Tomorrow is the first of two really big days, both in a row.
It’s do or die time for Single Dad Laughing as we all know it.
And, with website ad prices for blogs down as much as 90% compared to what they were just two years ago…
And with Facebook still burying links to the majority of bloggers’ posts before most of you ever get to see them thanks to cheap mass-content sites such as Mashable and Upworthy publishing sometimes dozens of posts every hour…
And with smart phones drastically changing the way almost all of us spend our free time…
Blogging professionally is a thing that could easily go the way of Blockbuster Video.
Do you remember that place? Four bucks for a five day movie rental! I don’t think anyone saw their demise coming, themselves included. By the time Blockbuster realized that they were unwinnably trailing behind in the game to RedBox and Netflix, it was too late. Now we just drive by their dilapidating buildings and fondly remember the times we walked in and proudly slammed a copy of Night at the Roxbury or American Beauty onto the counter.
Whoa. I got sidetracked a bit there, didn’t I. I purposefully haven’t taken my ADD meds in five days while I was traveling. Deal with it.
I’m actually sitting on a plane home from that trip as I write this (the same one which at one point a stewardess fell into my lap). To my right is a nice enough looking woman (albeit an armrest hog) who was practically foot stomping and clapping to the heavens when she got on the plane because at the very last moment she found out she was getting on with a stand-by ticket.
Her seat was only empty because it was a seat that I bought quite some time ago for my then girlfriend who, as you know, is no longer my girlfriend. Yay me for keeping my blog so correctly named! Frankly, I’d rather sit next to a rejoicing stranger than an empty chair reminding me of the wasted money and of somebody who is now just somebody that I used to know.
Crud. I did it again. The ADD is strong with this one.
Anyway… if there’s one thing I know about me and my fellow ADD peeps, it’s that we almost always circle back around to whatever it was we were talking about four topics ago. And I shall now do that.
Blockbuster video. Blogging. Yes. They were connected somehow. What was I getting at with that?
Hmm. Oh yes. The demise of the entire video rental store industry. Blogging is in the same boat. Bloggers everywhere, I believe, are going to wake up in the not too distant future and realize that they either 1) sold-out and way over-commercialized their blogs and lost a huge part of their readership as they try to deal with this problem, or 2) they will slowly see their numbers continue to drop into oblivion, never quite figure out any way to deal with it, and one day come-to in a ditch somewhere holding their copy of Night at the Roxbury tightly against their chest.
I mean… let’s be real about blogging.
But first, I love blogging. I love bloggers. They add such a fantastic and interesting voice in this world which is really beginning to be dominated by giant conglomerate blogs, and by big companies, and by giant media outlets. They provide unique opinions and stages for such personal debate and discussion in a world where our human sides are being pushed out daily. This world needs bloggers, and it doesn’t just need a few. It needs thousands of them. The world is better because of bloggers. I really believe that.
Anyway, blogs were one of the great original time-wasters as the Internet came to be. People would follow their favorite bloggers and would sneak on at work or at night before bed to make sure they read whatever was shared that day. As for blogs themselves, the entire concept was built on the idea of people logging in via websites on desktops and laptops. Smart phones and tablets were something no one ever considered might come along and change… everything. Nowadays, people want almost everything digital for free. People want everything fast. And people’s attention spans as a whole are dropping.
We are wasting our time differently. If we have ten minutes to kill, we get on our favorite apps, or we hop on Facebook, or we play a silly game. Advertisements on websites (even those beautifully made mobile-friendly) are becoming worthless in a hurry because advertisers are putting their big money into advertisements on smart phones where they can far more easily guarantee that people will see those ads (and can you blame them?).
And so, for the past long while, Single Dad Laughing has seen its numbers go down and down and down, even though its following has gone way up. It’s seen a constant drop in revenue and has recently passed that threshold where it’s not making enough to maintain a living equal to the effort that is put into it.
That threshold is important, wouldn’t you agree?
Most people have no idea just how much work it takes to do this as a profession. Most weeks I put 70-80 hours into it, just to maintain it all. There is always craziness going on. Just this past weekend my server was hacked, the hacker deleted all 12,000+ images on the server (among other brutal things), and it took 24 hours (and skipping a night of sleep) to set it right again. Ugh. Hahaha.
So, yeah. Writing is only a tiny chunk of what has to happen when working with a community of hundreds of thousands.
If outside forces make things drop below that important threshold indefinitely…
If it takes that much work and time to keep it going…
It’s simple mathematics. Things can’t keep going.
But they can keep going! Oh hell yes, they can! Why not?!
I really believe the answer to all of these problems, and the answer to saving the blogging world from becoming the next Blockbuster Video, and the answer to thriving as an important profession is simply to start making our own shift (as professional bloggers) to smart phones and tablets!
I’m not talking about making our websites mobile friendly. Most of us have already done that! No, I’m talking about turning the blogging world into an app-driven blogging world.
If bloggers can somehow afford it and they have the community to support it, they should create apps of their own! They should get creative and change the way they do things inside of that app. It won’t work to simply do the same thing bloggers have always done. They have to expand. And make it more fun. And start appealing to those parts of human time-killing and entertainment that are inevitable at this point.
And for the vast majority of bloggers who do not have a large enough community, and who do not have enough money to do their own app, get creative! Team up with other incredible bloggers to create an app that combines lots of your communities and all of your content! Why not?! You don’t have to see a market for it first. Bloggers are amazing. A big part of this world has always loved bloggers since the internet first came around. Bank on that, and take some risks!
And for any of you who want to save blogging, and who want to make a fortune… Develop, or pay someone to develop the technology which lets the millions of bloggers out there easily turn their blogs into apps or community apps. Don’t just redo what they’re doing. Don’t just make it about reading their blogs. Some services like that kind of exist. Instead, create something that will let them expand, and interact with their communities, and have so much fun doing it. That will save blogging!
I believe in this so much I’ve drained 11 months of my life and pretty much all of my savings to develop the Single Dad Laughing app which I am announcing to all of you tomorrow!
I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow! It is SO much more than anything we’ve ever done here on SDL (crazy, I know, since we have SO much fun around here), and I believe that if you all try it, you will see just how amazing this world of “blogging” can be if we as bloggers will simply (and not so simply) adapt, and change, and not wait around looking for other solutions that probably are not ever going to come.
We have the opportunity, all of us, to be the next RedBox and Netflix of blogging. We just have to stick our necks out and take those risks that are so scary to take.
I won’t lie, friends. My “gulp” starting off this post was sincere. It is a really scary thing to finally be moving into that next phase of this, hoping that all of the time, money, and sacrifices will be worth it. It fills me with so much anxiety asking you all to please support Single Dad Laughing tomorrow (and the next day, when I launch the other app I’ve been working on) so that we can all save Single Dad Laughing.
SDL is a community. It is so much bigger than me or you. It is all of us, humaning together, leaning on each other and learning just what it takes to get through this life as happy and authentic as we possibly can.
I’m not ready to give up on this. Not ever. I love you all too much. I love doing this too much. And I love the opportunity I have every day to put my thoughts out there and get important discussions going. I love the chance I have to help put into words what so many think. I love the daily interacting, and fun, and insanely awesome banter. I love all of you.
Humaning is what it’s all about. Humaning is amazing sometimes. Humaning is hilarious sometimes. Humaning is hard sometimes. And that’s what Single Dad Laughing is all about. It always has been. It always will be.
So… thank you, in advance, for tuning in tomorrow, and having my back in this, and trying out the new app. I’ve put everything I’ve got into it, and I hope you all friggin’ LOVE the app, and what it will turn into as we all join in once we’ve downloaded it.
It’s do or die time.
Hm. Scratch that.
It’s just do time. Let’s do this.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing