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I do not even know how to begin this post. 
It’s because this post represents my 10th anniversary here at The Life of a Father of Five
  • Ten years. 
  • One decade. 
  • The Roman Numeral X.    
Never in my WILDEST dreams would I have imagined that this endeavor would have lasted so long, brought me this much joy, caused me this much frustration, challenged me in ways I never considered, broadened my horizons in the scope that it has, introduced me to so many new and different friends, or helped me connect with so many others.  I simply had no idea.      

What started as something to “try out, just for fun” has grown to become part of who I am.  It has become an “identity” of sorts.  I have co-workers who know me as “that blog guy” or “the father of five” (and have even found out that my supervisor’s, supervisor’s, supervisor’s, supervisor stops by to visit here from time to time).  I have helped inspire a few new blogs.  I have assisted others with configuring and content on their blog(s).  I have won awards.  I have been named in several “top lists” of “dad bloggers”.  I have had “major media outlets” discuss with me how “giant” my cyber footprint is.  I have had corporations, PR firms, and even publishers contact me to try to promote, sell, share, or collaborate.  I even had an opportunity to have one of my posts published in a book! 

(I have turned down each of these offers.  Why, you ask?  To be discussed in a future post.  Maybe.)

So much has changed since I began.  My blogging has ebbed and flowed throughout the years.  Posting was, at one time, as often as every other day.  More recently, I struggle to maintain a paltry once-a-month average. 

Originally, it was pretty easy to keep a thin veil of anonymity between our REAL lives and our VIRTUAL lives on the world wide web.  There was this blog and nothing else.  A few years into blogging, is when the phenomenon of “social media” exploded.  MySpace (what’s that??), FaceBook, and Twitter just to name a few. 

With the explosion of “social media” came a decline in blog readership (and “writership” too).  It was so easy to keep in touch, and share quick simple thoughts, ideas, experiences, and photos (not to mention how “interactive” social media can be) compared to a blog.  Sharing my blogposts on Facebook became commonplace (and even automated, as it is now).  The more I integrated my blog and my other “social media outlets” the more of that thin veil of anonymity I lost.  It wasn’t long before Googling my name came up with my blog, and Googling my blog came up with my name.  Eventually, I connected the two with links and badges (and lived to tell about it).     

When I started this website, the kids were all younger.  There was so much to write about.  So much I wanted to share.  Almost every day I found myself saying “that would make an awesome post” or “how can I get this on the blog”?  I also found that I could write about them without their knowledge (or consent) and could do so under the veil of that anonymity I previously spoke of.  Over time, the kidddos became more and more aware of my blogging status, and how much of their lives were documented for the world to see.  They would sometimes visit my blog from school, or (gasp!) their friends would visit my blog.  The original anonymity of the blog began to crumble, and I had to adapt.  I have had to strike a deal with my children (at least the oldest ones) over the years.  The deal is that I can write and post about them, but they have an opportunity to see, edit, and/or veto any post that is about them PRIOR to going live.  I’ve been pretty respectful of that and so far, it has worked out well for all parties involved..     

Initially when I started blogging, I located a few other husbands / fathers who were doing the same thing.  Admittedly, they were few, and they were far between.  I would often visit one of their blogs and see they had already connected with another blogger that I had previously discovered.  It was a relatively small and tight knit community. 

That once small group of dads have expanded exponentially.  Nowadays, there is a whole world of “Dad Bloggers” out there.  Not only a single category, but dozens of sub-categories that all fit under the Dad Blogger umbrella.  There is no possible way I could keep up with all of them anymore. 

To aid in networking all these dad bloggers there are social media groups established just for dads that blog.  Even more recently a national convention dedicated to fatherhood and more specifically dad bloggers has really made some traction.  Products, corporations, sponsors, PR firms, and publishers have really started taking notice of the genre.  What was once a tiny niche has become a significant movement.  Seeing how much the horizon has changed over the years is pretty mind blowing. 

Of the original dozen or so blogs that were my “regular haunts” there are only two or three still regularly updating.  Actively blogging, or not - I still converse with most of those original blogging connections through other social media outlets.  I am truly grateful for two or three in particular who have become close friends. 

So, with all this change – I hear you asking me “What’s one thing that has NOT changed over the last ten years?”  One thing that has NOT changed is my vision statement.  My “why am I doing this”.  When I set out blogging, my intent was to… “keep[ing] this blog as a collection of thoughts for my children (but others are welcome to enjoy too). Someday I hope they have the chance to read this and get just a small glimpse into the mind of their father.”

If you peruse enough of the content here on The Life of a Father of Five I believe you agree that I have kept pretty true to that goal.  No promotion, peddling, hawking, freebies, giveaways, product endorsements, or sponsors.  It’s just me.  It’s my thoughts.  My observations.  My family.  My friends.  It is what I set out to do, and what I have been successfully able to accomplish so far.
This is currently a VERY hot topic in the Dad Blogger community.  I am not making judgement on anyone who does, or does not choose to "monetize" their blog.  I am only pointing out what MY original intent was, and what MY intent still is - and how I have been able to stay true to MY goal.     
How much longer will “The Father of Five” continue?  I honestly do not know.  I have no long term plans or changes in mind.  I will continue to do what I have been doing here as long as it is still fun to do so (and it really is – when I have the time to spare).   I have enjoyed participating in this endeavor over the past ten years and am grateful for the friends I have made, the lessons I have learned, the challenges I have met (and the ones I have failed), and am looking forward to what the future holds for me, and for My Life as a Father of Five

Thanks to each and every one of you that have been a part (large or small) of my decade long journey. 
You all mean more to me than you will ever realize.

  

2 comments:

  1. 10 years! Congratulations FoF! In "blog years" 10 is a long time!

    Blogs are many things to many people. But, I think the long-running, non-monetized memoir of a dad who takes the time to record events and thoughts for those in his circle of influence (and especially his kids) is the purest form of blogging. Kudos to you for staying true to that vision. The allure of generating income from something we enjoy is strong, and I admit that I would love to have a successful monetized blog someday, but I don't see it ever being "Backside of Forty". I share your vision and I never plan to sell that one out. Like FoF, I want BoF to always be a personal memoir, pure and simple.

    In 10 years you have shared wisdom, humor, insight, randomness and much more. Many lives are richer, because of your time at the keyboard. What always shines through is a man who is committed to family and faith, and an enjoyment of creation. I share similar values and my life is definitely richer because one fateful day you showed up with a comment at BoF. "Father of Five, who is this guy?" And from that random cyberspace meeting, a friendship was born for which I am very grateful. I can honestly say that you have become like a brother to me and you have helped me through stormy seasons in life, always with compassion and non-judgment. The friendship has now included a couple of 800+ mile road trips between us to connect on more than just a virtual level, many chats, and a few phone calls... not bad for a couple of introverts! All that, because you decided to give blogging a try!

    Thank you!

    Congratulations on your milestone decade! Here's hoping the next decade slows down and chaos is a bit less. And, here's hoping that you continue to share a memoir with those folks that matter in your life!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Blogaversary! It has been a pleasure getting to know you. Lots of laughs, insights and inspiration.

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