As we finished the last day of school this year I found my thoughts drifting to my daughter’s teacher, and to how profoundly I appreciated everything she had done to make my daughter’s experience so wonderful. There are plenty of parallels there with DorkDaddy.com. To every one of you who has ever taken the time to read one of my posts, please know how extremely grateful I am for the time you spent on these pages, and even more so if you took the time to leave a comment or share what you read.
Every piece I write is written with a little voice in the back of my head saying “Why are you doing this? Why are you investing all this energy? Nobody really cares.” I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to convince myself otherwise, even if the predominant theme of the year suggests otherwise. But before I get into all that, I need to ask a personal favor of each and every one of you.
If you have ever read and enjoyed this blog it would mean the world to me if you could take a moment and leave a comment at the bottom of this post
Much like last year, I intend on taking this entire year’s collection of blogposts and publishing them in a hardbound coffee table book for posterity’s sake – DorkDaddy.com Vol. 2, as it were. If you have ever read and enjoyed this blog it would mean the world to me if you could take a moment and leave a comment at the bottom of this post – to be saved along with all this year’s posts and comments in the hardcover volume. It can be as long or as short as you like, it can say whatever you like (sappy adoration, righteous indignation, scathing criticism) but it would mean the world to me to hear from you your thoughts/reflections looking back on another full year of DorkDaddy.com. Please don’t forget to identify yourself in the proper field, or your comment will be attributed to “Anonymous” and 30 years from now I’ll have no idea who wrote it.
Reflections on Year 2 of DorkDaddy.com:
As much as I joke about nobody caring and nobody reading, the truth is this has been an incredible (and unexpected) year of growth/expansion/maturing (notice I didn’t say “maturity”) for the DorDaddy.com. After the first full year of blogging, DorkDaddy.com’s Facebook page had precisely 70 followers. On Twitter there were 131 (Twitter still sucks by the way). Today the Facebook page has 581 followers – still pathetic by blog-standards, but geometric growth in a single year by statistical standards.
There were a few posts over the past year that really seemed to resonate with people.
Far and away, the biggest post of the year was “20 Things A Father Should Tell His Daughter.” In hindsight it really does play like linkbait to soccer moms. It’s short. It’s sentimental and it’s attached to a particularly cute picture that’s easily shared on Facebook or Pinterest (especially on Pinterest… sheesh). In all honesty the idea for the post wasn’t entirely my own. It was a reaction to another picture/meme “20 Things A Mother Should Tell Her Son” that had gone viral on Facebook at the time. I couldn’t let something like that go unanswered from the dads out there, so I quickly whipped out the post titled “20 Things A Father Should Tell His Son”. That same day after publishing “Father/Son” I figured I’d better also write “20 Things A Father Should Tell His Daughter”. I worked out the bullet points while doing a filling and quickly cobbled it together on the blog between patients. I certainly did not expect the post to go viral itself, but some pretty fun things came from the viral experience. You can read about them on the post “Virality”. Of interesting note, the “Father/Son” post hasn’t enjoyed nearly as much attention, despite having may of the same bullet points as the “Father/Daughter” post.
“It’s Just Sex, Dammit!” was a post I wrote early in 2013 to exercise the demons I felt from a nasty breakup between a couple my family was friends with. Someone at WordPress.com noticed it and featured the post on their “freshly pressed” section. Needless to say it struck a chord with the people who read it, as evidenced by the tidal wave of comments that followed. They are as compelling to read as the post itself. My only regret is that I couldn’t keep up with them as they were flooding in, so I wasn’t able personally respond to each.
Then, most recently WordPress.com featured some of their favorite Dadblogs on Father’s Day, and look at which blog they featured at the very top of the list:
I’m still flattered beyond words. The blurb the editor wrote describing DorkDaddy.com was nothing short of moving. I still get all verklempt when I read it. I reached out to the editor to thank her, but I didn’t have the heart to point out that she mislabeled my UnDorky wife as “DorkMommy”. Faithful DorkDady.com readers will spot the error quickly.
As the blog has grown this year it’s also attracted the notice of entities (advertisers) looking to widen the visibility of their product through the blog-o-verse. With no small amount of apprehension I was able to dip DorkDaddy.com’s toe into that universe this year as well. T-Shirts.com approached me first, which lead to “The Great Super Suit Giveaway”. Then, some months later, I was approached by an advertising exec. representing Pringles. They were looking for bloggers to help promote their “Force For Fun” campaign in conjunction with Star Wars. The incentives were legit, and the material seemed to be in keeping with the theme I set up around here, so I went for it.
To all of you who participated in those events, thank you. All in all I’ve been underwhelmed with the whole endorsement/giveaway aspect of blogging. What I don’t want is to alienate readers with a bunch of material that obviously comes from someone else. If I do that sort of thing again I’ll make sure it doesn’t distract from the usual DorkDaddy.com zeitgeist.
As I’ve mentioned before, my original vision for this blog was to build a community of likeminded dorky dads to share their love for their families, and their dorkisms. It didn’t exactly happen that way and the blog is the better for it, but connecting with other dads was always at the heart of why I do this at all. I’m happy to say that group of dads actually exists…
…they all just happen to have blogs of their own.
This year I am thrilled to have found the dadbloggers community on Facebook. It’s a great place to commune with other dads/dudes. There we bounce ideas off one another, collaborate on projects (see the collaborative piece “When To Expose Kids To Star Wars – A White Paper”), refine our dick-jokes, and make fun of SDL (no I won’t tell you who “SDL” is). It’s been a real shot in the arm to have this bunch of guys to commiserate with. I’d love to link you to their blogs, but there are just too many to be practical. Instead, go to the Dadbloggers page on Facebook and follow it to get the best stuff from the group in your newsfeed.
…which leads me to this year’s final reflection: Facebook.
Since going public, Facebook has been under incredible pressure to monetize. To that end they try to incentivize Facebook pages for personal blogs (like mine) to “promote” posted material. Essentially, they choke off how much of the stuff I post that actually gets to your newsfeed. They have complicated algorithms for figuring out how much content gets out and to whom. But the long and the short of it is, I’m posting stuff all the time on the blog’s Facebook wall, and most of it isn’t getting to you. If I want everyone to see it, I have to pay them real $$.
Thankfully, if you actually want to get DorkDaddy.com’s Facebook updates, there’s a workaround. The little infographic below should make it clear what you have to do to release the chokehold:
And with that, I’ll end the year of blogging by thanking a couple people.
To anyone who’s ever shared a DorkDaddy.com post on their Facebook/Twitter page – I can’t tell you how much that means. Ultimately we write for ourselves, but it gets really tough really quick if you don’t feel like your stuff is getting out there.
To Emily at “The Waiting”, Courtney at “Stay At Home Trauma” and Larva225 at “Adventures In Babyknitting”, you guys never seem to miss a post, and never seem to miss a chance to comment. Thank you so much. It doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Jeff Reisdorfer – DorkDaddy.com’s #1 Facebook follower. Again, don’t think it doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. I’ve never met the guy, have no idea who he is beyond his comments on the Facebook material, but like me he has a smokin’ hot wife and three ridiculously beautiful kids. Jeff, you have a standing invitation to submit a post as a Guest Dorkdad anytime, brother.
To my father, for being the standard I set myself against in the parenting arena.
To my children, for being the inspiration behind the blog and entire reason I exist on this planet.
To my wife, for letting me share on this blog way more than you’re comfortable with.
And to all of you, some who have stuck with me from the beginning and some who came along later, and some who only drop in from time to time – I’m sorry you’ve wasted so much time reading my drivel. I’ll try to do better next year.
Here’s looking forward to putting together Volume 3… but definitely no more episodes.