Reflections on 2020 & End of Year Report

Part 1: Reflection and Her-Story

Salutations. It’s hard to know where to start, an unusual predicament for this slinger of words. Summarizing our work this year feels so much less important than trying to uphold the work of our fellow colleagues caring for those with COVID-19.

These are the times that most remind me of Dickens, and the words you have all heard of, even if you didn’t know who wrote them:

Image 1: Quote by Charles Dickens, the best of times, worst of times, from A Tale of Two Cities

Dickens, more so than any author I have yet read, captures the highs and lows of a year such as this. His genius for bringing characters—experiences you could relate with—out front and center has never ceased to amaze me.

Don’t get me wrong—he wasn’t a saint and has been decried as a writer of “fairy tales, pantomines” as opposed to prose, but when he died, people the world over mourned because of his loss, because of his stories.*

How Will We Tell This Year’s Story?

I do wonder how we will tell the tale of our work this year. How will we record our stories so that our history becomes his- or her- or their-story? What will the future remember about the year 2020 and about us?

Image 2: Quote by James Baldwin, the tale is never new and must always be heard, from Sonny’s Blues

What Have We Learned This Year?

As I looked back at our work this year, what I really wanted to ask my team was: what have we learned this year? So, before I get to some cold, hard data, we’re gonna’ run with a few reflections from the team.

Ashley (Content Specialist):

“What I learned:

  1. I miss interacting with coworkers at the office on a daily basis and the treats that would magically appear over on marketing’s side. 
  2. The thought of speaking up in meetings to express my ideas or feelings still terrifies me. However, meeting with clients one-on-one more frequently has really helped build my confidence in expressing my expertise. I learn best when I’m thrown into the lion’s den alone even if it makes me a nervous ninny.
  3. I love color-coding Excel spreadsheets! It helps me stay sane and organized when I’m managing 40+ freelance assignments. (I blame my color-coding madness on binging too many episodes of The Home Edit in quarantine).
  4. Location, location, location is of the utmost importance when working from home. A desk in front of a window with picturesque mountain views is beautiful, but extremely distracting. Sitting in front of a boring, blank wall seems to work best for my focus. 
  5. The Holiday soundtrack by Hans Zimmer and Richard Eliot’s cheesy 80s saxophone music is THE BEST for editing freelancer drafts. 
  6. I initially invested in a new bike to calm my pandemic-induced anxiety. However, my bike (Jessica) did much more. Because of her, I made new lifelong friends and pushed my body to bike into oblivion (400+ miles).”

Melissa (Content Specialist):

“Well, while nothing seemed to go quite according to plan this year, I’m happy to say I’ve learned some important lessons in adaptability, self-compassion, and, most especially, the healing power of kitty cuddles. I gained a new appreciation for things I hadn’t realized you could miss, like office chairs, second monitors, and the clacking sounds of my coworkers’ keyboards (you never really know what you have until it’s gone, I suppose).”

“I persevered through piles of QA spreadsheets, wrangled with SMEs and freelance writers, and polished up pages until they shined. Thanks to all of my fantastic coworkers and friends for your support and patience as I’ve worked to conquer this year’s many unexpected challenges.”

Matt (Web/SEO Support Specialist):

“In 2020, I’ve learned to take a moment each day and be grateful for the people around me, the things I have, and the opportunities I’ve been given.  Many liberties that we all take for granted have been suspended for much of the year, and I plan to relish things like family gatherings and recreational travel in a way I’ve never done before. “

Jen (ME! Content Manager):

“I learned that I can work from home and like it!”

“This year also led me to deeply question my unconscious cultural belief in what I thought was an unsegregated and fair society. Relationships with people of all sizes, shapes, and races have always made my life richer . This year, however, my attention was transfixed by listening to people of color and I heard amplified the pain the White race has inflicted. I internalized how deeply engrained the social contract is within me from my White culture, and how much I have to recognize my privilege every day.”

“Also, I learned that my cats will always take me for granted, even if I’m home all day catering to their every need.”

Part 2: Cold, Hard Data

I have pretty high expectations of my team. In spite of the pandemic and the corona-quake and the hurricane of 2020, I expected good work, and I was not disappointed. Here are just a few numbers that attempt to measure the outstanding work my team has done (#humblebrag).^

Major Projects

  • Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital site content refinement
  • Training in new content management system: Drupal
  • Coronavirus site structure, content, and maintenance
  • 3 Drupal migrations:
    • College of Health 476 +/- pages (MAJOR SHOUT OUT TO OUR FAVE WEBMASTER: ALEX LARSON!)
    • College of Nursing 202 +/- pages
    • Center for Clinical and Translational Science 236 +/- pages
  • Clinical services lines work:
    • Destination care program​ sites
    • 24 content audits and analyses
    • 11 clinical content strategies
    • 14 detailed web content performance reports
    • 63/103 health library content pages (freelancer management, editing, SME interview, page builds, final editing—averaging 15–25 hours per piece); 63 complete and published as of the date of this blog publication
    • Major upgrade to billing pages adding:
      • Insurance information
      • How to read your statement
      • COB statement
      • Financial assistance
  • ​Academic & additional work:
    • 3 college/school site audits
    • 9 monthly content performance reports supporting assets, covering the following platforms: Health Feed, Scope, Good Notes, HCI Circle of Hope, Moran News, patient stories, press releases
  • Client management
    • 5 colleges/schools
    • 10 major services lines
    • 50 +/- additional clients
  • Maintenance. So. Much. Daily. Maintenance.

Events of Note

Superheroes of Search: SEO Workshop 40 +/- attendees

Greatest Happenings

  • Domain authority increase +1, 89 to 90**
  • MarCom virtual Halloween party. (Yes. It was a thing.)

It’s with thanks that we see the year close. We feel happy to be employed and have challenging, engaging work.

And finally, ask yourself: What did you learn this year and how will you tell your story of this year? Let me know.

Image 3: Quote from Zora Neale Hurston, years that ask questions and years that answer from Their Eyes Were Watching God

Originally published on Pulse, the University of Utah Health MarCom Intranet blog

*A.N. Wilson, The Mystery of Charles Dickens, pg 6, published 2020

^Please note that unless otherwise specified, all data is tied to the dates of Jan 1, 2020–Oct 31, 2020.

**Don’t understand why that’s a big deal? Talk to me or attend the upcoming SEO summit, Jan 2021. It’s a BIG deal.​


The Kosher Use of Uppercase: A Brief Case Study

Capitalization has a long and sordid history, but generally a well-known meaning: the use of a Capital Letter places Emphasis on a Word. The stylistic guidelines regarding when it’s proper to use upper case and when not to differ widely from language to language and culture to culture.

HOWEVER, there is a right time and a wrong time to use capital letters.*

The Right Time to Use Capital Letters

Proper names and personifications – Ask yourself these questions:
• Is the word a name for someone you know or a person that theoretically exists (even though you haven’t personally met them)?
• Is it a trademarked phrase or name for a company, brand, or entity?
• Does it refer to a movement that exists in one place only in history, such as the Age of Enlightenment or Postmodernism?

If not, don’t capitalize it.

Titles (before, not after names) – I know it’s tempting to associate capital letters with important people, but technically capital letters are used to emphasize something or someone specific. For example, if you are referring to the president, then it works like this:

Example (right): President and Commander in Chief Barack Obama came to visit us.

But, if you aren’t referring to a specific president, but rather the fact that Obama is a president, you use capital letters like this:

Example (right): Barack Obama, president and commander in chief, came to visit us. (I didn’t make the rules—blame the style guides.)

The beginning of sentences – Here is where I pose the thinking question: Why do you think capital letters are used to begin sentences? Bonus question: Why are sentences that fall after a colon capitalized?**

The pronoun I – Since we are referencing a specific person, ourselves, it probably makes sense that we capitalize it. One does wonder, however, what that says about us and our culture…


Generalizations, such as specialties listed in a sentence or paragraph:

Example (wrong): The doctors at U of U Health Care specialize in Radiology, Neurosurgery, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

All of these specialties are general specialties (not that they aren’t still special); they don’t refer to a specific person, a trademarked company, or patent, so they should not be capitalized.

Titles after names: 

Example (wrong): Joe Jones, MD, Dean of the Department of Punctuation, requested that students express greater respect for the use of uppercase.

While the Department of Punctuation, since it refers to a specific if fictional department, can be capitalized, the word dean, since it falls after the current dean’s name, refers to the general position of dean, not the Dean Joe Jones himself.


This is a more recent use of capitalization stemming from our ever more frequent messaging with typed symbols to express ourselves as opposed to talking on the phone or in person where our body language can express tone or attitude.

Take a quick browse back over those paragraphs above. Which are easiest to read? Which are More Difficult to Make Out or Skim (a technique we frequently use in reading and not just on the web)?

Conclusion / CONCLUSION

The use of uppercase is a practice to be respected, particularly in formal or business writing. While legalese and, occasionally, bureaucratese can get away with almost everything, we regular peeps must abide by writing style guides to be respected as professionals in whatever sphere we adhere to.

Oh, and if you have a bit of time, read this highly entertaining article about the origins and use of caps lock: I TURNED CAPS LOCK ON FOR A WEEK AND EVERYONE HATED IT via @thisisfusion. It might change the way you type.

*I invite you to enjoy the dramatization—I think it adds to this piece. At least I hope you laugh.

**A: The use of a colon generally indicates an independent clause or sentence (the colon acts as the equivalent of an equals sign); independent sentences are almost always capitalized, except after a semi-colon. (Don’t you love English with all these exceptions and rules and best practices?)

Previously published on Pulse, University of Utah Health Care; used with permission.