Thursday, September 03, 2009

Post #1500. Now What?

I started this blog in July, 2006. I was a partner at a "new media agency" at the time and our company blog was fast becoming nothing more than a series of links and shout-outs to conferences or inane, mundane industry news. I always tried to make my posts on that blog interesting, but they'd quickly be buried by a colleague whose psychotic desire to get our blog a better Technorati ranking consumed his every waking moment, to the point that he was posting 20 times a day. In frustration, I created this one.

That agency, much like Technorati, is a relic of a bygone era, when blogs mattered and people who "surfed the net" were fond of something they used to call "bookmarks." SEO was still 50% legit and the MySpace Exodus was yet to come. Then RSS feeds got popular. Then Twitter took off. Technorati is about as accurate a barometer of a blog's popularity anymore as Dane Cook is capable of making me laugh; which is to say, not very. But at least Technorati is still in business. That defunct agency suffered a Biblical meltdown at the very hands of the above-mentioned colleague, who now goes about to small-circuit meet-ups and clubs, touting his amazing Social Media Ninja skills. "You need to blog with regularity. Set up a Twitter account. Monitor talk of your brand or company. Become the expert in your field. Blah blah zzzzz" (You thought I arrived at my social media disdain by being a skeptical observer? No, I have seen the dark side.) Did that sound bitter? I know. I'm working on it. I'll credit the gurus their tenacity and inventiveness, having built personal brands based on pure bullshit.

I believe in social media, but I don't think it requires a big bucks consultant to tell you what to do. It might require an intern to maintain a Facebook page, update your Twitter feed and have the authority to respond to talk of your brand. Keep in mind that when you use social media to spam or intrude, (otherwise known as "sales") you fail. That's why the kids left MySpace and will keep creating new and hidden ways of communing away from the marketers. It's a customer service tool and a buzz generator...and little more. Don't count on big ROI, none that you can accurately measure, anyway. That's why you put an intern on it. There is very little investment. Any return will be positive talk of your brand that outweighs the negative talk. You go on and figure out how that translates into "conversions." I'm not interested. It comes down to taking care of the small stuff, which anyone in business since the moneychangers in the Temple will tell you is often rewarded by the Holy Grail of Sales - repeat business. Now you know all you need to know about using social media for your business. Be careful out there.

Anyway (damn, wasn't expecting to go off on social media), this arbitrary milestone of 1,500 posts in a little over three years (about 1.5 per day) has me pondering "the next step." (You know, like Bowie or Madonna, always reinventing.) I sometimes see this blog as a burden, as have the authors of many of my favorite reads in recent years, disappearing without a word or sometimes announcing the end with finality. Wordpress and Blogger (and Posterous and Tumblr and Facebook and MySpace and LiveJournal and Friendster) are littered with the skeletons of long-dead blogs. "It's one more thing to keep up with when we have plenty to do already," they've noted. I know the feeling.

But whenever I entertain the notion of quitting this thing, I end up going back to why I started blogging to begin with. I need to create, maybe bounce stuff off of others. (The whole "conversation" thing.) Its likely because my job, like many of yours, is a maddening exercise in kissing ass and shutting up, keeping a sharp eye peeled for the next bus someone wants to throw us under. We blog to vent, to entertain ourselves and maybe a few others, and to do the things we want to do that advertising and marketing won't ever allow. Nobody promised us a work-life that satisfied. That's why they call it work. We get a paycheck. We try to do our best. We can't forget that while we may have entered the "creative" side for loftier reasons, we aren't here to make art, but to make a living. Could my blogging time be used in a more productively creative way, like maybe woodworking or learning a new language? Absolutely. And I might just start building Spanish Adirondack chairs someday.

And like most of you, I've got bigger plans for a vast media empire with a hidden agenda that I hope to control someday from a huge tower, where I will issue edicts and proclamations across my vast realm as I recline in grotesque luxury, eating the hearts and brains of interns and washing them down with the blood of my rivals. (I probably won't be that big of a dick, having spent way too much time in the dirt of the trenches, eating shit.) Maybe for the time being, this blog just serves as the cornerstone of that empire. Or maybe it will only ever be the place where I dump the random stuff and one-off junk I feel like saying or doing. That'd be fine, too. It serves a purpose either way.

So, I think I just talked myself out of retiring this blog. Sorry.

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  • Dear Mr. Jetpacks,

    What a relief! I was worried this might be a long goodbye. I would miss this blog terribly if it were gone (well, it would still be here, I guess, with those 1,500 posts, but still). Thank you for making me laugh at least twice a week. As a token of my gratitude, I could send you some of that beer fan stuff you liked so much but couldn't get shipped outside of Germany. Just say what you'd like (as long as it doesn't weigh a ton)!

    By Blogger textferry, at September 4, 2009 at 3:28 AM  

  • Love your work brother. Don't stop doing it. Ever!

    By Blogger Stanley Johnson, at September 4, 2009 at 7:08 AM  

  • Whew. That was a close one. I think.

    First Copyranter (for a minute.) Then Scamp (still gone). Then FnC (reborn).

    Not 'Packs. Not ever.

    By Blogger M.M. McDermott, at September 4, 2009 at 10:21 AM  

  • phewwwww. close one.

    keep it up. even when you are in the watch tower controlling mass media.

    By Blogger shaun., at September 4, 2009 at 10:28 AM  

  • I really thought that was the beginning of a dive, but fortunately it was a ski jump.

    By Blogger SchizoFishNChimps, at September 4, 2009 at 11:10 AM  

  • I love you all. Not in a sexual way. (Sorry, FishNChimps)

    By Blogger RFB, at September 4, 2009 at 11:42 PM  

  • Bite me.

    Love, Dane Cook

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 5, 2009 at 8:16 PM  

  • Having looked & read all the way from Amsterdam.
    Thanks for the good work & the best of luck.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 7, 2009 at 10:00 AM  

  • Would miss your blog very much. And that's a great appraisal of social media.

    By Anonymous Aaron, at September 8, 2009 at 7:42 AM  

  • i'm sure it's for people like patricia that jetpacks keeps blogging.

    By Blogger HighJive, at September 11, 2009 at 10:02 PM  

  • Hj: exactly . It's the Patiricias that keep me going.

    By Blogger RFB, at September 11, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

  • You can't trust Patricia - she is a lying WHORE!

    - Patricia's ex-boyfriend

    By Anonymous Zachary Constantine, at September 15, 2009 at 11:52 PM  

  • Jet, there's always a reason to be pissed and motivated to write. You are a highlight in many a dizzy day's worth of lame corporate life. I'm just sad I can't read at work and that I've yet to yield to buying an iPhone or any other phone type that will make me any less productive.

    What's funny to me is that though blogging might sometimes be a hassle, my gip is not that it takes too much time, though I do admit that it pisses me off that I can blogspot with ease while my book is stuck on chapter 39. But I've never thought of stopping because the one thing in advertising that has been by my rules has been my portion of our little blog that could.

    As for you going onwards and forwards... let us sigh with relief that anger and desire to write crazy shit outweighs productivity.

    By Blogger Joker, at September 23, 2009 at 12:30 AM  

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