Things to be done

Jun 4, 2012

Brain Pickings, a site I’ve recently started following for a daily dose of interesting links and articles, had a cool post last week titled Thomas Edison’s To-Do List, 1888. It shows notebook pages from Thomas Edison at age 41, listing — under the header ‘Things doing and to be done’— the many inventions he planned to accomplish.

We’re all the better because of Edison’s tinkering and list making.

I’m a list maker too. Not as smart as Edison, and most likely not destined for such consequence. But, still, I have things I’m doing.

Years ago, I listed a bunch at Anton’s goals & milestones.

Early in my Peace Corps service, Erin and I found ourselves lost in the hills of Paama, so we sat on a rock in the middle of a field and chatted about our future. Here’s the list of goals I came up with then …

From that long-ago list, “spend a day naked, every year” is one I’d still like to start, and continue. In the meantime, many of the the items on my current ‘things doing’ list are much less solitary and certainly fully clothed. Yet, they’re clearly in line with the community organizing I was doing as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Here’s what’s to be done in the months ahead:


My day job, as communications director for the Duke University Department of Medicine, is demanding, invigorating and highly rewarding. Much of what I’m doing there is reflected in the MedicineNews blog.

Talk Story

I blogged about this new event last week. Join me in Durham on Tues., July 10, 2012 for the Talk Story narrative variety show. It’s going to be fun.

ScienceOnline grows up and out

As I chronicled in my April post, The four Cs of inspiration: Overlapping networks of ScienceOnline, after six years of the annual conference as a volunteer effort, the ScienceOnline community is now big enough that we’re forming a nonprofit organization to sustain the conference and support the community’s activities.

In the months and years to come, I’ll be dedicated to building the organization as a founding board member. Luckily, the uber-talented Karyn Traphagen, has agreed to be our executive director. And the local leaders and far-flung members of the ScienceOnline family are adding their expertise and experiences and yearnings for online and face-to-face conversations.

Watch for the latest news, stop by one of the local meetups in a city near you, and join us in Raleigh in January for ScienceOnline2013.

Back to the Blog

It’s a really good time to be a blogger. Sure, Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram and a slew of other social networks and apps are getting all the attention, but 15 years into the world of blogging, there are exciting trends and threads that make being a blogger fun and interesting.

I’ve been excited to see how many bloggers are using simple, responsive design to get back to the basics of sharing their thoughts (see, Inessential, Drawar). Of course, Dave Winer continues to inspire and innovate (I especially dig the way he’s doing threads with Bootstrap and Disqus). Using the beta, Anil Dash posed the question, How do blogs need to evolve?. I use Textpattern, which is seeing new energy (I’m planning to relaunch next weekend, btw), and Wordpress and Tumblr have amazing communities and so many themes and templates I get dizzy looking through them each morning.

It’s really a good time to be a blogger.

So, for much of this year, I’ve been thinking that a Back to the Blog event would be timely and quite interesting. Many of the bloggers who attended our first BlogTogether event, the Triangle Bloggers Conference in 2005, are still around, and doing interesting things — Bora Zivkovic, who sat behind Dave Winer at that conference, has become my friend and ScienceOnline collaborator and possibly the world’s leading expert on blog networks. I was connected to UNC back in 2005, but now that I’m at Duke, I can team up with my colleague Cara Rousseau — she’s the Duke social media manager — and it looks like we’ll be able to hold this event in September.

More about this event soon, and contact me or Cara with your ideas. Like other BlogTogether events and the annual ScienceOnline conference, I’m hoping the Back to the Blog conference will be conversational (rather than presentational), hands-on and a place to make connections and forge collaborations.

BlogWorld is happening this week. It may indeed be the “world’s largest conference and tradeshow for bloggers,” but until today, the day before it begins, I hadn’t seen one reference to it. So, I think we can offer a rewarding event here in North Carolina.

Great Lakes Food Blogging Conference

My plate is already full, you see. But there’s an opportunity that may take me back to Cleveland for what I’d love to call the Great Lakes Food Blogging Conference.

You know from my recent post about my friend, Michael Ruhlman, that I like food blogging. Turns out that there are four days this September (20-23) in which Cleveland is going to be a great place to be a foodie: Mayor Frank Jackson is convening the annual Sustainability Summit to discuss the Year of Local Foods, the 8th International Public Markets Conference takes place downtown and at the 100-year-old West Side Market, and the third annual Ripe Fest convenes at University Circle (no info online yet).

So, why not ask food bloggers to gather at the same time and talk about how we use our blogs to reflect the food in our lives? I’ll need to team up with others to pull this off (my college friend and best man, City Councilman Joe Cimperman, visited North Carolina last week and urged me to make this happen), but this could be fun.

About that list

Looking through this post, even I think I’m nuts to consider so much in so little time. But if Thomas Edison can list the things he wants to work on, then each of us should feel courageous and inspired enough to write down the things we want to try to make happen. I’ll help you accomplish yours, if you help me realize mine.

Anton Zuiker

© 2000 Zuiker Chronicles Publishing, LLC