THE GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA STORY: What I Learned from Applying to be an Island Connoisseur

What up world? I know — it’s been a while and the world hasn’t stopped turning in my absence, but to put it simply, this boy’s been busy.


One major item that flooded my headspace was the 60 Days in Paradise contest, which sought to award one Canadian $50,000 ($30,000 pay for documenting a $20,000 trip). Though I didn’t place in the Top 10 and advance, it was a great wake-up call to get my head out of the clouds and return to taking care of house and all the opportunities I already have around me.

But losing in a contest with such an attractive prize, especially when you’ve convinced yourself that you must stand a good chance with a killer music video, heartwarming bio; and plenty of interaction about the contest while the judges made their decision — it can take a toll. Once upon a time, I’d sulk it out. I still remember to this day what it felt like to get 8th in the 8th Annual Ontario Spelling Bee finals, tripped up on a word as simple as “perusal” (which I swear was pronounced by a man with a heavy Southern twang, making it sound like “puh-rooz-e-ul”). Or when I flunked my driver’s test in 2003, getting me so down that I wouldn’t try again until my 30th birthday.

This is a different me, though.

Ford Canada | North American International Auto Show 2014 | Three Days in Detroit for Some #FordNAIAS Fun!

I haven’t been out to the Detroit-Windsor corridor since late 2008 when my brother-in-law got married there, and only 9 months into dating, Sarah led me into an ambush, seating me at a table with many of her paternal uncles and cousins who I’d meet for the very first time. (Quite the feat to make a good impression while hungover, but that, my friends, is a story for another time!)

Proud to drive an Edge!

But Ford Canada’s been really good to me these past couple of years. From inviting me to their second annual Blue Party to sending a care package when I bought my 2011 Ford Edge last summer, they’ve been a solid team to work with.

This year, they kicked it up a notch by invited me as one of a dozen Canadian bloggers as their guest at Putting You In The Driver’s Seat: the NAIAS Blogger Experience, which revolved around the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan.

WHAT YOU MISSED (Vegas Edition) — BiSC and Vegas, Day by Day

BiSClaimer: You’re about to experience my six-day Vegas adventure in the span of one post. If you’re not ready to take in all the awesome through text, video and images galore, turn back now. Once I start, I will not stop until it’s out of my system. You have been warned.


“What was BiSC? …It was Casey.”

Amanda Kruse

It’s been almost a solid month since Bloggers in Sin City, and it’s taken about this long to get off the buzz from my BiSC-uit high. In the time since I’ve been back, I’ve volunteered at a national conference, listened to amazing speakers, eaten delicious food and got up to much of the madness I would’ve done before I went to BiSC.

But it just wasn’t the same.

When I got back, many friends and family members expected that I’d spent all my time partying, getting drunk and gambling, because that’s what you do in Vegas, right? At least that’s what TV and movies tell us.

But there’s so much more to the Vegas experience than you can imagine. You need the right people and the right opportunities to make it happen, though!

And BiSC? BiSC was a perfect combination of both!

I’M NOT DEAD, I’M JUST A DAD: The Road to Fatherhood — First Steps

Our sonogram meme’d by Justin Baisden.

The Dad is the unsung hero of parenting, and it’s easy to see why. They don’t grow babies inside of them for 40 weeks. They don’t breastfeed or have the same degree of parental instinct as mothers do. In many parenting situations I’ve seen, the role of the Dad is ambiguous. Secondary to the mother. Perhaps a pale shadow of motherhood, expected to do her same function, but perhaps with a slightly masculine twist to it.

Our memories are shorter now than they’ve ever been (thanks, technology!) — there’s a lot about my Dad I remember from my later years, but much of my childhood is a blur. And in a family with both parents working to make ends meet, what I do remember is lots of time in my Grandma’s basement, watching TV or horsing around with my brother until my parents come home to resume the parental segment of their lives, tired or not.

I have a wealth of social cues on what it means to be a Dad — so then, why do I feel woefully unqualified to carry it out?

Why Blog if You Can’t Keep it Real?

If you can’t keep it real, why the heck are you blogging, anyway??? Last night was the first night I’d had off in a while to do something other than work. I don’t know how we get so wrapped up in our jobs — okay, that’s a lie, I totally do: it’s all a response to worry and fear. The worry that if we fail to do a good job that we’ll wind up on the street, unable to sustain our lives. The fear that comes with the possibility of failure and the horrors that could happen due to us not living up to expectations. Though I’m still convinced of a saying that I came up with last year:

“Jobs need people more than people need jobs.”

Call me a liar if you want, but I’m convinced of this. If we didn’t try so hard to keep up with multiple Joneses, live beyond our means and keep up appearances to the world around us (who mostly don’t really care too much about us as individuals, so in effect, we do a lot of this for no reason whatsoever…) — we could settle for jobs that pay less, provide less hours, but possibly afford more happiness. With Toronto having the high cost of living that it does and the very visible homelessness problem (in its downtown core especially) that it does, there’s no way I’d wish to be unemployed, but balance is a must. Which brings me to here — trying to get in the rhythm of blogging again. You may or may not have noticed I changed the tagline of my site to:

“I’m not a blogger, I just talk a lot.”

Completely true. Ask any “popular” blogger about how they approach their craft, and they’ll likely tell you about the time and effort that goes into keeping a blog fresh, from using editorial calendars, spending hours working on and scheduling posts, and generally approaching the entire art of blogging as if it were a second job. But I hate planning. Sarah’s always taking care of the planning in our marriage because I’m so horrible at it. I’m the spontaneous one. The doer. I don’t think — I prefer to just get something out of the way and move on to the next thing. Apparently personality tests completely agree that this is the way my brain is hard-wired. (I’m an ENTP in my Myers-Briggs assessment if that means anything to you.) This is why I’m way more inclined to use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to get my ideas out. It’s instantaneous. It’s quick. It matches the speed at which thoughts come to me a little more closely. But there has to be some reason to blog, right? I suppose when it all comes down to it — we all want somewhere where we can share the stories of our lives, and furthermore, somewhere where people will actually care about our existence. By and large, the Internet is a vast and boring place. We’re in a day and age where if we have an Internet connection, we’ve seen much of everything. You could discover more through YouTube, Wikipedia and social media in the last half a decade than you could through any encyclopedia in the years before. So when you see these niche blogs on things like tech, fashion or whatever other material goods — they’re great and all, but you rarely get any sense of feeling from them. No personality. No connection with the reader. There’s nothing that makes most blogs more real than any other blog — they end up just being words on the screen rather than a reflection of the writer providing them. And in my opinion, if you can’t keep it real, you don’t have a story to tell. But in a world where we share our thoughts in little bite-sized chunks and at a quicker pace than ever before… is there even a place for blogging anymore? This is the conundrum I came across — I was looking at my blog the other day and I thought — “I’m bored with this. I write a bunch of stuff, but I don’t care enough about it to finish what I started.” It’s not like it’s the first time it’s happened, either. My blogs in the past — and I’m pretty sure the same could be said for most people’s blogs — have died off because I didn’t feel connected to my content. I think I said it best when I told Jelani and Bess about my predicament:

“I’m writing like a news reporter looking in on my life, rather than writing like the guy living my life.”

Yeah, well that can’t happen anymore. Writing about only the events that pass in my life is lopsided. It’s like having a newspaper that only covers current events, without any of the columns and Op-Ed pieces that keep readers coming back. So even if I’m not really a blogger; even if I like the spontaneity and freedom of keeping my thoughts in bite-sized chunks of 140 or 63,206 characters (alright, Facebook’s not so bite-sized anymore) — it looks like I’m going to keep blogging for the simple reason that I like to write. Despite the fact that I lead an active social life, hitting up dinners with friends, tweet ups and learning conferences; despite the overly-busy work schedule that often just sees me coming home to pas out and do it all over again the next day; despite the fact that I’m using up most of my time for one thing or another, I still — like most people — feel like I want people to hear my story. So here I am, world. I hope your eyes are open, because I’ve got a lot to say!

–case p.