How Real Life Interfered With My Social Networking Fun

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

In 2009, my social networking fun was interrupted by Big Stuff: my wife and I decided to amicably divorce. We sold our big house in Acton, moved into two separate places, and are spending 2010 starting over.

Why do I blog about this? Three reasons.

First, to remind my readers (and myself) how precious life, friends, and family are. Life is a house of cards. It takes very little to disrupt what we consider to be normal. Death, disease, injury, unemployment, recession, war, or natural disaster can pull one card out and make the entire house collapse. I recall how Ernie The Attorney was happily blogging about law and technology when “massive change” came his New Orleans home when of Hurricane Katrina struck on 08/29/05. Massive change came to my life after I launched my law firm the week of 09/11 and it’s coming again now. But change is constant.

Second, to give some context to the changes coming to my social networking and my law firm in 2010.

  1. In November 2008, I launched the successful FreeTrademarksForStartups.com promotion for my trademark, domain name, and patent law firm, Clock Tower Law Group.
  2. In June 2009, I ended the FreeTrademarksForStartups.com promotion after having acquired 30 new clients.
  3. In July 2009, before leaving for a much-needed vacation, I unfollowed 24,000 Twitter followers in an attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff.
  4. In the summer of 2009, I lost about half of my Twitter followers, down to about 13,000.
  5. In the fall of 2009, my focus was on Big Stuff.

In 2010, I will be blogging and Tweeting more regularly. I have refollowed the half of my Twitter followers who stuck with me. As an aside, I am using SocialOomph.com to automatically follow those who follow me and TwitSweeper to automatically purge my Twitter account of spam followers.

Speaking of purging, In 2010, I will strictly enforce my firm’s billing policies to weed out the minority of bad clients who are causing the majority of the firm’s headaches. Bad clients include those who don’t pay their bills on time, don’t pay finance charges when they are late, don’t provide referrals, and demand Champagne service on a beer budget. Life is short and I don’t have time for bad clients. This is good news for the majority of the firm’s clients, who will now receive more attention than we were previously able to provide.

Do you have the courage to fire your worst clients? I do. And I will. Nothing like Big Stuff to give you focus. Nothing personal, but I still have a business to run.

Third, because it is cathartic to write about this stuff. I write, blog, and Tweet primarily for myself. And if others enjoy it, that’s gravy. Having written for the ABA and others for years, I can appreciate the publish-or-perish nature of social networking. The reality is that when you stop, life will go on with or without you.

Big Stuff: life, death, marriage, divorce. Small stuff: everything else. Your definitions of big and small may vary, but one thing is clear. When Big Stuff happens, everything else seems like small stuff.

For me, 2009 was a year to forget: recession, divorce, and the Yankees winning the World Series. So, yeah, officially the Worst Year Ever. But in the midst of the chaos, I made a decision to get up, focus, and move on. This, too, shall pass. Thanks for your support.


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5 Replies to “How Real Life Interfered With My Social Networking Fun”

  1. Erik – thanks for sharing your experience, for allowing me to be one of those that took advantage of Free Trademarks for Startups, and for your continued optimistic perspective. I look forward to hearing more from you in 2010. Best wishes! -Joe

  2. As of 11/22/11, Facebook’s blog-to-Notes feature is going away, so I’m deleting all of my old Notes (i.e. imported blog posts). You can find the originals on my blog (www.erikjheels.com). Story here: http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-notes-blog-timeline-2011-11

    These comments originally appeared on Facebook:

    Gabe Wachob Good luck with the next phase, and I share your perspective, especially having gone through a divorce somewhat recently… 2008 was my starting over year, and so was 2009, I’m hoping 2010 is actually the beginning of the next “Big Thing”!
    January 26, 2010 at 6:22pm · Like

    Erik J. Heels Thanks, Gabe. Your “general counsel of making dinner” Tweet is still one of my favorites!
    http://twitter.com/gwachob/status/1035137983
    January 26, 2010 at 6:33pm · Like

    Thomas J. Dyer Erik, Good Luck to you in 2010.
    January 26, 2010 at 6:50pm · Like

    Tom Heels I think it helps you to blog about life, to clear your mind and refocus.
    January 26, 2010 at 9:03pm · Like

    Kevin OKeefe You’re a good guy Erik. As a pioneer, you’ve led of lawyers to the Internet, me included. Expect 2010 will be a good year for you.
    January 26, 2010 at 9:25pm · Like

    Erik J. Heels Thanks, Kevin. I’m still planning on moving my website/blog to http://LexBlog.com/ after things settle down for me.
    January 26, 2010 at 9:28pm · Like

    Martha Sperry Wishing you all the best in 2010. Incredibly impressed with your courage to weather the “Big Stuff”, pick up and move forward.
    January 26, 2010 at 10:47pm · Like

    Helena E. Heels As always, Erik, I am in your corner! God Bless!
    January 26, 2010 at 11:29pm · Like

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