Saturday, July 27, 2002

Just got an e-mail from Cat Connor, founder and manager of Blogathon. She's surviving the crunch admirably. Her weblog features pictures and descriptions of unusual architecture from around the world, definitely worth a bookmark.

I interviewed Cat several days ago by phone. She's 37 and lives in Portland, Oregon, working as an automation support specialist (she notes the acronym there) for U.S. Probation, District of Oregon. I asked her how she got started working with computers.

I fell in love with computers when I was a teenager. I'm old enough to remember the first computer show where there was a Commodore 64 and we were all awed by the color screen [laughs]. I thought Tron was really cool. Computers, they still have that magic for me. I still get that thrill of connecting with people from Singapore ... connecting across the globe is a pretty amazing thing for me.

Cat says she doesn't remember how or why she got started blogging, but she does remember hatching the idea for Blogathon:

That was when I first started blogging, I had just been doing it for a few months, and I tend to stay up all night anyway, so I thought, Gee, why don't I just stay up all night and blog, and we'll see what happens. I just did it by myself.

At that time there was a tool out there called Power Bloggers, and a lot of people followed it, and it had updates for the most recently updated blogs, and I blogged every 15 minutes for 24 hours and stayed on the top of that darn PowerBloggers list for the whole time, and got quite a bit of attention, and posted some really weird stuff. I got really tired and started blubbering about my mother.

The anniversary for that came around, and I decided it would be really fun to do it again, but why do it for nothing? Why do it alone? you know It was fun but pointless. that's when I kind of posted the idea to my blog, hey would anyone else do this with me, if I do this for a charity would you sponsor me, and I got some positive responses, and put it all together in a few days, did everything manually--that was quite the chore, thank goodness we've got some automation this year.

Just two years in, and Blogathon, as of 1 p.m. Central this afternoon, has 213 bloggers with 2,125 sponsors, so far raising $52, 446.17 (more than double the number of bloggers and dollars from last year).

It blows me away, it just, yeah, it kind of restores my faith in humanity working on this. The first thing I did to set this up was go through a bunch of charity sites and look at who I wanted to use as suggested charities, and working on this is just so good for my soul, I don't think I'd ever give it up, you know, I get so cynical. It's something that I don't think a lot of people spend their time on the Web just going through charities for a day, and it's very restorative. But the numbers, yeah, the numbers have stunned me. I'm anxious to see how we end up, because usually there's a surge in sponsorships the day of, so we'll see. It's exciting to sit an hit refresh and see people show up.

Meet Cat

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