Contemplating Blogathon 2003.

Having actually heard about it ahead of time for once I’m actually debating participating in Blogathon 2003 this year.

What is Blogathon? It’s an annual event to raise money for charity not unlike various walk-a-thons or bowl-a-thons that take place at various times in various communities for various causes. The difference being that instead of engaging in a massive amount of exercise to raise money participants in a Blogathon stay up for 24 hours straight and enter at least one new entry every 30 minutes into their blogs to raise money. Much in the same way that bowlers sign up pledges for their participation in a bowl-a-thon, bloggers get folks to pledge money to see them try to participate in the Blogathon. Considering how horribly out of shape I am and what a big mouth I have this would seem to be something that’s right up my alley.

Cat Connor started this whole thing back in the summer of 2000 when she stayed up for 24 hours straight for no apparent reason with a butt-load of Mountain Dew and movie rentals and updated her blog every 15 minutes for a grand total of 96 posts in a single day. After the attention this brought to her she decided to see if she couldn’t turn it into a charity fund raising event and in 2001 the first Blogathon was held. I don’t think I had started blogging at the time and I didn’t hear about the one in 2002 until the last minute. The 2001 event netted over $20,000 and the 2002 event generated over $50,000 for various charities around the world. This year’s event takes place on July 26th, which is a Saturday, so I’m giving it some thought.

The question of whether or not to participate is two-fold. First, do I have enough regular readers who aren’t participating themselves to generate much of anything in the way of pledges? Secondly, do I have enough talent to come up with a new entry every 30 minutes for 24 hours straight? The most entries I’ve ever done in one day so far has been 10 and the Blogathon would require me to come up with 48 entries. Considering that some of my lengthier rants can take a couple of hours to put together I obviously can’t make my entries too in-depth or I’ll miss my 30 minute deadline.

As you can tell I’m more concerned about question number 2 than question number 1, though that’s still a valid question as well. So I’m still kicking it around in my head and I’ll make a decision in a day or so dependent, in part, on what kind of feedback I get about it. What do you think? Do you think you could handle 24 hours of me babbling incoherently in support of a charity?

15 thoughts on “Contemplating Blogathon 2003.

  1. Ooh, you know what you should do?  Pick a topic and every half-hour limit yourself to, say, five minutes on the subject.  Total stream of consciousness stuff.  The next time you blog pick up where you left off and run with it for another five…on and on, then at the end of the day put all the pieces together into one solid work.

    I bet that would be interesting, to see the shift in perspective and thought-development.

    I’m not doing it myself because I’ll be coming off of a cross-country trek and will be exhausted, but when I thought I was going to be on the road on Saturday I was seriously considered doing audioblogs from the road describing my journey.  The added bonus there is that the audioblogs are limited to two minutes in length, max, so it was also kind of a lazy thing to do.

    Or hey…what about jokes?  Just get yourself a store of jokes and post one every half-hour.  Easy enough!  People would keep coming back to read you just for the laugh factor.

    Just a couple of ideas there.

  2. To answer number one, you seem to have plenty of readers who’d toss a buck or two your way for this. smile 

    As for two – is it ‘cheating’ if you get help? Eric doesn’t have a blog, but posts on yours. Can he help? I have a blog, but won’t be participating on my site – so what if I help? *shrugs*  Just thinking. smile

  3. I dont know if this would be cheating, but why not type up some of the blogs beforehand and then youd have them all set to post.

  4. I am on the same page as Natalie…run a theme or continuing thought through all of your entries.  That way you can formulate new thoughts on the subject as you go along.  At least you have some time to come up with an idea for the theme.  Good luck my friend! smile

  5. I, too, am in agreement with Natalie.  Some great ideas there!  And to answer Minx’s question – no, that wouldn’t be cheating at all.  Tag-team blogging by 2 or more people on the same blog is totally acceptable.

    I’m participating myself this year.  First time for me.  So I guess that makes me a Blogathon virgin. *snicker*  I have my charity picked out already and am very excited about it.  Now I just need to decide exactly what I will be posting for 24 hours!  Oh, and btw, getting your entries ready beforehand is also acceptable! smile  I say GO FOR IT! (that’s kind of self-serving since I’ll have another blog to read during the ‘thon of someone I know if you do. lol)

  6. Matthew, any participants in the blogathon MUST be awake, they can’t have pre-dated posts to go up automagically..the blogathon organizers have something in place to make sure this doesnt happen.
    A group blog is okay…go check out the rules, people they’r simple. smile Take part! Sponsor someone if you don’t think you’ll be able to stay up.

  7. I don’t know Les….I only know you by what you write and isn’t that written carefully and edited before anyone sees it online? If you had to form thoughts and get them online that quickly, would they be worth reading…or possibly some of the better work you’ve done yet? If the rules allow participants to prepare blog entries before the event, I see no purpose in the event in the first place. I know I wouldn’t sponsor anyone if I knew they had. It seems to me that part of the thrill of this event is to see what gems bloggers can come up with under specific time constraints. As I suggested, some very interesting material will likely be born as a result. Additionally, participating in this event could serve to re-energize and further unconstrain your regular posts. Sometimes we become so used to the editing we do in our conversations (or blogs, in this case) we fail to notice that honesty and/or self discovery has been significantly compromised. So yeah, I’d love to see what you would present to the world, but only if it’s spontaneous. Otherwise, save your gray matter for the dailies.

  8. No, I didn’t mean to have them somehow automatically generated at a pre-determined time.  I meant that you can do research and get your ideas in place and write some things out and get them ready to post manually at the alotted time.  That is totally allowed.  There are those whose entries are going to be so detailed about things that they have to get them “ready” ahead of time; but that doesn’t mean they won’t be awake and posting them when it’s time.

    Anyway, Les, I think you should do it! smile

  9. Now that I’ve got my own blog in time for this years, my mother’s birthday gift from me gets in the way (weekend at a spa)… I am so effing bummed.

  10. Thanks to everyone who’s provided me with some feedback on this. I’ve gotten some good ideas and I’m leaning heavily toward giving it a shot as it has been awhile since I last did something for charity so it’d be nice to help out. Let me address a couple of questions raised here:

    Brock- I’d say there’s a pretty good mix of stuff that’s off the top of my head as well as stuff I’ve carefully written and edited. Generally if my post is trying to be funny it’s more likely written quickly on the fly as I find I’m less funny if I think about it too much. If I’m being serious and trying to argue a point then I tend to spend more time writing it out and editing it. Also the shorter the post the more likely I just did it off top of my head.

    Initially I thought that the time constraint of a new post every 30 minutes would keep me stuck in on-the-fly mode until I chatted with J1 about it here at work this morning. He suggested that if I had any longer entries I wanted to post that I could still do that as long as I thought up some shorter one-off ideas that I could whip up in 10 minutes or so to toss out for the deadlines until I had the bigger entry finished and ready to post. In other words work on the big one for 40 minutes then pause long enough to whip up a short entry for the deadline and then go back to the big entry. Best of both worlds.

    As for coming up with entries ahead of time to post automatically I wouldn’t do that even if it were allowed as I think it would reduce the challenge and the fun of attempting something like this. As Leigh suggested I might try coming up with a list of topics to write on, but I wouldn’t work on them ahead of time. If I participate I’ll be up for 24 hours straight as the rules require and the posts will be entered as I create them. Will they be worth reading? I can’t promise that they will, but I can promise that I’ll try my hardest to make them as worthwhile as I can.

    Natalie- I like your idea, but I can’t begin to imagine a single topic I could write about for 24 hours straight or that anyone would want to read about for 24 hours straight. At least nothing that I could keep entries to around 5 minutes on. Religion, for example, tends to engage my blabbermouth syndrome whenever I touch upon it. The Laughing Muse sent me an email suggesting that I take the Political Compass quiz and then expound on some of the questions in the quiz for my topics over the 24 hours and that’s a neat idea as well, but I don’t know if I want to stick to a single topic for the whole period. I’ve already taken the quiz and I keep meaning to post the results at some point as it is so perhaps that can be one or two of my entries.

    One idea that I had that I might like to try for the Blogathon would be to invite any readers who want to drop me an email with questions on whatever topic they’d like my opinion on to do so and I’d turn those into entries for the event. Sort of a Burning Question kinda thing. I’ve mentioned before that J1 and I work in the same building and he’s always hitting me up with questions on some obscure topic that he is curious what my opinion on it might be and that’s always fun. My sister receives these sort of emails all the time from readers of her blog and answers the questions every Sunday and I’ve always thought that might be fun to try. Still, I’m always open to suggestions so please keep them coming.

  11. Oh and as for Eric and Minx participating, I’d love to have them contribute if they want to. I’d still try to get in 48 entries on my own just for the challenge of it, but it would be nice to have an entry or two from them to fall back on if I get in a pinch. Alternatively if they wanted to try staying up the whole 24 hours as well I’d encourage them to go ahead and make an entry every 30 minutes as well. 

    Though if Minx is going to do that she might as well just do it on her own blog. grin

  12. You should do it!  If I didn’t have to work I would.  Your the master and I bet it would be great!  Even more fun when you get tired and a bit silly.  The e-mail things is cool.  I love getting them and people come up with some crazy stuff!

  13. Give it a go, Les. If you find out that you just can’t stay the distance, or really really really can’t think of interesting things to say or do for the full 24 hours, sponsors can sponsor you for an hourly rate rather than a flat fee. You don’t have to have a theme – or even if you do, you don’t have to stick to it for every single post.

  14. OK, after receiving so much encouragement both publicly and privately I’ve decided I’m going to give this a shot and see what kind of damage I can do. I’ll be signing up a little later today and putting up links on my site for folks who want to sponsor me.

    Here goes nothing…

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