THE GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STORY: Blogging Ain’t Everything!

Like a Jay-Z retirement, I wasn’t stepping away from the social media game, but my relationship with it was definitely changing. When I met someone at Friday’s TacoTweetup who asked how many tweetups I’d been to, his eyes bugged out when I answered “I dunno — 100? 150?”

For a while there, Twitter was my life.

When I get into something, I really go deep. I have a live recording from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon of Drake performing “Too Much” from his upcoming Nothing Was the Same album which is currently playing for the 57th time — and it premiered Saturday night (zoom ahead to 5:15 in the video if you want to check it out). So when I found out about a place back in 2010 where I could be as crazy as I wanted and people were happy for it, there was no way I was looking back.

But it was always a juggling act.

The eldest of three boys, I’ve always been the “model son”. Never got in trouble; always did well in school; got a stable job; and married with kid on the way. In many ways, I’m a traditionalist, building a strong foundation so I can make the best of the life I lead.

But the other side of me wants to hit every event, blog on all the things, and live like life has no limit. He shows up to events, cash in one hand and camera in the other — because there’s no moment other than the one you’re in right now, so why not live it to the fullest?

But the longer you spend immersed in social media, the more you learn a simple truth — social media isn’t reality.

Man Up

What really killed the “social” in social media was just growing the hell up.

Recently, I took a step back from social media to start working on my life away from the computer. It wasn’t a grand exodus, but enough of a change that I could do things like tackle a new job and convert my home office into a nursery. We’ve all got things to do in our lives and choices to make — it was time for me to man up a little and start acting like an adult.

You can only live in Dreamland for so long. Wining and dining in exchange for a few words on social media is a pretty sweet deal, but free meals won’t keep a roof over your head. Many tell themselves that they’re paying their dues — all this face time is merely the path to something better; but it only reminds me of a phrase I was fond of a decade ago:

You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself!

The Cost of Blogging

Everything has a price. Looking at my friend Zach, he’s spent 2013 living A Sponsored Life in a large-scale social experiment, but has to deal with the negative press from those who consider him a freeloader and don’t really get what he’s trying to accomplish.  Or how about the numerous times someone takes a pot shot at someone else’s social media snafu, only to have it bite them in the rear end later on?

There, too, is a cost to blogging.

With my blog, after years of trying to build something meaningful, I finally started feeling like I’d carved something I could call my own — but there’s a constant battle I’m fighting; the one where if I take one step too far in the wrong direction, I’m in danger of selling out everything I believe in. I’ve been blessed to receive so much over the years, and to have access to so many opportunities — but if you forget who you are, all of it can change you.

And not for the better.

But the pitches pile up, the handshakes happen, and for every post you write to chat on something that landed at your doorstep, that’s two you’re writing to show that there’s still a heart beating in your chest. You become your own worst enemy, trying to keep up with an editorial calendar out of control — with you smack in the middle.

Not the most sustainable lifestyle.

So I took a step back to take stock of my life. I took a look at the job I’m fighting the odds to excel at, because I don’t see failure as an option. I look at my wife and the new life that she’s mere months from bringing into this world and the new adventure we’ll be travelling. I look at friendships in need of care and repair, left neglected while I started too hard in the wrong direction.

Blogging ain’t everything and I’d do well to remember that.

Will the Real Casey Palmer Please Stand Up?

So in the meantime, you’ll need to bear with me. I still want to hit all the places and do all the things — but Daddy Casey comes first. White Collar Casey comes first. Husband Casey comes first. There’s so much I need to be other than a blogger — and without these, blogging wouldn’t be everything at all — it’d be nothing without a story to tell.

And no one wants that.

Until the next time,

–case p.

WHAT YOU MISSED (Vegas Edition) — Being a #BiSC-uit: A Weekend That Changes EVERYTHING

A whole group of BiSC-uits dressed up for the White Party at BiSC 2013!
Photo courtesy of San.

Sometimes you just won’t recognize something that’s been missing in your life until you experience it.

I’ve been back in Toronto a few days now after almost a week spent in the crazy of Las Vegas — but I haven’t blogged. I haven’t felt the urge to get back in the mix and put my blood, sweat and tears into my content… not unless I was ready to chance everything and start to write stuff that lives up to my potential. That week in Vegas — much of it spent at Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC) — returned something to me that I didn’t know I was missing. It gave me something that makes me look at the world around me in a different way, and changes what I’m trying to accomplish with everything I do.

It gave me hope.

BECOMING A BETTER BLOGGER: Square Peg, Round Hole

A complex drawing I made back in 1999.
There was a time where I realized that creating anything that was worth it would need a WHOLE lot of work. I mustn’t forget this.

Blogging is a hustle. It requires you mind, heart and soul to produce content and have it truly reflect who you are. With so many bloggers out there, you’re unlikely to see any returns from your writing without a lot of effort and a lot of time. Building a blog is a labour of love, and you need to mould it into something outstanding. But if you’re a blogger putting content out and relying on consistent frequency and not consistent quality, I’m sorry, but you’re doing blogging wrong.

Is Consistency King?

These past few years of immersion in social media haven’t been passive for me. On top of all the events, the tweets and the new relationships I’ve developed over that time, I’ve attended many webinars and conferences; read ebooks and blogs; and spoken with many “thought leaders” about social media and being successful with it.

Much of it points to the same thing — be consistent with your content. Let your audience know when to expect the next instalment so they’re subconsciously ready for it. Expectation is key.

And I agree — I’d love to move to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday format, putting content out at 9 every morning, ready for all the people who want some content to consume before they start their busy days. But that’s not going to happen.

Not yet, anyway.

Thirst vs. Truth

I’m a mix of a few things when it comes to my blog — a realist, impatient, and an ambitious perfectionist.

My realist side knows that there’s only so many hours in a day, and that blogging isn’t my top priority. My marriage; my relationship with family and friends; and maintaining enough income to support my lifestyle (among others) far outrank it, so I must be realistic about how much time I can put toward my blog.

My impatient side, however, wants to see this change. It wants importance now. It wants to make blogging a higher priority and for all of it to amount to something today — to call his own shots and be seen as some authority in some industry somewhere. He has no plan (he hates planning) and wants everything to happen immediately, without fully realizing how much work it takes for anyone to get anywhere.

Especially in social media.

But it’s the ambitious perfectionist side of me that’s really running the show. He refuses to release content until he’s added tags to the images; scanned the text to make sure it delivers as powerfully as possible; and feel like it’s the best possible effort that he could put out. Sure, he’d like to put content out regularly, but to him, blogging is an art form and he’s not about to compromise it by trying to force something mediocre out to try to hit an arbitrary schedule.

And that’s where I see the problem — too many bloggers are using an outdated rulebook and focusing on hitting that schedule without making sure that what they’re putting out is the very best that they can produce.

Quality Over Quantity — Every. Single. Time.

Crosswordmania 2008
We can’t accomplish anything that’s worth it overnight — just ask the ridiculous amount of crosswords, Sudokus and other word and number puzzles I solved to try to hone my brain!

Blogs have been around for well over a decade, and it’s not like the market for people’s attention has shrunk since then. If you want to make an impact, you’ve got to give people a reason to want to pay attention to you. Engagement isn’t a natural by-product of creating content consistently — you have to earn it by making stuff that you stand behind. That you’re passionate about. That you believe in.

And you won’t get that if you half-ass your craft to hit a quota.

To those of you who’ve managed to balance quality and frequency, I applaud you. You invest the time, you don’t cut corners, but your time management skills are stupendous enough to keep it consistent. You are the type of bloggers we need to aspire to become if we ever want blogging to get the respect we so obviously crave.

To everyone else — it’s time to wake up; mediocrity isn’t going to cut it anymore. The Internet is flooded with content — most of it mediocre — and convincing an already-swamped audience that you’re the person to listen to will need info and content with the highest calibre of authority, entertainment and value available to them. It’s like I said before — stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, and guess what:

if you don’t step your game up, you’ll definitely be falling behind.

–case p.