Thursday, March 30, 2006
One Year Later: It's All Relative
I launched this blog exactly one year ago to convey the important concepts and technologies I came across in my line of work. At the time, I had no idea how many others far more knowledgeable and articulate were contributing to this collective. Wanting a clever name, I settled on something catchy: Run-DMZ. It combined my favorite pastime with an IT term, and it was a twist on the familiar name Run-DMC, a hip hop group that, truthfully, I know only from one overplayed pop song. Plus, DMZ stands for demilitarized zone, and it seemed apropos given last year I transitioned from a military life to a civilian one.
Most of those early entries focused on information security and privacy, with an occasional update on my running or other experience, such as my guest stint on a popular radio station. Then the focus changed when I joined Complete Running’s Running Blog Family and posts shifted from the DMZ to the Run. Comments trickled in from old friends and family, then new folks. At some point -- maybe when I couldn’t go a day without checking someone’s blog -- it dawned on me that I’d accumulated a whole host of virtual acquaintances that I might never recognize on the street but with whom I felt a spiritual, maybe even emotional, connection. When they hurt, I wanted their pain to pass. When they were on Cloud 9, I vicariously imbibed a few ounces of that elation. I continue to learn from their experiences, as I hope they do from mine.
I thought at one point of changing the blog’s name. Then I realized what I’d chosen still had appeal; I just needed to ditch the dash. A DMZ essentially shields one area from another area that can’t be controlled. It’s a buffer zone that helps everything within function properly. A Web log has a similar purpose for some of us. I also believe a DMZ approach reflects how we all come to view our running, swimming, cycling, surfing, walking, gardening, painting, hiking, dancing, bowling, handgliding, or any other labor-intensive hobby. Within those activities, we can safely slip away from external stresses and tend to our well-guarded thoughts under the guise of focusing on the task at hand. And as a bonus we periodically experience a supreme sense of satisfaction from a job well done. Sound like anyone’s overwhelmed and overstimulated life you know?
Over time, I’ve offered for public consumption far more than expected of my personal and professional life. I’ve often wondered if words written in the heat of the moment will haunt me later. Or if I’ll ever pass myself off as a ranked runner at cocktail parties when it’s now well documented I’m pretty mediocre at the moment (but steadily improving!). And what if I link to a cool tool that’s actually a spyware trap -- will my street cred plummet? Can it even get any lower?! These struggles, and then some, continue to this day.
So will these postings.
I’m hopeful that as I grow old, the details I divulge about my life and my work won’t.