1. HOW’D YOU COME UP WITH HUMANS OF THE ATLANTA BELTLIN* (HOAB)?
I’m pretty much obsessed with Brandon Stanton, who started Humans of New York. I’ve been a huge fan of his for years and seen the wonderful stories and changes he’s been able to create and I wanted someone to replicate that here in Atlanta. Humans of Atlanta was already taken, so I gave a shot at it somewhere that brings me joy – so I picked the BeltLin*.
2. SO, WHY THE NAME CHANGE?
I found out that the word BeltLin* is actually trademarked and I was told that I needed to change it by some really smart and expensive lawyers (I didn’t pay, they offered to help me for free!). I was not given a cease and desist from the BeltLin*, but since the story about the name of my blog broke – there were many people who came forward saying they had been issued one. I honestly didn’t know what to do, so I just stepped back and thought about it. My conclusion was that the name is a hurdle and it is taking away from the growth of the BeltLin* and costing surprisingly a lot of people time and money. So, this was my solution.
3. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING ASKED TO CHANGE IT?
I had a lot of feelings at first. I had innocently posted on my fb page asking what I should change the name to, and then it got picked up and then I was being interviewed. I didn’t realize how big of an issue it was. But, it was something pressing on a lot of people. And then a lot of folks started coming forward saying they support me and the blog which was really sweet to hear and see. But, my heart kind of hurt because I never meant to cause any harm – so I hope the BeltLin* folks aren’t upset with me.
4. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN GOING OUT ON THE BELTLIN*?
I used to run out there when it was just wood chips. Then I became obsessed with biking one spring/summer and started a biking group. We’d rent bikes then start pub crawling along the BeltLin*. I basically wanted to recreate the same feeling I had when I was growing up. You know, where you get up in the morning, go out all day and play with your friends. And every single time I’m out there, it’s a different experience – but each time fills my heart with joy.
5.WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED DURING YOUR INTERVIEWS?
So much that it's tough to summarize. One thing though that's for sure - is that each interaction is incredibly touching. And each person/pet connects hearts in their own authentic way!
6. OKAY, BACK TO THE NAME CHANGE – HUMANS OF THE ATLANTA HEARTLINE (HOAH) – HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT?
After I found out that I had to change it, I was kind of stuck on trying to figure out a name. Then I had a memory pop up on facebook at the end of November of the first photo that I took for my blog where I had described the BeltLin* as one, big ol’ heart around Atlanta. So, that was it for me – and I wanted to keep “Line” in it so people could easily figure out this was a substitute for it.
7. AGH, I GET IT – HOW ABOUT THE LOGO, HOW’D YOU COME UP WITH THAT?
I wanted to create something that everyone could use – and that was easy to replicate. So, I thought, anyone can draw a heart on top of a line, so it’d be an easy logo to create on their own. And if they would like – my logo is free for them to use! I purposefully didn’t trademark it because I want to share the name with everyone because we all need to call it something and I hope this will help everyone.
8. VERY COOL – SO ANYONE CAN SAY “HEARTLINE” OR USE THE LOGO?
Yup, anyone. It’s not mine. It’s a creative solution in the form of a gift to Atlanta. I hope the gift doesn’t get returned!
9. SO WHAT HAVE YOUR FRIENDS SAID ABOUT THE NAME CHANGE – HAVE YOU TOLD ANY OF THEM?
Yeah, all except one of my friends is very supportive with the name change! He thinks I'm “caving in” - but that person isn't the one currently getting legal counsel :)
10. ARE YOU GOING TO START MAKING MONEY OFF OF IT?
My blog will always remain free. I’d love to make money off my passion though! I also want to start really getting more into the Series stories – where I can hopefully raise money for some amazing nonprofits and organizations right here.
11. HAVE YOU DONE ANY SERIES STORIES YET?
Just one, for my favorite nonprofit, Soccer In The Streets! They adopted me into their volunteer program a few years ago now and it’s been so wonderful to see them grow and add enormous value to Atlanta through soccer. I love their mission and hope to continue doing more for them in the many years to come!
12. HAVE YOU BEEN OFFERED MONEY FOR YOUR BLOG?
Funny enough – and surprisingly – yes! I couldn’t believe it. I was actually offered money this past fall when the trademark issue popped up and people started noticing it. I didn’t accept that money though because I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to do anything “bad” – but honestly, I could have really used that money.
13. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HOAH TURN INTO?
HONY has an amazing community that makes positive changes happen. I'd love to see those kinds of changes happen in Atlanta from the stories I share - that'd actually be a dream come true for me.
14. VERY COOL, ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY?
Yeah, thank you Atlanta humans and pets - and our Atlanta visitors!! I cannot even begin to describe how much my heart has been touched by y’all! I hope that my blog is delighting your hearts and I hope that I can continue to bring you joy. Thank y’all so much – I just really appreciate each and every one of you!