I don't use the word except when I'm doing my hip hop version of myself, which ain't pretty, slightly hilarious but certainly not pretty. The last hip hop album I bought was probably Bel Biv Devoe's Poison. When it was released! Kidding.
But as I've already digressed and haven't even really begun, let's bring the focus back :: Fire.
First lemme hit you with (gotta keep the motif, right?) what this little anniversary post WILL NOT BE.
1. Long. Can't help it. Writing is one of my many creative outlets and when I get going I just can't stop. But as I write this this early on you never know what's gonna happen.
2. A trip down memory lane. That's for nurses in state funded nursing homes to endure as they listen to their patients' past regrets while letting them lie in their own shit. Serves them right. Live in the now people! Fuck yesterday. Ok. Easy for me to say right? Sure we learn from the past and link backs to other posts to lure you into being part of the cult I've created that is this blog, bigger than I.S. but if you are in the school of meditation as am I, we know to live in the now.
3. Best of and/or worst of. I've done it in previous anniversary posts. It's boring. Like I had noting good to share with you people. Time is our most valuable asset. There better be some value in these words, I know. So far I've flunked the exam. HA!
4. The road that lies ahead. Surely my jerking off my own ego is not enticing to the readers. I'm sure none of you want to hear about the multiple short film projects that are in the works, or the feature length screenplay that has officially begun or even the fact that I'm gonna formally announce ::need, a short dramatic film about, well, you'll see. Um. Ooops. ;)
5. Thankfulness. Really?! There are a kajillion blogs out there and i'm sure half of those, which would be a gazillion, thank their readers at some point or another. Puhhlleeze. They must be reassuring themselves that they're not assholes by nature. It's a given that your presence is much appreciated. Duh.
What should be the focus is the ole World Wide Web and why the fuck should this blog trudge and trample through all of the noise and bring you nothing but clear, unadulterated signal.
Let's dig in there as briefly as I know how.
Right off the bat people ask me why I don't video blog or vlog. As stated I LOVE TO WRITE. Is readership as strong as it was when this little ditty started 7 years ago today due to the bajillion YouTubers trying to make the world believe that they have the most interesting life on the internet? Shockingly, my numbers hold up. Thanks mom. LOL. Actually that's a total joke as when I run some analytics it typically shows zero hits from her suburban New Jersey town. But aside from her, oh, and maybe my wife, it seems there are still a decent amount of humans that enjoy reading the written word.
So while I may be referring to my own path, it is to and for you that I drop these MOABs of knowledge. How do YOU succeed in this crazy thing that is the Internet? Funny WWW. World Wide Web or better the Wild Wild West.
Between you and me and the fly on the wall, I'm fucking sick and tired of social media. I mean talk about that S/N ratio, the amount of noise floating around literally makes me want to vomit. There are posts coming across my feed that I saw 5 years ago and I'm not talking about those Facebook memories. People have plainly shared the same bullshit so many times around the planet that it has come full circle back to me from when said post started.
I should've built a server farm.
Think about it. Those farms. Brontobytes of data sucking up Yottawatts of power while sitting on acres of land. All of it to house your footage of your cat climbing your living room curtains. Really humanity? This is what were are going to show the aliens? Or maybe ET will read that Tweet about how awesome your new haircut is. Fuck. Really?! Hey, at least he will see everyone's photos of their feet and all of the best fish tacos of the world.
So how do we rise above and beyond to become significant in the WWW?
Not a trick question. Although Chuck D. said Bring the Noise and as rad as Public Enemy is or was, we have to do just the opposite; Bring the Signal. I guess Def Jam had an employee or two that just thought "bringing the signal" did not sound as gangster as "bringing the noise."
How do you bring the signal? First and foremost is the WHY. If you don't have a good enough why then don't even waste your time.
Do you recall your parents telling you that if you don't have anything nice to say than don't say anything at all? Same sort of rules can apply for social content. And not just talking about facebook or Twitter but also in the world of the Bloggers and Vloggers. After all, many of those "shares" throughout those feeds end up leading to someone's blog or vlog anyhow. Basically a giant circle jerk of clickbait. Oh, aside from those looking to get famous from their horribly shaky, badly composed, vertical videos of their spouse bleeding to death while they just NEED to get the shot rather than attempt to stop any bleeding.
Hey, if you're gonna let your man die in front of you while you count your viewers and likes you better at least compose the shot to a minimally acceptable standard; no vertical video ever.
Maybe not. This is the shit that personally, I don't want to see. Sick of violent posts. Sick of how funny you think your baby is (mine is the funniest and smartest and most beautiful for that matter).
Basically, if you filter all of your signal out, the goods, all's that is left is the facebook version of the old show "COPS" mixed with "America's Funniest Home Videos" and a sprinkling of CNN, over and over and over again.
PEOPLE! THERE ARE MORE RERUNS ON FACEBOOK THAN THERE WERE ON 80s NETWORK TELEVISION.
If your WHY is strong enough to compel you or I to create content then we've got a green light. Sad part is the compass of what and how we perceive our WHYs is so out of whack that, well, we end up where we are today in this 2.0 bubble. And I shit you not this bubble is about to burst like the button on a fat guy size 42 pants squeezing into a 38.
Content used to be king now content is just an annoying and stalkerish ex-girlfriend; always there and never leaves you alone.
Context is the new commander in chief, the new chairman of the board. A good WHY will lead us all to create wonderful context in our content.
A for instance. This here blog is based around creativity, creative inspiration and motivation with emphasis on those creations being born from a camera although any method can relate. Boring right? There's a zillion of the same shit out there. Ah, but here it's done DIFFERENTLY. I'm like the Howard Stern of creativity blogs; the king of all blogosphere. Big ego? Yes! It's healthy ... IMO ;)
So while I share the ins and outs of how to be more creative and how to work that expensive equipment that you thought was going to magically make you the next Leibovitz or Kubrick, I often do it with comedy and/or raging rants mixed with poetic narratives and crude vulgarity. It's been my gig for 7 years today and has done me right thus far. Oh, fuck. Almost forgot. Deep down I really like to help my fellow and/or aspiring creatives. There's an awesome synergy to that.
Have a good WHY and be DIFFERENT for fuck's sake.
Vlogging? Assuming you have the formula down . . . Dress nice. Speak like a human being; articulate your words. Lighting. Composition. Rule of thirds.
Blogging? Write like Walt Whitman. Have a photo or two. A chart or diagram.
And most of all, with your WHY and UNIQUITY, there should be VALUE brought to the audience as a result of the rich CONTEXT in your content.
Two quickies about this blog.
Wasn't long after I began the blog that the number of viewers was really pathetic. I was about to call it quits. It was my brother, Tommy, that kicked my ass and told me to write because it was art and creativity and writing and educating that I lit my fire, not analytics. And so I did and so here we are.
On the sorta flip side, I agree that having consistency is crucial to driving readership. For years and years I wrote every Sunday, no matter what. Therein lied a problem of noise. Not every Sunday did I have brilliant words to share with you. But I pounded the keys no matter what. I became guilty of clogging up the information superhighway. Today, I've sacrificed some numbers and rather put out the quality that you deserve. Don't be mistaken. The consistency is still pretty solid but rather than a firm 4 posts a month, there could be 1 or 5, 2 or 3 or 4 for that matter. But you can bet your ass they will be brimming with value.
NERD FILE ::
First timers, there's always the how-it-was-shot part of the post.
This shot of my wife Stefanie, on our old balcony back at our Rittenhouse square digs was a total example of two adages ::
"Luck favors the prepared."
"The best camera is the one that's with you."Gotta have that camera people. Be it your phone or whatever. It so happened in this case it was ole Betsy, Suzy's predecessor. The Nikon D4 to now my D5, respectively.
Stefanie was getting hype on the charcoal grill. The briquettes, if moist, are a pain in the prick to get lit (poetic, you see?). Can't recall what it was we were having for dinner that night but friend lemme say that nothing compares to the flavors you get from a real charcoal grill. Never ever will I go propane.
The wife and myself may have pyromaniacal tendencies because, er, just look at the photo. Not only is she dangerously close with that jug-o-accelerant but I, with the beast of a camera am totally instigating the overuse of the fluid.
At the end of the day, or evening for that matter, the shot was a blazing success. Pun intended.
Body - Nikon D4
Lens - Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Shutter - 1/250
Aperture - f/6.3
ISO - 800
Focal Length - 36mm
If your first time here, I coined the word . . . summarization.
So where does this leave us? What road have we, you and I, begun to pave with this big 7 year anniversary post?
If you go back to the parts that I say this post WILL NOT BE, I think you will plainly see that I broke all 5 bullet points to some degree or another. It's what I do. Break rules. Kind of a in post mind fuck for shits and giggles. To see how many of you are paying attention, really paying attention because who the fuck knows how many of you make it past the opening photo and opening sentence. Sure the analytics are available but boy oh boy how you can really get hung up on those numbers.
I used to suck ass with a pen to paper as well as a camera to my eye. No matter how I'm creating the fire burns for me to become the best. Be assured that every article, every narrative, every photograph, every motion project, will be a fight to outdo the one prior to. Yummers.
What does it all mean? The sex, lies and videotape? I don't know. But isn't that the most exciting part?
Until next time . . .