Right after the Sandy Hook School attack, a detail about the killer’s life came out in the news in the form of the book choices found in the home of the killer and his mother. Among all the books and papers was found a book on autism and another on Aspergers, which the media took, shook to pieces looking for justification, and decided spoke of mental health issues.
Without a doubt the killer had mental health issues. No argument there. That’s not what fascinated me. What intrigued me is how two books found in a home could be used to define a person’s personality, character, and mental health. It made me run to my own library to see how my books defined me.
Let’s see. Lorelle is clearly a fanatic about healthy eating, sewing, and gardening. Ah, but look closer! Travel books. Books from all around the world touting the adventures to be found outside of the United States. She must be planning her escape. There are books on sustainability, solar power, wind power, eco-gardening, rain barrels, living off the grid…she must be a survivalist, though with those books on composting and fertilizer…domestic terrorist? She’s got those bizarre science fiction novels about crazed space travelers and space frontier adventurers. Dreamer! Wait! In that dark corner, over by the couch, a stack of books about China! Oh, no! Not just China but the history of Chinese tea, art, and tea ceremonies! Check the cupboards. There is a ten year supply of tea. Oh, no! Green, Oolong, and something called Puerh (poo-air). Hmm, radical commie for sure. Obviously, Lorelle is a whack-job, prepper, anarchist, and survivalist getting ready for the collapse of the government, take over of everything by China, and end of the world as we know it.
Look at my blogs. Yikes. Talk about obsessive behavior. WordPress this, WordPress that, throw in some blogging, web writing, and all things web publishing – clearly, she’s a fanatic sicko. Watch yourself!
Your blog exercise today is to look at your own site, its content, categories, tags, images, design, all the various elements which make a first impression on your site, and find your own personal obsession. What does your bloggy library shelf have to say about you?
While this is clearly in jest, think about all the things on your site which label you one way or the other. Do those labels represent YOU truthfully and honestly?
As I’ve mentioned since the beginning of these blog exercises and before, every pixel on your site matters.
We’ve looked at your site before. In this exercise I want you to take a fresh perspective. You are about to turn detective on your own site.
In other words, if you went off the deep end tomorrow and robbed an ice cream truck of all its orange flavored Popsicles (or worse), and the police and media were looking for evidence and justification of what went wrong in your life, of what influenced you, what tell-tale elements would they find to give them clues as to who you are, what changed you, and what made you do whatever it was you did.
Begin with your web design. Look at the outside edges and slowly work your way from top to bottom or the reverse to check your site in a new way. What does every color, every design element, every word, tell someone about you – who you are and your interests?
Look at your content. Look at the posts and the Pages. Choose randomly or hit your most popular posts list. What do they say about you from the content to the design and visual elements? Do these truly define you and your personality, justifying the reasons behind your actions?
This blog exercise isn’t just checking to ensure that all the pieces are there and reflective of the purpose and goals of your site. What do they really say about you? What could someone assume about who you are, your religious, spiritual, political, or business beliefs and policies?
Just as I exaggerated some with my personal library shelves, exaggerate a little about what you are seeing. There are no good or bad elements, just looking at your site through fresh eyes.
What do you find?
Share your findings and revelations here or blog about this on your own site, sharing your discoveries with your readers, giving a little hat tip back here for us to follow in the trackbacks, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.
NOTICE: July is almost here. I’ll have something special planned for fans of these Blog Exercises to get a free copy of an ebook copy of the first three months of these exercises to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of WordPress. Stay tuned!