I first signed up at PolicyMic because I felt compelled to make a comment on an article about Ron Paul. It was a good article, and as a writer, I appreciate good writing. A compliment was in order. I had absolutely no other motive. I glossed over something on the website about millennials, and nothing registered. I found the sign-up button, read no further, and signed up. I left my comment and went about my life.
Returning to my computer to check my emails, I received acknowledgment I’d signed-up for PolicyMic. I promptly deleted it. Another email arrived informing me my comment had been mic’d. I had no idea what the email was referring to so I clicked on the email link. It took me back to the article. From what I could gather, someone had appreciated that I appreciated the article. How funny was that? It was late. I was tired. My brain wasn’t working. I deleted the email and went to bed.
The next evening once again I discovered I had been mic’d three more times for appreciating another writer’s work. What was this? What was going on? Was it some sort of “pay-it-forward” game? Though it was late, and again I was tired, I went to the PolicyMic site with the intention of learning what this mic stuff was about. I got distracted (I do that a lot) by several of the headlines and ended up reading several stories. There were a couple of stories that begged commenting on, which I did. I went to bed. Are you getting the picture?
This went on a couple of days, I found more alerts, more people appreciating my appreciating. Some commented on my comments. Someone at PolicyMic had certainly come up with a clever idea for getting me to return to the site. I really didn’t mind. It meant I was in for some more good stories. Finally I was determined not to let myself get distracted. Returning to PolicyMic, I started researching.
I had to exit the site long enough to look up the definition of "millennial" and make sure I knew the meaning. I discovered I was right. "Millennial" with no "s" at the end = one thousand years. I thought I read someplace this site was by millennials for millennials. Something didn’t make sense. I searched for another definition of Millennials. I discovered I had signed up on a site targeted for people born after 1980!
OMG! I felt like such a fraud posting my comments. I’m a Baby Boomer! Did I need to cancel? I immediately checked out The Team. Most of them did look young. Especially, one of the founders, Jake Horowitz — such a sweet-looking young man. I read about him and was amazed at all he had done and accomplished. I was sure that either he must be lying about his age or the photo was an old one. If I were his grandmother I would be so proud. I checked out Christopher Altchek, the other founder. I was so thankful he abandoned a possible life of corruption. Finally I began opening articles just to look at the photos of other authors. I discovered people who were at least my age, if not older. But I still felt guilty.
Then I found the video explaining how PolicyMic works. How had I missed it? I watched it several times. I can be slow on the uptake. I still wasn’t sure I understood, but I had a better grasp of what all the mic’ing was about. Maybe.
Over the course of the next few days I came across a quiz. It’s designed to measure one’s millennialness. I took the quiz and a scored 78. I would have scored higher if only I played video games and had piercings other than my ears. I wondered what my children would say if I got an eyebrow ring? Or maybe a nose stud with a diamond!
Time went by and I received an email alerting me to the fact I had become an Anchor.
Ok. Time to go back to the website. There was still something not registering in my grey matter. I hunted and researched and started to play around. One of my sons told me not to be afraid with clicking on different buttons; excuse me, icons. I wouldn’t break the computer and there was nothing I might do that he couldn’t fix. After he reformatted my computer numerous times, and installed plenty of anti-virus thingiess on it, I took him at his word. I began clicking on everything to see where it took me and how everything worked.
Oh, dear. I accidentally rivaled someone one! What had I done? I finally emailed the PolicyMic staff explaining my dilemma. I received a quick and polite reply. All I had to do was click the icon again to remove the “rival” status. Sheesh. I pounded my head against my fist. I was certain I was either frustrating someone on the receiving end of my emails or giving them a good laugh.
I began commenting on more and more articles. It became a game to see if I could get all I had to say within the character limits. Soon I received notice I was being moved up another level and was going to get to write more. I liked that. More was good.
Let me interject here. I am a writer. Which means I write. Sometimes I get paid for it. Sometimes I don’t. My work has been published in a few magazines, newspapers and quarterly journals. I also write novels, which is different than saying I have had novels published. I simply love to write. I have always worked a day job.
Eventually the day arrived when I received the email announcing I had become a Pundit! I was invited to draft an article of my own. I was giddy. I did a dance. I called and emailed family and friends in my writing group. And I was scared half to death. What if what I wrote wasn’t accepted? What if the editors discovered I was only 78%er? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I took the leap. I wrote an article and it was published!
I received very polite feedback from an editor telling me how to improve future articles. I needed to use plenty of data. That meant learning how to use the data link and upload pictures. I could learn that. Once a master of DOS, new technological innovations still often pose a challenge. I sent several articles that must have disappeared into cyberspace. I tried again, trying my best to do everything correctly. I’m learning new tricks and feeling more millennial everyday. It wasn’t until after I became The Accidental Pundit I discovered I could have fast-tracked my first publication by attending Bootcamp.
The day arrived when I opened my Google News homepage and got the thrill of all thrills: glaring back at me were not one but two of the articles I had just submitted a few hours before. Geek that I am not, I took a picture with my digital camera. Then I remembered a joke one of my son’s pulled on me in the past. I actually had to do a search to find out how to do a screenshot of my Google News homepage. WARNING: A screen shot of a Google News homepage does not lend itself well as a desktop background.
PolicyMic is a great source for finding news articles that are both enlightening and entertaining. It is also the perfect platform for aspiring writers to communicate in open and civil debate on the issues of interest millennials. You don’t have to be born after 1980 to participate. Computer skills can be learned even by Baby Boomers. The editors are patient and helpful as you hone the art of journalistic-style writing. It is incredible see one of your own articles posted on PolicyMic. And the feeling you get seeing one of your own articles on your Google News home page may make you feel young enough to seriously consider body piercing.