Reaching Out

I’m a Leaf on the Wind

Yes I am in fact expecting to get skewered at any moment here.  I did a very dumb thing this morning, or at least I did it last night.  My wife crashed considerably earlier than I did, and by the time I ended up trying to put the house to bed… I was dragging horribly myself.  As a result I seem to have managed to deal with everything, except one of the most important items.  I forgot to set the alarm clock.  Since we are both well trained automaton drones… we only actually over slept 30 minutes.  However that thirty minutes is enough to throw the entire morning into a state of panic.  All of my nice buffers are completely gone and I am having to do things by the seat of my pants.

One of the negative side effects of being a man on a mission, is that even when a minor catastrophe strikes like this one… I still have to perform that mission.  I guess in the light of the Newbie Blogger Initiative this might be a useful post anyways.  I have set down a schedule and I am for the most part sticking to it regardless of the consequences.  This means that occasional I am going to have to knock out a very rushed posting.  Sometimes this is done the night before because I know I wont have time to deal with it in the morning, other times it will be like this morning and I am in an extreme rush to plot words down on the page.  In either case I have devoted myself to the routine and even if I were to miss a morning, the routine would dictate that I put something up before the end of the day.

Ash’s Adventures

I had a really odd weekend for me, in involving doing lots of non-gaming things.  As a result I have felt pretty out of it, and disconnected from my normal gaming group.  We all coalesced together for the AggroChat podcast on Saturday, but then I filtered off and was not heard from much on Sunday.  Somewhere during all of this I completely missed that our very own Ashgar decided to enter the Ne Blogger Initiative fray.  While currently he has the standard boilerplate “this is me” first post up, or in this case the standard programmer “hello world”,  it is a start into a much bigger world.  Funny thing is… as a programmer my very first post was a “hello world” as well, and his is much better than mine was.

All of this happened under my nose, and in my lapse in checking the forums.  It looks like he did this on Friday, so he completely neglected to mention it during the podcast.  I must scold him for not mentioning it on the podcast and giving himself a plug.  I am sure at this point he is in that odd phase where he isn’t sure if he made the right decision or not.  I’ve been there with my own blog, and you kinda just have to keep pushing forward until it starts to make sense.  The whole “fake it, until you make it” concept works well for blogging.  The only problem is at this point 5 years and 540 posts later… I still very much still feel like I am faking it.  I will do whatever I can to help bolster this effort.

New Crop is a Good One

One of the things about the Class of 2014 I have found the most impressive is how seamless they seem to have integrated with the existing community.  At this point I have already had a couple of length conversations with both Caewen and Missysmojo about bloggery things, and I had talked already to Braxwolf for what seems like ages.  Maybe that is the difference this year, much like with my friend Ashgar… this year seems to be full of folks who have been sitting in the sidelines and are now stepping forth into the game.  A large chunk of this years class are somehow already connected to established bloggers, and that is definitely easing the transition.  However for those who aren’t… I am still impressed by the amount of activity that is happening over on the Newbie Blogger Initiative forums.  I still stand by my statement that as a whole we look like we are going to have one of our strongest years yet.

Of course this is nothing to detract from the class of 2012 and 2013.  You guys rock because if you are still posting you’ve more than won the test of longevity.  I feel like the Class of 2013 and most definitely the Class of 2012… no longer get to call themselves Newbies.  You guys are now well established bloggers with our own readers and followers.  You guys are the proof that this month long madness seems to work really well in renewing our ranks.  The month serves as two things… firstly and most importantly it is a way to try and bolster the community.   If you read the news, they will tell you that blogging is dead.  Certainly Google demolishing Reader was a significant setback in my readership, and I figure it has been for lots of other bloggers as well.  However we are still here and still plying our trade.

Reaching Out

The new reality is that we have to work harder to reach our readers.  For me this involves a complex sequence of events that involves a lot of automatic syndication to lots of different social media networks.  I want to make it ever easy for my readers to find me, regardless of the platform… and this has involved me branching out into networks that I have zero interest in actually being a part of.  However the end result feels like a much more connected experience.  I don’t care if someone is commenting on my blog, retweeting or replying on twitter, or writing a really awesome and long form response on G+.  I am interacting with my readers on whatever platform is most comfortable to them.  However it also means that I have a whole lot of hoops that I have to jump through.

I’ve come to realize that each of the social media platforms is like a little club.  I know personally I get frustrated as hell when someone tries to force me to use Facebook.  However I am there posting my content, because I know for some people Facebook is their comfort zone.  Similarly I have started trying to branch out into Anook, after a length conversation with their community manager.  Sure it is a little more work on my side to make sure I am spreading my content everywhere it can be spread, but in doing so I am trying to reach the most people I can.  Sure the numbers in the analytics look nice, but for each person I reach out to they are a potential new friend.  As much as I pretend to espouse a philosophy of “hating people” the opposite is actually true.  Growing up an “only child” has made me want to surround myself with awesome people, and the way I meet more awesome people… is by first reaching out.

So while I first intended to simply syndicate to Facebook for example, I am actually starting to use it when someone replies.  I am also finding a surprising number of people interacting with me over Tumblr, which previous was just that place where I reposted interesting comic and gaming photos.  The same is starting to happen as I allow myself to get more involved in what appears to be a community of Twitch streamers.  It takes effort on my part, but I am finding that each one of these new ramparts is not by any means impassible.  It seems that if you put yourself out there, folks will generally embrace you.  Essentially with the great reduction in the traction that RSS has, I am trying to include pretty much everyone as I move forward.  Trying to tailor my content so that it appears in whatever format they feel most comfortable consuming it in.  I am by no means a heavy traffic site, but I am seeing the fruits of this effort.  At the end of the day I write these words to be read, so if more people are reading them… it is worth the extra work.

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