Newtown

I Blog Therefore I Am


The other night, while putting our son to bed, my wife turned to me as I fiddled with my iPhone and said “You’ve been on that thing ALL NIGHT.”  I responded by chucking my phone across the room in disgust (note: I threw it on the bed, no way I’m going to purposefully hurt my little iFriend).

Facebook LogoAnyway, one needs to use their iPhone a lot to get that kind of declaration from my wife — she’s got a busy job and she is on-call almost all the time while I, on the other hand, have not worked full-time (yeah!) since 2011.  There’s really no reason for me to be on my iPhone for any excessive amount of time. It’s my job to be fully engaged with our son.  I’ve been thinking about her observation that night, and my reaction, and I have come to some conclusions.

My first conclusion is fairly obvious — if you don’t pay attention to your habits, it’s really easy to get addicted to Facebook and Twitter.  After all, I need to be on top of the news and know what restaurants my friends are eating at.  But, digging deeper…

I found that my significant increase in the use of my iPhone started when I joined a new group of Dad Bloggers on Facebook a few weeks ago — a closed group of about 200 dads who run their own blogs.  Some of these guys have blogs like mine, while others (most) have much larger ambitions working to make their blog a source of revenue, attending Dad conferences, working with advertisers and corporate sponsors and ultimately attracting thousands of Facebook and Twitter followers. I have 70 followers.  Am I out of my league?  Maybe.  Or am I just in the wrong league?  But, digging deeper…

I consider myself a pretty competitive person.  Not exactly Michael Jordan, but I like for people to think I’m great at something.  I want to be the guy with thousands of Twitter followers, or at least I think I do.  I’m Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything looking for a “dare to be great situation.”  When I post one of my blogs for the Dad group to read, I want a “wow, great blog” but other guys get that before me.  I want to understand the inside jokes, I want to be “one of the guys,” not on the outside looking in (any personality or leadership assessment I’ve ever taken points to a high inclusion score for me, FYI).  So, slowly, I’ve realized that being part of this group is kind of getting to me.  I find myself spending too much time reading their blogs to see if they write better than me and trying to understand what they’ve done to get such a great following.  And let’s be clear, this has nothing to do with any of them (they are people, except one, that I don’t even really know).  This has everything to do with me — they are doing their thing and I have nothing but respect for that and wish them all the success.  But, digging deeper…

Where does all this leave me?

I started Man on Third on a whim.  I thought of the title and wrote the “why Man on Third” blog in less than an hour.  The posts I’m most proud of like “Daddy Dating” and “Newtown” all just flew out of my brain and into my computer in minutes — one take, minor editing by my wife and off for the world to see.  Man on Third has provided me with the creative outlet I so needed after leaving my former corporate life.  I’ve discovered that I love to write without corporate boundaries (although I loved that too).  I love trying to come up with a new angle on an old topic or write something that makes you laugh or think.  I love hearing from my friends who tell me they like a specific post, I love it even more when some of you share what I’ve written.   But, the day I’m writing stories specifically to gain followers (how many more “10 ways to know your toddler is a flirt” stories do we really need?), the day that I’m not writing about things I’m passionate about, the day it takes me two days to write a post vs. 2 hours, the day it becomes a job is the day – for me — that Man on Third will get tagged out rounding the bases.

Baseball great Jimmie Foxx rounding third base.

Baseball great Jimmie Foxx rounding third base.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to be a dad who blogs, but not a daddy blogger; a stay-at-home dad who doesn’t stay at home; a husband who goes to Starbucks every day but hates coffee, a father who feeds his son fruits and vegetables while eating cookies, a friend who would do anything for his friends, except email them back, a son and brother who is so close but so far away, and a dog owner without a dog.

And so marks six months of Man on Third.

I hope you keep reading.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Vince Welter 
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Boston Public Library

7 replies »

  1. I think I’ve gone through all if not most of the same feelings at one point or another. There are times when I’m on the laptop in the kitchen and my son is on his own playing and watching TV in the living room. I turn to look at him and realize I need to get off the computer and spend this once in a lifetime quality moment with him.

    Chris Hall
    The Adventures of Jaydon and Daddy
    http://JaydonAndDaddy.com

    • Chris — thanks for reading my blog and for your comment. I do the same thing — it’s so easy to get addicted to all of our electronics — I sometimes hide my phone from myself at night so I’ll be able to focus 🙂

  2. Hi Neil- (still waiting for you to email me back from MONTHS ago!) 😉

    All I can say is A-FRIKKEN-MEN to “But, the day I’m writing stories specifically to gain followers (how many more “10 ways to know your toddler is a flirt” stories do we really need?), the day that I’m not writing about things I’m passionate about, the day it takes me two days to write a post vs. 2 hours, the day it becomes a job is the day – for me — that Man on Third will get tagged out rounding the bases.”

    I enjoy the dad bloggers group, and find it helpful in many ways. And there is lots of great stuff out there. But find the various ploys to desperately “build” readership through giveaways and posts built specifically for eyeballs and not out of any sense of meaning, and the efforts to monetize by being bought for $50 to write a positive review or link to some company frankly pretty awful. It smacks of desperation and ruins the social media landscape for guys like you and me.

    Maybe I shouldn’t judge because my blog goals are different than just building “followers” who don’t actually don’t care as long as they get a 1 in 2000 chance to win some dad-product (whatever that means).

    This is all a roundabout way of saying, I feel you, man. I want to do good stuff, so do you, so do 80% of the dad bloggers. 20% just want followers/a little bit of money. Don’t let that knock you out of the game.

    • Thanks Scott! Appreciate your comments. As a former PR guy, I think some of the dad bloggers don’t realize that they are hurting their credibility and content by taking products from companies, but to each their own. It’s very hard for a one person “shop” to be in charge of both editorial and marketing/sponsorships without being biased (e.g. newspapers have some type of wall up between the two to at least try to reduce bias), but there’s obviously enough room for every type of blog. Sometimes it’s helpful to learn both what you want to be and what you don’t want to be. And, seriously, I emailed you last — sent you a really nice note over the holiday break 🙂

  3. although I hate wearing glasses, i will always put them on so that I can read your Man on Third blogs. They never fail to amaze me.

    Sent from my iPad

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