Birthday Cake with PineappleLong-time readers of this blog will know that today is the blawgiversary of DennisKennedy.Blog. I started this blog on February 15, 2003, and we (my blog and me) are marking its thirteenth birthday today. That makes DennisKennedy.Blog a teenager. Much more about that in a minute.

In previous years, I marked the week of the blogiversary with a weeklong combined celebration of my blog’s birthday and my birthday (February 17 – shout out to birthday sharers Michael Jordan and Jim Brown). The issue of “sharing” birthday celebrations came up this year and, as you’ll notice from the title of this post, “we” decided to do something different this year.

When you have written a blog as long as I have, two things will surprise you. The first is that your blog starts to take on a life of its own and begins to talk to you, especially about its “feelings” and “needs.” The second is that you are constantly surprised which posts set off a negative reaction from readers.

This morning, we had the combination of those two things.

The problem, it seems, was yesterday’s post – a seemingly innocuous post about some of my recent writings outside the blog and some recent podcasts.

I could not have predicted the firestorm. However, when you have a new teenager, you can’t predict anything.

To make a long story short, my blog and I had what they call these days a “good talk” this morning. If you know teenagers, it won’t surprise you that words like “unfair,” “independence,” “old enough,” and the like were flying around. I also heard the word “boring” and “old man” more times than I cared to hear them.

As I now understand it, yesterday’s post hit a tender spot that I apparently have not been listening to the blog enough about. In retrospect, I get the blog’s perspective, but sheesh. Yes, the post did refer to writing I have done in places other than the blog. And, yes, I am aware that my blog sees my podcast as competition for my time, attention and best work. I now better understand why my blog found this so upsetting.

And you don’t even want to hear the comments my blog made about my use of social media.

On the other hand, I do think my best work and content lately has been on the podcast. I won’t apologize for that. I was a bit surprised, however, that my blog has been skyping with Tom Mighell’s blog and commiserating about their perceived neglect from their authors. Not to oversimplify, but they are jealous of the podcast.

For most of the discussion, if I can call it that, I listened. I also tried to make rational arguments, justifications and excuses. I also tried changing the subject and a variety of other tricks. My blog was having none of that and, I’ll admit that I’m impressed, stuck to its guns and made all of its points.

The blog even tried to get me to express my feelings and emotions.

It’s was a difficult conversation. I’m still mulling over some of the blog’s points.

One of the things that came through loud and clear is that my blog feels it deserves my most creative work. It kept returning to the point that I was no longer writing posts like the Metallica LexThink post and the Steve Gadd copyright post. And that I should be. (NIt also wants me to fix some of the internal links on the blog so that people don’t have to search for old posts using the search box at the top of the right column. I get the point.)

My blog’s contention is that posts like those are what my real audience wants and not pointers to things I’ve done in other places. Especially on my podcast. At one point, my blog literally threw a “Legal Talk Network” t-shirt across the room.

Not too surprisingly, the subject of being “old enough” for a tattoo again came up. Again.

In the past, I’ve been able to say that the blog is too young and that I make all the decisions. And my threat of getting an ear pierced and wearing an earring was a deterrent the blog on the tattoo front because it did not want to be embarrassed to death. Now, my blog seems ready to call my bluff. I’m still not convinced that my blog’s tattoo idea – a large “Cloud” with a lightning bolt that says “You only live once” is the best choice, but I understand its point that it has long been living with a photo of me “tattooed” on its front page and, even worse for it, a logo and feed for the podcast.

The bottom line. We agreed that DennisKennedy.Blog gets its own separate birthday celebration this year and going forward. We also agreed that any birthday presents to the blog will be the blog’s presents and not shared with me. Unless it wants to share – not likely.

I also agreed that I would ask readers to let us know in the comments what direction you would like to see the blog take going forward. Keep in mind, however, that my blog will see your comments before I do.

And I agreed that I needed to pay more attention to my blog and consider its feelings.

It was a difficult, contentious discussion, but a worthwhile one that will help us begin to plot a path forward.

We hugged it out at the end and said “good talk,” both nervously looking around to make sure no one was watching us.

So, I wish my blog a happy thirteenth birthday, salute it for becoming a teenager and invite you to do the same. It’s been a pleasure writing the blog all these years and I look forward to many more.

– Dennis

[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]

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LinkedIn in One Hour for Lawyers (Second Edition), the new book from Allison Shields and me, is now available (iBook version also available). Our previous book, Facebook in One Hour for Lawyers, is also available (iBook version here). Also still available, The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.