Here i am, once more, with one more interesting interview. This time, i had the chance and opportunity to interview Tracy O’Connor from IHateMyMessageBoard. I’ve known Tracy for not that long and we have had some nice time tweeting. She writes interesting posts over to her blog and she’s a valuable friend and follower. Since she is a mom and a blogger, i found it very interesting to get to know more about her. Moreover, lately, she had a post of her’s finding it’s way to Gizmodo and a huge traffic spike taking down her site. This is interesting on it’s own, since that kind of attention, most of the times, means a new big blog being born! Naturally, i asked about it as well. She was very kind to answer a few questions of mine and this interview is very fun to read indeed. So, without further due, here it goes!
1. Introduce your self to us.
Hi, I’m Tracy O’Connor and I’m a wife and mom of five boys, ages 13, 6, 4, 3 and 1.5. I am also a blogger and a forum owner/administrator. I have a great love of food and cooking and what I suppose you’d call novelty items. My mother is Korean and my father is American and I grew up in Germany and married an Irish man, so I’m a true mutt.
2. Being a wife, a mother of 5 and an admin to a few websites, do you feel you neglect something? Do you enjoy all of them?
There are so many things I’d love to do but don’t have the time right now. I try not to get frustrated with myself and instead focus on all the things I can do. One thing I’d really love to do is use the skills I’ve learned blogging and running a site to help my children’s school use the internet to help parents be more involved. Or perhaps help senior citizens use the internet to tell their stories and communicate with their families. I am very excited at what I’ll be able to do when my youngest is in school and child care isn’t a problem. In the meantime, I’m having a great time learning.
My kids are the number one priority, however I do let a lot of housework slide. I figure once they are out of the sticky fingers stage, we’ll just paint over the mess.
As far as my sites, there are a lot of promotional things and tweaks I’d do if time weren’t an issue. It’s been a blast, even when I’ve had a difficult time learning.
3. What is the typical day of Tracy?
Wake up way too early with the kids, get everyone dressed and fed. The oldest lives with his father during the school year, so I take the 6 and 4 year old to school, then come home with the two little ones. We play and read books and if I am lucky, they play with each other so I can spend a bit of time attending to things on the site. Before lunch we get the 4 year old and come home to eat and the two smallest nap while the 4 year old has a rest (which usually involves playing with my iPhone and watching a cartoon) while I do some more site work. Then some housework, and at about 3 we get the 6 year old. Once we are home, more playtime, some homework with the 6 year old and make dinner.
My husband gets home at 6, then we eat dinner and get the children off to bath, stories and bed. By 8 they are all down for the night and we collapse for a few minutes. If he has work to do, I take that time to write. If he has no work, we watch tv together. Our favorite shows are 24 and House. Every Friday night I read a book. Weekends we run around like crazy trying to get errands and chores done.
4. What are your hobbies? Suppose you had a full day off of everything, what would you like to do?
Besides writing, my main hobby is cooking. Lately, I haven’t had as much time to cook as I’d like as the baby is something of a wild man and paying attention to pots and pans for longer than 3 minutes at a time is impossible! If I had a whole day off everything I would read and bake bread and go around to all the junk shops and look for odd things. Then I’d get my husband and go to see a play and have a really nice quiet dinner.
5. What do you think was the key to your latest success on the canned chicken post? Promotion? Content? SEO? Twitter?
I think the content was a big key, lots of pictures and something everyone could relate to. Everyone has seen a chicken, but nobody thinks a whole one would be in a can! I admit to taking the photos so they’d look as weird as possible without using photoshop or changing anything. Twitter and sites like Stumble Upon were a huge part of it going viral. I got lucky that somebody from Food Network Humor saw the post and asked to use the pictures and that’s how Gizmodo found it and from there, dozens of bloggers and forum posters found it and linked to it. Luck played a big part, too. The content was pretty good, but you never know what’s going to just take off.
6. Do you think the success will continue to grow or do you feel it was a one time hit?
I don’t think I’ll regularly get that sort of traffic, but I think I will continue to grow. The challenge is that I offer several different kinds of posts and they might not all appeal to the same audience. One thing I am considering is offering separate feeds. I am also going to do a site redesign so that people can more readily find posts that might interest them. I will be arrogant and say that I have a unique voice and I am certain my audience is out there!
7. If you could post on any major site / blog as an author, which one would you like it to be?
Oh, that’s a very hard question! I’d really love to write for a humor site like Best Week Ever. I’d also like to try my hand at something that is more like social commentary, such as Jezebel.
8. Do you let your kids use the internet? If one of them would tell you “Mom i want to be a full time blogger”, would you let him or would you try to talk him off?
I do let my kids use the internet, it’s such a major part of our lives. We do monitor the sites they are using and talk to the older ones often about internet safety. My oldest son wants to be a game designer when he grows up, if we let him, he’d play games all day long. If they wanted to be full time bloggers I’d say sure, I’d love for you to live at home forever. Heh. Seriously, I’d be supportive and tell them what my experience would be like. I think unless it was something I strongly felt was morally wrong, I wouldn’t try to talk my kids out of trying to do anything. One thing I wish is that my parents hadn’t been so gloomy about my chances for success in anything but the safest of career paths!
9. What would your advice be for other fellow bloggers?
Be patient. It takes time to build an audience. There is no rule that says you have to hit X milestone by Y time or you are a failure. Have fun with it, enjoy the experience and remember you are the boss of your blog!
Thank you so much for choosing me to interview! I’ve really enjoyed this!
I would like to thank you Tracy! It’s been so nice reading this and i am sure the other readers will agree. You can also find Tracy on her blog, twitter or forum!
Awesome interview! You sure are a busy woman. I don’t think I could be nearly as fun or creative with the schedule you have!
I think it’s awesome that your hard work has paid off well for you. I agree that you just never know what’s going to take off – next thing you know Rachael Ray will be calling you to find out where she can find a whole chicken in a can!!
I knew a lot of this about Tracy but didn’t know her daily schedule so well. I really don’t know how she does it – I can barely manager 1 child and I have a well behaved girl 😉
It’s surprising sometimes what ends up being popular …
And lol at “painting over the mess”.
Tracy – do you think you would have more free time if you taught the baby to play charades? 😉
Nice Interview. Its been good knowing about Tracy. Very inspirational.
Hi Blogger Dad and Kim – you know it’s funny, it really isn’t that much harder taking care of 4 kids than it is one kid. I probably have the same amount of time to work as you two do. The biggest challenge is making sure each boy gets one on one time with each parent. They don’t get as much as most kids, but they are learning how to get along in big groups!
Hi Mike and Prasanth, thank you so much for the kind words!
Thanks Stratos for interviewing me, it’s so much fun!
Thanks Stratos and Tracy for a great interview! I’ve tweeted with Tracy and read her blog, but it was nice to know more about her.
We did the “paint over the kids” thing, also got new carpets. It was a balance between kids being kids and us hollering at them all the time.
I really don’t know how Tracy does all that she does given her time constraints. She’s a model for the saying, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find the time to do it.”
Wonderful interview. It’s great to know about Tracy. I had never visited her site before, so it’s a pleasure to get introduced to such a nice blogger. I appreciate and respect her work and life as a mother, wife and blogger.
Gee Tracy, now I have to go over to you blog just to see what it is all about. That was a great interview and it raises one particular question. I know you have a heap of boys and all and was just wondering if you were going to try for a girl at all?
@All Thanks for dropping off guys and gals. It’s been a very nice short interview and many of us got to know Tracy better. I am glad that Raju and Sire will get to know her from this 😉
Nice Interview Tracy, Good to know more about you. It is amazing to know that in spite of having a very busy schedule, you are able to maintain a blog.
I don’t know tracy.
Managing site with 5 kids is really great.
From now on i will keep track of Tracy’s blog