Five thoughts on five thoughts

On Friday I wrote a blog post offering five thoughts on the Fantastic Four. I’ve had that one in my head for a while—since I restarted this blog actually. Originally it was going to be four things about the Fantastic Four—which, obviously, makes sense thematically. But I’ve been writing five thoughts about the Raptors every game and I’ve found myself enjoying it; so much so that I’m actually considering writing every post that way.

As a matter of fact… I have five thoughts about it:

  1. It’s a bit gimmicky. But it’s also a decent hook for a blog that doesn’t have much connective tissue beyond “things I like to write about.”
  2. There are some inherent challenges—but challenges are good. The first challenge is that it’s a constraint, a structure that I’m locking myself into that may not always fit “what I like to write about.” But I think that’s a good challenge. If it’s one of those short little curated pieces, maybe it’ll make me think more deeply about it. If it’s something I initially want to write more about, maybe it’ll help me focus my thoughts. And if I can’t make it fit the format… then maybe it isn’t right for the blog?
  3. If I really want to go deep, I can always do “five more thoughts.”
  4. My Photog category—which was essentially my Instagram replacement—definitely doesn’t fit this format. But I have a couple thoughts on how to make it work… and besides, I haven’t been using it much anyway. If this little idea works—and we’ll see at the end of this week—
  5. Part of the reason I’m doing this blog at all is to try new things and experiment with my writing. Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t!

Now my next challenge is finding a better way to title these posts! I can’t keep calling them “five thoughts on…” every time…

The Straw that Broke the Social Media Camel’s Fake Back, or something

“Why’d you start this blog” is always a good blog post to write.

The easy answer is, “I’m a writer, I love to write and I have lots to say.” And that’s true, but there’s a little more to it, and it mainly has to do with Facebook, and social media.

Although I “celebrated” 10 years on Facebook earlier this year, I’ve never been a huge user of the platform. I have a small group of friends and family and check in regularly to see what they post; I don’t follow many “third parties” on there, other sites or personalities or what-have-you. This means my news feed is—other than ads—almost exclusively posts and shares from people I actually know.

I post maybe once a month or so myself; it was definitely more frequent 8-9 years ago.

On the other hand, I am was a fairly heavy Instagram user. I take a lot of photos on my phone and I like to share them. I recently started a second account to share some of the cool comics and geek stuff I have in my library, and that’s been a fun exercise (and the fact that I’ve been able to do it consistently is part of the reason I thought I might be able to make the blogging thing work this time). Both of those accounts are public.

But I haven’t posted on Facebook or either of my Instagram accounts in over three weeks. The ongoing string of “no, Facebook is actually kinda awful” stories seems to have broken me.

I don’t meant to single Facebook out; YouTube is taking crap right now for promoting fake news stories about Las Vegas as well, and I’m sure Snapchat and Twitter and LinkedIn and all the rest are equally awful. People in my age group and above have complained about social media for years and my response has always been, “hey, you’ll only get out of it what you put into it,” meaning if you don’t want to post about what you had for breakfast or read about the latest Kardashian dating crisis, you don’t have to. If you just wanted to connect with a few friends, like I was doing, it could be used for that.

But when these channels start influencing elections and terrorism and put peoples lives at risk, that’s something different. You can’t ignore that, or at least I can’t.

So I’m not sure how much I want to be present on those platforms anymore. I have 30+ photos and about half-dozen a posts written for the geek sanctuary account, just waiting to be posted, but I seem have lost the motivation to do so.

Meanwhile, as a content marketer, I know I can do all of this stuff myself, on a channel I own, without the help of Facebook. Sure, if I really want eyeballs, I should use those channels to promote my content. And of course, it’s a one-way communication channel. I lose the “social aspect” of it.

But then there’s the real question—what am I really losing? Am I really actively engaging with friends and family on social media, or is it just habit, activity for the sake of activity?

I don’t know. I just know it makes me uncomfortable these days.

So I’m gonna try this out for a while, and maybe wean myself off those other channels where I can, and see where I end up.

Thanks for reading.

Scattergories

This blog is built on WordPress, ‘cause WordPress is the best. WordPress allows you to use categories to sort and classify your posts; I have six at the moment. What are they, and why do I have them? Some are self-explanatory but others actually have some history behind them:

Opinions Between the Panels: Way, way back, circa 2001, I started my very first blog, although I don’t think it was called blogging back then – it was just a website. Specifically, it was a website where I reviewed comic books and I called it Opinions Between the Panels, a take-off on the title of Mike Richardson’s history of comics, Comics Between the Panels. It was short-lived. I revived it briefly a few years back. It was even shorter-lived. Third time’s the charm? So this category is where I’ll be opining on all things comic book- and geek-related.

Personal Reflections: Kind of a catch-all title, these will be my personal thoughts on… anything? I don’t think I’ll be getting too deep or too personal, but we’ll see how it goes, eh?

Photog: I take a lot of pictures. Not particularly good ones, necessarily, although sometimes I surprise myself… anyway, since part of the purpose of this blog is to host my own content, rather than hosting it on Instagram or Facebook, I plan to share some pics here.

Random Musings: Quick hits that aren’t as meaty as “Reflections”. I foresee these as being more like Facebook posts, since, again, trying to wean myself off those platforms.

Raptorama: Some more history, one of my other aborted blog projects was a Raptors blog of this same name, and I really enjoyed that one. But being a sports blogger is damn hard work – it’s pretty much a full time job, and if you have another full time job, you gotta be hardcore dedicated to it. So this isn’t a full time Raptors blog, but I’m still an NBA junkie and a die-hard Raps fan so I’ll have Raptors and basketball thoughts to share from time to time.

Working Life: I’m in content marketing, so creating and maintaining a personal blog is crossing the two streams for sure. I expect that’s part of why past blogs haven’t stuck… but now I feel like I’ve learned enough that I can do this effectively and not have it just feel like work. And, by sharing work-related thoughts, it can become a bit of an outlet as well.

So there you have it: That’s what the categories mean, and what you can expect to find within.

(And now it occurs to me: Do I need a seventh category, for general blog business…? Hmm.)