September 23, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Five Questions: An Interview with The Happiness Project’s Gretchen Rubin

Five Questions: An Interview with The Happiness Project’s Gretchen Rubin

A lot of what we write about on Media Bullseye is written by, about, and for professional communicators and marketers. But the blogosphere is much more than that very narrow field, and to find out what non-PR types think about becoming unintended communicators, we’ve decided to launch a series of email interviews with bloggers from a wide range of blogs. And, to kick off the series, our first blogger is Gretchen Rubin, of the Happiness Project.

Gretchen’s blog served as the inspiration for this series–she occasionally interviews bloggers, asking different people the same questions about how they perceive happiness. It’s fascinating to read the different answers from a wide variety of people. We can only hope our experiment is half as interesting as hers!

On a personal note, I came across Gretchen’s blog during a difficult time over the past year. Her blog, which is an examination of happiness (not pictures of cute puppies, if you want that go to Cute Overload), helped me immeasurably. I am thrilled and honored that she agreed to be our first subject. Please visit her site, and as she says, start a Happiness Project of your own! Everyone should have one.

CustomScoop: What prompted you to blog/use social media?

Gretchen Rubin: I started my blog as part of my Happiness Project. During my research about happiness, I learned that novelty and challenge bring happiness, even though they can sometimes be tough to face. To put that principle to the test as part of my experiments in happiness-building, I wanted to find a way to challenge myself, to learn to do something new – and so I decided to start a blog. It has indeed turned out to be a HUGE source of happiness for me, so my experiment was very successful.

CustomScoop: What benefits–direct and indirect–have you discovered using this communications tool?

Gretchen Rubin: Connecting with other people with similar interests. Have a soapbox on which to try to convince others of my ideas. Creative expression. The satisfaction that comes from mastering new skills. Feeling up-to-date with current trends. Creating a platform from which I can try to sell my book, when it comes out at the end of 2009.

CustomScoop: Writing is tough work, and blogs, with the need to be updated on a fairly regular basis can be particularly challenging. How do you stay inspired, and where do you come up with post ideas?

Gretchen Rubin:  Happiness is a huge topic, fortunately, so I have never had trouble coming up with topics. I do keep a list of ideas, where I make a note of anything that I want to write about. If I can’t think of a subject on a particular day, I look at that list.

CustomScoop: What three blogs do you read regularly, and why?

Gretchen Rubin: [I’d rather not answer this one, for diplomatic reasons! I have tons of friends who blog, and I feel bad picking just three blogs. I will say this – my favorite source for tips on blogging is Problogger.com.] [Editor’s note: Gretchen, no problem. We read tons of blogs a day, and always look for new and interesting ones. Pointing us to Problogger.com is like giving us chocolate; we can never have enough!]

CustomScoop:  Are there any other social media tools that you have found particularly useful (like Twitter), or, if you’ve tried other tools and prefer to focus on blogging, why?

Gretchen Rubin: I’m intrigued with Twitter, I don’t feel like I’ve quite figured out how to use it in the most effective way for myself. I use Facebook. But mostly I use my blog. 

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About The Author

Jennifer Zingsheim Phillips is the founder of 4L Strategies, and has worked in communications and public affairs for just over 20 years. Her background includes work in politics, government, lobbying, public affairs PR work, content creation, and digital and social communications and media analysis.

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