion behind them. I’m with you on product pitches though – not a fan.

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    • No one commenting seemed particularly bothered by it. Lots of worry for nothing. You’re right though, I’m writing from my life, and this is one of the things going on right now. Also, I like to offer glimpses of my professional life because I appreciate it when other bloggers do that. In many cases the picture we’re presented is pretty narrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read the complete post when it came out. If I was offended I would have simply stopped reading. You write about too many other things I find interesting to unfollow you because of a single post. If anyone was bothered by what you wrote they should simply have stopped scrolling.

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  4. Don’t be too hard on yourself. All good. But I can completely relate. When the kids have those school fundraiser things – I’ll buy something but I will never solicit a neighbor, co-worker, or family member to buy something. I don’t like asking others for money. I don’t follow blogs that focus on selling things either. I don’t usually read those blogging awards either. I felt like I wasn’t true to myself after doing that last one but I felt obligated. Anyway, all good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, we won’t do that sports fundraiser solicitation thing either, We usually just make a donation. When Sophie was little, Susan went to a PTA meeting where they were planning a fundraiser. Susan said ‘why don’t we just ask people for money’. Lots of angry looks. Ultimately as part of the fundraiser they added “or, if you like, just donate to the cause”. They got an extra couple hundred dollars that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have major anxiety issues about blogging at times… but no I saw nothing untoward about your post at all, and any ticket sales didn’t seem like they would benefit you personally so seemed nice actually! Even if you did want to promote something of your own that would be totally normal. I always like reading your perspective, I think we have some similar worries at times so it’s soothing to read your versions of things.

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