26 September 2007

AJ2 changes: Step one, completed

This isnt' about art... it's about what I'm doing instead of making art. *sigh*

I stayed up late last night, blasting through the AJ2 membership update, manually removing each inactive member. Yahoo's software makes this a tedious and error-prone process. Even double-checking each member against my list of active members... well, it was stressful, worrying that I'd make a mistake.

The result is: Only those who voted "yes" in the recent census/poll--which asked if people wanted to stay in the group--are still in AJ2. That's about 15% of the size that AJ2 was a week ago.

Yes, over 1300 lurkers didn't bother to say that they wanted to stay in AJ2. Apparently, it was a wake-up call for some when they realized I'd been serious about revitalizing AJ2.

The email that followed has been... umm... colorful.

Most of the people who've asked to rejoin are sincerely interested in the group. They understand that they made a mistake.

A smaller percentage have been obnoxious, as if I'm an employee and--by removing them from AJ2--I'm guilty of an unacceptable shortcoming.

Having reprimanded me, they may overlook this error if I reinstate them at AJ2 without further effort on their part.

Yes, I'm feeling a little cranky about this. But, I also looked at it last night and realized that if I make less of the value of what I do--sometimes because it's easy for me--I can hardly expect others to recognize its worth.

I also have to own that, during much of my previous marriage, I was desperate for approval from others. I set the tone. They had something valuable (approval, friendship, association) that--at the time--I thought was more valuable than my time, energy, and... well, the things that make me unique.

I'm the one who changed, not necessarily the AJ2 members.

If you know me in real life, you know how I hate confrontation. I hate to upset anyone, even mildly.

But, it's time for me to make it clear that my era as a doormat has concluded.

With the exception of Santa Flamingo, pretty much everything that I do online is community service. My blogs are--and always have been--for me, first and foremost. I've always been up-front about that. The rest of it...? The websites, groups, podcasts and lists...? They're to share what I've learned, and--hopefully--to inspire others.

(Santa Flamingo is my only created-for-profit website. But, I've been advised by several friends and one stranger that I'm underpricing my products at Santa Flamingo. I need to think bigger. They're right; that's part of the changes ahead.)

Mostly, with the move to New England on the near horizon, I need to make very conscious choices about how much time, energy and other resources are necessary for this move. And, I need to be sure that I use only spare time for everything except what will make this a successful move.

So, step one at AJ2 was to take a poll and then remove the inactive members. This is restoring it to what it was when I started it, six years ago: A vital and interesting group in which all members participate (at least now & then).

Tomorrow, there will be another announcement.

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