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Guest Bloggers Heather, Tina, & Jon: Why W.I.B.I.J.?

Hi everyone! I was recently invited by Heather, Tina, and Jon to take part in a test-launch of their exciting new blog game, Where In the Blogosphere in Jon (W.I.B.I.J.). Yesterday was the official unveiling! It's a scavenger hunt game that promotes community involvement through a series of clues, keywords, and commenting. And there are awards! Please visit one (or all) of their blogs above to read about the unveiling .

Want to know more? Of course you do! Well, the circus trio is taking over Lit Rambles today for a guest post Q&A that explains the what and the why behind W.I.B.I.J. Enjoy!

(Jon)--Heather: Why W.I.B.I.J.?

(Heather)--I think that the idea came about for WIBIJ as I was trailing you around the blogosphere. Suddenly you were EVERYWHERE. Each time I landed at one of my familiar blog stops, there you were, right in front of me, leaving an awesome comment full of glitter, wit, and support.

I'm a big fan of scavenger hunts. When I need some time to write, I gather plastic eggs or blocks or balls, and hide them for my kids to find. Other days I draw clues, or write rhymes for my older kids. With a little set-up, I have a solid chunk of time to myself without my kids needing me or bickering with each other. So, with that in mind, I joked with you about how we should play a game where people try to figure out "Where In the Blogosphere Is Jon?!" But I was mostly joking! Tina: you were there when I was joking around about it on Jon's blog. Were you scared that I was going to ask you to get involved?

(Tina)--No, I was totally scared that you weren't going to ask!

The first few times we chatted together about how this was going to happen and what this game was going to be all about, your chats kept flying over my head and I thought there was no way I was going to be able to keep up with these fast folks. It was the chats and the abbreviations. I have learned a lot of texting speak since this whole game began and I figure that is at least something to get out of it! That and I've already had a whole lot of fun. And besides becoming friends and co-workers with you, Jon, and you, Heather, I have made others besides. I feel like you get to know people when you play WIBIJ. Jon: What do you think about the purpose of WIBIJ? And do we scare you with all the abbreviations we have left to learn?

(Jon)--Tina, you totally said it right there, "I feel like you get to know people when you play WIBIJ." When Heather started her joke, I was like, whoa, this would be awesome! As a new writer, new blogger, and newbie all around, I am intimidated by the whole process: shiny new idea to signing your first book. I haven't been through the process, so I feel WIBIJ is an awesome way for me to share my process of learning what the Blogosphere has to offer with those who want to learn. It's the perfect setup: writers need a break, they come play WIBIJ, the bloggers with a message or advice are a destination - totally a win-win. Totally a community.

One thing I love about well-established authors is how they conduct themselves around each other. "You bumped me off the NYT Best Sellers list? I warmed the seat for you, enjoy your stay." There's no competition, except the friendly kind, like at W.I.B.I.J.?! There are no major Hollywood-style feuds of jealousy. Writers are intellectual, prolific, and quirky. WIBIJ is about bringing them all together, no matter the stage of writing they find themselves, for fun-and-games, lessons, and the feeling of belonging. I am proud to be a part of this collaboration, especially when I get to teach you the meanings of AKA, EST, and HIMYM. Heather: What have you learned from WIBIJ that you wish had come into your life earlier?

(Heather)--Jon, I wish that I had earlier realized about the merits of collaboration. I had no idea that it could be so wonderful. As soon as I joked about the idea for WIBIJ, I started figuring stuff out in my head. How could it work? What would it look like? And you guys were so polite--I knew half the things coming out of my head were gibberish, but you never once poked fun.

I remember you saying to me once, "I think we need another blog for this." And I was mortified. I could barely manage my blog and writing and everything. But, there are three of us working on it, and it's amazing. I mean, have you seen the blog? It's a work of art. It is so much bigger and better than what I imagined it could be. The merits of collaboration! Because, Jon, you and Tina are amazing at what you do.

WIBIJ is so much more incredible than anything I could have ever come up with on my own. It makes me want to collaborate with other things, as well, like my writing. When you get three enthusiastic, intelligent, motivated people in the same (chat) room, there's nothing you can't accomplish. Everyone needs co-workers! Tina: Your recaps and blow-by-blow comments during the race are incredible. Were you a sportscaster in a former life? What made you come up with the idea of a recap which gives everyone a taste of the race, even people who didn't play?

(Tina)--Shucks, thanks, H! Maybe I thought of it because I felt like I was behind both in the race (our practice runs) and in the collaborating. I wanted a way for everyone to play and appreciate and for us to be able to toot the horn of the blogs we feature and all the players, not just the winners. And I just love ceremony.

As for the collaborating, I am totally surprised at the hidden benefits of it all. I had no doubt that working with the two of you would make the blog better, look how wonderful your blogs already are! But the killer has been efficiency. I had no idea I would be more productive instead of less. In every aspect of my life. The fiction writing, the output at WIBIJ and even vacuuming!

Well, not really that last part, but we often talk dinner in my morning meeting with H, so I'm never caught at dinnertime without a plan! Co-workers are the best. It's nice to feel I'm not alone in my cubicle and perhaps the game can do that for others. Jon: tell the folks out there how to leave the best, most glittery comments they can!

(Jon)--Well, I was never trying to leave uber glittery comments all over. The sparkle in my attitude is a direct reflection of the motivation, emotion, and sometimes clairvoyance of the blogger who has captivated me for the moment. I spread glitter because I've collected glitter. Seeing other bloggers get it right and share their a-ha moment is the ultimate motivator. I learn from the best. In order to pay it forward, I leave a comment that is pertinent to the post (because I always read the post) and I make sure to follow up later in the day or week.

I think it's important to look at blogging as a communication tool, and therefore, a place for discussions, conversations, and debates. Essentially, the how-to of glittery comments is based off having an ongoing conversation with the intention of making friends and connections. Like I said, we writerly folk are quite quirky, so it's really easy to find a lot of fun things to say. Heather: What can you tell our friends about W.I.B.I.J.?! to ease their concerns and motivate them to give W.I.B.I.J.?! a try, despite the 'scary' time element?

(Heather) Well, first off, if people are intimidated by the timed race, they should start with the relaxed game, and start their clue seeking an hour or more after the race starts. The game is open for a full 24 hours, so they have all the time in the world! And, people need to remember that google is their friend.

For those of us who thrive under pressure, it is a ton of fun to show up as the race starts, and try to beat the other contestants to the blogs and comments. The clues are spaced out every ten minutes, so at some point, if you're googling quickly, you'll be hanging out at the WIBIJ big top, waiting for the next clue to appear. I think the most fun is trying for the Best Comment Award, which is open to anyone who participates during the 24 hours. We have had some rockin' comments already!
The gist of the game is that you come when you can, follow the clues to different blogs, leave an awesome comment, try to win either the Award for First Place or Best Comment, collect Jon's clue words, unscramble the phrase, and hang out and meet some writerly folk. We hope you have some fun, find some great blogs and enjoy the community! So with all that great stuff going on, I have to ask you, Casey's awesome followers, Why NOT W.I.B.I.J.?!

Casey, thanks so much for having Jon, Tina and myself on your blog to talk about our favorite blogging game! The next game is Wednesday, March 24th at 1PM EST. Everyone should consider themselves cordially invited to come and play. And to sign up their blog to be featured on a future game. The game takes less than an hour to play. It's fun! A good break from, well, everything. You played W.I.B.I.J.?! last week, Casey--what did you think?

Heather, I have to admit, it was little confusing and overwhelming at first, but it only took me a few minutes to the get the hang of it. Once I did, I flew through the game and had a blast. I absolutely love the idea behind W.I.B.I.J. and the way it encourages community involvement. I really can't wait to see it take off. My advice for everyone wanting to play is to visit the blog ahead of time, read the rules on the right sidebar, and take a few minutes to check out how the previous game played (maybe even go through the motions!). I can't encourage that enough, especially for anyone wanting to take part in the speed race. Mark you calenders, good luck and have a blast!


Christina Lee said...

Well you guys are TOO FUN!!! i am going to check it out now!

Heather Kelly said...

Casey--Thanks so much for having us at the blog today! And, thanks so much for being at our test run--we had such fun!

Casey actually won the Award for Best Comment--she rocked at the game!

I'm going to keep checking back here in case people want to ask questions--it's a lot to wrap the head around! But it's super fun. You're all invited to come play on Wednesday!

Thanks again Casey--you're awesome!

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Casey, Thank you so much for your generosity: letting us take over here and coming to play our first game! You do such a service here in the writing/blogging community, your blog has been a serious inspiration!

I won't be able to check back today but I know Heather will take good care of you here! And you can also leave questions at the WIBIJ site. And please leave us feedback too, as the game is a work in process and we are always trying to make it better.

Thank you, Casey and everyone!

Jonathon Arntson said...

You make us look good, Casey! Thanks for admitting your initial response to W.I.B.I.J.?!, but even more thanks for your persistence and subsequent support. Your excitement toward the site and game is reassuring and encouraging, I hope it resonates with our readers today.

Readers, upon your initial view of W.I.B.I.J.?! things may be scary or intimidating, but really, it's about fun and learning and more fun. You can see how much fun we had during the site's creation. Thanks for the read today, hope to see you at the site!

Laura Pauling said...

Yay for the big top! And I won the award for being the most clueless - not officially. Looking forward to the next one, but I'll probably still play the relaxed version. :) Great interview.

Ann Marie Wraight said...

I'll definitely play the relaxed version...I'm hopeless at all those strategy games, crosswords, sudoko etc...can't you give an official 'Plodder's Prize' for 'Last Past The Finishing Line'-I'd quite like to win THAT!
Looking forward to Wednesday - that's if I have internet access. Last week we didn't have electricity for 2 days here where I live in Greece!!
YASOO all from Ann Marie.

Heather Kelly said...

Laura--You did awesome. The first time I played, I missed a reference TO MY OWN BLOG. Something happens to your brain the first time you play! I think it skips pertinent details or something. Seriously, go through the archives, and you will see us admitting our mistakes in the game. But I think that is what makes it so much fun--it's not entirely easy.

And, we learned things from your feedback--about making sure that we tell contestants how many words the final phrase is, and things like that. We learned a lot from your feedback, Laura! So, thanks, and I'm excited you're going to give it another chance. I think that the non-timed version is a really fun way to play (and not at all intimidating!)

Heather Kelly said...

Ann Marie--Hello!!

I'm so excited you're going to try to play! We're going to try to post a game every other week, if we can. So, even if you can't join in next week, there will be more opportunities!

Corey Schwartz said...

Ha! I noticed it too. Jon IS everywhere!

Kristine Asselin said...

I'm proud and excited that Jon and Heather are two of my three followers! (and Laura, thanks!). I'm working this blog thing slowly, and trying to keep up. Missed this round, but I'll try to play next time. ;)

Elana Johnson said...

Yeah, I had to ask Jon for a clarifying email. But he explained it great -- I think I'm ready for Tuesday!

Heather Kelly said...

Elana--I'm glad! We're happy to answer any questions, in fact there is a submit question form on the blog.

And--just to clarify, the game is Wednesday!

Casey Something said...

You're welcome, Heather, Tina, and Jon. I hope you get a lot of players for the next game. It will be fun to see it in full swing!

I'm going to try to be there but it'll depend on the craziness of the week.

Kelly Polark said...

This is a most impressive venture!
Loved your banter and conversation about WIBIJ!
I am ready to decipher the clues and rock the blogosphere on Wednesday!

Jonathon Arntson said...

We're to watch you try!!

Christina Farley said...

Wow. This just goes to show the amazing things that can be done on blogger.