Sunday, July 01, 2018

July’s welcome

Today is the beginning of a new month, and the middle of winter. Both are good, the latter because it means we’re getting ever closer to spring and summer. But starting another month is always a good opportunity to refresh and renew and restore ourselves and our resolve. All of that is true for all things AmeriNZ.

June was in many was a pretty good month for me. It was my most blogged month of the year so far, just five posts short of an average on one per day, and that meant it was also my most productive month by far (by that measure) all year. This is good in itself.

This appears to have been mostly due my recent health journey development, specifically that Ī’m starting being weaned off beta blockers. I feel clearer in my head than I have in a year, and that’s a really good thing all by itself, not just for blogging, obviously.

Then last week I felt like the stuffing was kicked out of me, as I mentioned on Friday. This was, in fact, the sole reason I didn’t have 30 (or more) posts in June. This was a pity, because I had so many I was working on, mostly still in process. On the other hand, none of them were time-specific, so I have plenty of time to finish them. At the moment, it looks as if this month may have many days with two or more posts in a day (like today). Or, I have a head start on August. Either way, it’s a good thing.

There was one other blogging development this month. As long time readers know, I’ve quite literally agonised over the structure of this blog: Should I focus it narrowly? I’d often talked about spinning off all talk of US politics, sometimes adding non-New Zealand topics to the list to be spun off. I even set up another blog to take those political posts, but could never get the political ones from here to import there. This turned out to be a good thing.

I am, as Roger Green calls himself, a magpie blogger, that is, I write about what interests me at that moment. Sometimes I’ll follow the same topic day after day and then abandon it for months. Other times I kind of skip around from day to day as the newest, shiniest topic captures my eye. In other words, this blog is me, an epiphany I had only recently. Avoiding certain topics, such as US politics, would mean avoiding parts of myself.

This realisation/epiphany dragged up some other issues. I felt bad about how my AmeriNZ Podcast had become, basically, an audio blog (aublog?), as if that was a bad thing. And yet, way back in episode one I’d said I saw it as an extension of this blog. So, not only is the current format NOT a problem or a defect, it’s what I envisioned when I started it back in 2007.

In 2009, I was bullied, basically, into dropping talk of US politics from my podcast. Part of it was an iTunes review that said my podcast was “too political”, a criticism that ended up becoming the name of an expressly political podcast I created with my friend Jason, 2Political Podcast (and no, I don’t know when it’ll return). I also wanted it to be our podcast, not just episodes of mine, but once it was launched I stopped talking about US politics on AmeriNZ Podcast, and since then I almost never have.

Similarly, my YouTube Channel is mainly videos about New Zealand, one way or another, but nothing about any of the many other subjects that interest me. I think this is actually one of the main reasons I haven’t made more videos. At one point I even considered using a second YouTube Channel I have (which is not public) to make other videos and vlogs (video blogs). “Video blogs” on a different channel? When I already have a written blog and a podcast where I already, well, blog? This was one of two catalysts for changing my thinking.

The other catalyst was thinking about Facebook, as I did recently. I wrote about how I don’t post anything about US politics to my personal Facebook, and how I had my blog and the AmeriNZ Facebook Page for political things. I also wrote:
I still rarely post anything political on my personal Facebook. That self-censorship means that anyone reading what I post there, arguably, isn't seeing the authentic me because there’s so much more that they never see.
And that, dear reader, was the aha! moment, because the exact same thing is true of my podcast and my YouTube Channel—everything except this blog, in fact.

And so, years of agonising about this blog are now over. This blog will remain as it always has been—clearly the authentic me—and my podcast will remain as it has become, with the re-introduction of political talk when I have something I want to talk about. I'll share more details about all that here and in the next episode of the podcast, as well as on the podcast site, at that time. And any future videos I make will be about whatever I’m interested in at the time, just like this blog and my podcast.

All of this was tied up with a pretty little bow just yesterday. As part of some research for a future blog post, I read some of my old posts that, I quickly realised, could have been YouTube videos (too, not necessarily instead of). It was then I realised there was no reason that I couldn’t make videos about absolutely anything I might blog about.

So everything AmeriNZ—which, after all, is actually a name I originally made up to describe myself—may now include anything and everything that interests me, with very little out of bounds. Each part can for the first time truly reinforce the other parts, so I really can use the best medium to tell a story.

This is incredibly liberating—and energising.

I may in the future set up a different blog and podcast feed that are specialised (for example, just about New Zealand), but those will have material repackaged from the equivalent AmeriNZ channel. AmeriNZ will have everything.

There are good reasons why deciding this all now is important, as I’ll talk about later this month. For now, though, I’ll just say that having a specific direction and unity for all things AmeriNZ will begin to matter quite a lot.

So, it’s a really awesome feeling that years of agonising about this blog are now over—well, I THINK they are, anyway…


rogerogreen said...

Of course, I think you should blog/vlog about whatever the hell you want to. Ha- I forgot the term magpie blogger until you brought it up. On a different point, I HATE the term microblogging as a term for FB/Twitter because... well, I just do.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

I think I've pretty much come to understand WHY it concerned me so much that the political stuff might bother some people, but the important thing, I guess, is that I no longer do. I always thought the term "microblogging" for Twitter was incredibly stupid, because it isn't that at all. But at least on Facebook it's possible to post long-form stuff, and that better qualifies for the term blogging, so "microblogging" doesn't fit for that either, I don't think.

BTW, as far as I can remember this was the post where you introduced the concept of being a magpie blogger: