Thursday, November 17, 2005

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown To Run AOL Journals

"Change the changeable, accept the unchangeable and remove yourself from the unacceptable."
-Denis Waitley

Wouldn't that be strange? Can you imagine it? Here's what is on my mind...

Right now there is a furious outcry going on over at AOL in the journals community. It seems this past week AOL made a decision to begin running large advertising banners across the top of all journals published on the AOL service. The AOL Journals community has had other controversies arise over the 2 years that AOL has offered blogging to it's members. Incidents of censorship on the part of AOL, and in one case, a bloggers entire journal was deleted because of misinformation and unclear TOS information. This time it seems it all went too far.

What blog authors write in their blogs in Intellectual Property. It is at times highly personal and at times simply meant as a way of sharing one's life. The good. The bad. With very few exceptions who would want to sell that? Or worse have it sold for you? Now the idea of running ads on a blog isn't so bad, provided you approve of the companies or organizations who want to buy the space. I am a married woman, would I want to run an ad for a dating service on my journal. Don't know...but probably not. I don't bank at Bank of America, so why would I imply that I support their service when I don't do business with them? I wouldn't.

So imagine how it felt to see that a decision had been made for me, in the middle of the night, with NO prior word that it was even a consideration. That's what happened on Tuesday, when opened my journal Ellipsis to find I was now running ads for, among others, Bank Of America, a company I will never do business with again based on past experiences. It was clear I had a decision to make, stay with AOL and hope they would change their mind based on their customer's feedback, or leave letting this to be the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back." I chose to shut down my journal, an endeavor I had worked on for over two years, and move to a different blog service provider. So here I sit.

So many questions still loom. Can I still participate in the Weekend Assignments offered on AOL by author/blogger John Scalzi? Will he still link to me if he likes the assignment I turned in if I am not an AOL blogger? Will my fellow AOL journalists think I am a traitor if I do the assignments? Is it all for nothing anyway. I chose to leave, and short of those banner ads coming down there in nothing that will make me return. My decision. But don't think I am unaware of what I have just left behind. I leave a solid community of supportive, creative, giving individuals who have helped me grown as a person and a writer over the last couple years. I think of them as both family and friends.

Coming over here to Blogspot is scary. I don't know anyone here yet. There doesn't seem to be the same network of community like on AOL. It feels like I am all alone, once again. Truth is, when I began my original journal I had no idea that I would ever be seen or heard, but I was and I grew an audience from it, and in turn I found some people who are extraordinary. I became part of their audience. I hope it can happen here. Bottom lining things, I want to be a writer someday, I want to share my photography and maybe leave some people better off then when I found them. That's it...that's the goal. Same as it always was. I just don't know right now.

I feel like I need to keep going, but I feel lost. I don't think I could be anymore lost. It feels like I had just had to endure a hurricane with Michael "Brownie" Brown at the helm of AOL Journals Community doing a fine job. Heck, no one can pick out a new casual shirt like "Brownie" and no one can tell a lie like AOL. Don't believe a word of it when you hear Julia Roberts voice telling you that AOL "listens to it's customers."


Stacy-Lynn said...

I am here so you are not alone! I am sure this journal will be just as outstanding as your other ones at AOHELL.

Welcome....looks good already!


Robbie said...

"Can I still participate in the Weekend Assignments offered on AOL by author/blogger John Scalzi?"
If he's still around much longer to write them.

"Will he still link to me if he likes the assignment I turned in if I am not an AOL blogger?"
I think he did it in the past. But, if he doesn't, so what!

"Will my fellow AOL journalists think I am a traitor if I do the assignments?"
Not me. But, who cares anyhow. My opinion shouldn't matter. Do I pay your bills?

"Is it all for nothing anyway."
Nope. Everything is a learning experience.


Anna said...

I know how you feel, honey. I think we're all in the same boat with this whole banner ad situation. It is a different world here in blogger. And I admit the first couple days I felt all alone. It was awful. I was depressed and sad. But now I am starting to feel happier about my decision. It is rather nice here in this community. The layouts are better. It's easy to post graphics and entries. I love the preview function, so we may make changes and all before actually posting our entries. There are many positives. And we are spreading our wings a bit. Out of our small pond, and hopefully going to thrive in a bigger pond. Everything is going to work out fine. I am hoping once everyone gets settled we could have our First Blogger Block Party. Gonna have to wait and see. Since Viv isn't here, it's going to take a bit of adjustment.

Settle in, get comfortable. You'll feel at home in no time.

love, anna

Anna said...

P.S. I am still planning on participating with Scalzi's assignments, and Patrick's Sat Six, and any other little quizzes or questionaires that fly around the AOL journals. If someone thinks I'm a traitor, so be it. But I find those things fun, so why not? :-)

Steven said...

AOL has a "Brownie" in advertising!

I'll probably do a few of Scalzi's assignments. I've seen him pick non AOL ones to spotlight. It's his meme so it's his call.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Excellent post, Carly, but know what you're not alone. We're all in this together! - Karen

V said...

Carly, beautifully written!!!