Blogging in 2018 – Like An Idiot

Day 1: A Waste of Words

What Are We Doing Here?

This post is a manifesto for this blog,  I’ll explain that after exactly 106 words.

Print is dying a drawn out, agonizing death, while we all gather to gawk at its last painful moments. Unfortunately, on its way out, it might be taking blogging with it.

The act of reading the written word has severely receded as a global activity, as signaled by the decline of numerous blogs as well as a staple of print.

So, astute reader (notice the singular), you might be wondering what brings you here. Perhaps a Google search undertaken in a drunken stupor, or simply a toddler playing around with a keyboard. Or, possibly because I guilted you here. Welcome to the experiment.

The emergences of digital was print’s extinction event, major publications are succumbing to the toxicity. Some blogs are just oblivious to this and even conflate the lack of breathable air with “startup challenges” and stick to just one single medium for publication.

*Assume an appropriate Gif that might go here*

Nothing in digital media is set in stone. Simply because of how varied our demographics are. The purpose here is to learn by doing. Regularly publishing content in various formats. You’ll be subjected to my visage every now and again as well as my voice. So YouTube and Podcasts are part of the learning experience, with some impetuous livestreams thrown in.

Okay, so what are we doing here?

The experiment has the following aims:

  1. Learning
  2. Applying
  3. Wondering why people aren’t coming
  4. Wondering why that one post gained traction
  5. ????
  6. Selling soul for traffic
  7. ???
  8. Where’d that come from? Who put that there?
  9. ??
  10. Profits

That’s stupid, who even are you?

Advanced warning,  this section is entirely about me and I do love talking about me. If that does not interest you, then I invite you to skip to the next one.

Now, that the a-holes have skipped. Let me tell you nice folks about myself (in excruciating detail) I operate a digital media company called SurgEngin (the appellation of which we will visit another day). Our clients trust us to bring about significant digital change for them. My personal specialty has been the SEO niche, the sub-specialty being content generation. Despite all the hoopla around those three letters, it’s not that a complicated concept. Often, it’s quite paint-by-numbers. However, someone like me is called in when things aren’t working the way they’re supposed to. My vocation is synonymous with optimization. Optimization is the first step to growth, I now strive to understand that concept.

A significant amount of my life has been spent writing for magazines, popular and nameless alike, news sites, popular blogs, tech blogs, some random ones and then there was that Peabody Award Winning show (we’ll get into that in a future post).

All of this writing prepared me to embark upon the journey of how long it takes to go from point A to point B (if point A is total anonymity and point B is global fame). I realize that point B is not a universally accepted goal.

On top of that, I am also a teacher. I like taking what life I’ve lived (and this blog will stand as a testament to that adventure) and sharing that in a meaningful way with students.

Despite there being a tinge of hope in my heart that this might be the very thing that somehow revives the entire reading industry, realistically, I am expecting to attract a mere fraction of the audience I might have 10 years ago (if any). However, the agenda now becomes to say what you need to say and have it available to the world with as little friction as possible.

While I am very much interested in getting valuable feedback on this content, I also wish to emphasize that this blog stands as purely an experiment, so the tone will evolve, the content will change, the idea will change. The only thing I know, for certain, is that it will be frequent.

So what’s with the Design?

I don’t quite appreciate your blasé line of questioning, its coming off rather hostile, please.

Logo

The logo, or at least its facsimile, was chosen with the idea that it should look retro (as should the blog itself). I chose this tutorial to guide me on how to use illustrator well enough to pull it off. I have a problem that I need a whole lot of things spelled out for me and most tutorials, especially series, tend to assume a certain level of literacy that renders me useless. That  phase of the experiment did not go quite as well as I had hoped and I ended up with jumbled typography. I immediately scurried into the safe arms of Photoshop and churned out this little number (circa July 2018, in case I change it in the future).

The Logo I came up with in Photoshop Circa 2018

Fonts?

Which one is pretentious and which one is readable? Originally I was writing in Segoe UI, as I found it to more agreeable than Calibri or Arial. Then, I sought a font with serifs, as those are traditionally more readable and if you intend to keep up with the blog, there will be a lot of reading involved. The least I could do is make it less of a chore. I realize I could also make the actual content interesting, but that’s just more work for me. Hence, Book Antiqua. It’s easy to render online, it’s enjoyable and if you have a high resolution display, it makes the session fun too.

Theme

Two factors went into this particular choice.

  • Was it free?
  • Did it look like an old blog?
  • Will the visitors immediately see the latest content or will there be friction?
  • This is clearly more than *goes back to check* the Two factors promised at the origin of this list, what’s up with that?
  • Is there an archive? (there isn’t, I’ll have to revisit that someday)

What’s the process?

The following is how the brainstorming for this blog worked out.

I will sneak in personal anecdotes where I can, but I can’t deviate too far from the topic, lest I incur the wrath of the google bots and be deemed unworthy of ranking. Unlike today, where a topic, or purpose is nary to be found.

I then had to figure out how to make a logo using illustrator. So, why not hire a professional, like I would for a client? Simple, I don’t want to spend much on this. Rest assured (this sentence presumes you were emotionally invested in my finances, this sentence is a presumptuous asshole) that I do plan on spending some money on digital marketing, because it’s next to impossible to get meaningful growth 100% organically. However, any money spent will be logged and the parameters shared candidly, because you’ll recall that I plan on learning as I go just as much as I plan on growing.

I am absolutely certain that there will be thousands of similar experiments in full swing, but that’s part and parcel with the whole blogging gig and I plan on connecting with as many as possible to increase the knowledge acquired. I also want to create the least resistance to content, no matter the platform, it should be accessible.

I will make a follower count on each major channel as well as analytics on how it got there. These might be excessive, or they might be limited. The only way we’ll know is by doing.

To be fair, I am not starting from scratch. I have a pretty good idea about what I am doing here, the only challenge being that I have not yet crossed the 1 Million mark with any of my professional endeavours (clients or personal) and I must understand how to touch that.

When Are You Giving Up?

So, passive aggressive, dang.

I don’t know about that, my aim is to learn. I don’t think I’ll be giving up on that. The goals are small and achievable. Post frequently, spread, learn, apply, repeat.

I am nothing if not easily distracted. I looked up how to make a logo in illustrator, then I learned to make a monogram (taking a quick detour on how to make a good signature) and circling right back to the graphics design, and played some Red Alert 3 in the meantime.

Immediate thoughts: I should have added some images. I probably should have stuck to humor and the structure could possibly use some adjusting, but let’s see how we do. I’ll revisit this in a week and see if I can spruce it up.

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