Posted in Blogging, Internet, Webcomics, Writing

The Passing of Project Wonderful & A Look at Current Blogging/Creativity

Does anyone remember Project Wonderful?

They are (were) a little company that allowed you to pay into the site and place ads up on other sites in the network. You could also place your own ads up on your page and people could purchase those in return.

A Short Look Back

pwadI used Project Wonderful quite a bit for various old blogs, writing sites, but especially for our webcomic, Wayrift. In fact, I think a high number of our long-term readers at Wayrift came from discovering us through Project Wonderful. For a small webcomic, it was an affordable option, and it really did connect a lot of the comics together.

At the height of advertising on Wayrift, I was not only breaking even, but making a little extra here or there. I won’t say that traffic was flooding in, but it wasn’t terrible, either. It was a pretty viable way of getting fresh eyes on our content. But for some reason, it fell out of practice for us to use it.

In fact, I haven’t used it a whole lot in the past 5-6 years. I did try a short stent with it last year, but didn’t really see a ton of results, and I was putting more money than I was getting views for. But even so, I never guessed it was on its last legs.

Relevance to the Blogosphere

Project Wonderful sent out an email yesterday (see it here) to inform all of us that this is the end. It said a few things that were relevant to how I’ve been feeling about the small websites, our blogs, and the health of the blogosphere. While this may be on the negative spectrum, I do think it’s relevant, and what I wanted to repost here:

…in the past several years, the internet has changed. Large sites like Facebook do all they can to keep readers on their network, rather than sending that traffic out to individual websites. As such, many readers – who used to visit dozens if not hundreds of websites a day – now visit only a few sites, and things like the indie “blogosphere” (remember that?) are disappearing. We’re hopeful that individual creators can adapt – either by embracing these walled gardens in a way that protects themselves, or by finding other ways to draw attention to their work – but as a network founded on supporting independent websites, our options were limited.

It’s certainly no secret that I’ve seen less and less in the way of active blogging as the years go by. There’s a certain set of writers who are either too stubborn, too dedicated or too frustrated to fold up shop and stop posting. But aside from those folks (thank goodness you’re here!), I’ve seen things slowing down as the years pass.

If we’re getting new folks in this space, they’re either hard to find, they don’t know the channels it takes to reach out and be heard, or they simply fizzle out after the magic of the new-blog smell wears off.

nbi_supporter_badgeThe NBI used to help a lot with that, but even that had trouble drumming up the energy and time to run. There wasn’t a whisper of it that I heard last month. I can’t say a lot because I’m in the same boat — with work and everything, I just don’t have the time to organize something of this magnitude. But it’s still a sad thing.

Interestingly, when I went to Google NBI, I found that there still appears to be a NBI Reddit out there that sometimes people post to, even recently. I wonder if that’s a tool that could be used for something more than it is now.

Anyhow, I’m starting to ramble. I don’t know that I rightly have the words to express my thoughts. I came from the early days of learning rudimentary HTML code in order to build your own free GeoCities site… because if you wanted to put your work out there, that was the best option you had. Due to that barrier, if you consistently made something good, it was noticed.

As the Web has grown, our options for communication have gotten wider to the point that everyone can easily spin up a site or a blog and share their thoughts. But just as many options as we have to be individuals online, as Project Wonderful has pointed out, with social media, our communication-vision has begun to grow narrower…

You can’t blame people for wanting to go where they think everything is (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, Wattpad, etc.). But where does that leave all the creatives on the fringes? The new blogger. The new online web novelist. The uptsart webcomic. The digital artist…

Folks who are developing a craft and trying to find an audience? They don’t have much of a choice but to go where they think that audience is. Even if that means that they’re straying far from home into the sometimes scary world of social media. Even then, that doesn’t promise they’ll be seen or heard.

These thoughts are nothing new. They just keep getting stronger as the years go by.

I dunno. What do you guys think?

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Posted in Blogging

200 Followers — Thank You!

I just got a note that said this blog has reached 200 followers! I know that’s not huge, but it means a lot to me!

Back when I moved this blog from my self-hosted to WordPress hosted, I lost all my followers. So I’ve had to build them back up again from scratch. While I don’t focus on my stats as much as I do just putting up posts, it’s still nice to be reminded of milestones.

Thanks again! 🙂

Posted in Blogging, Gaming, IRL, Uncategorized

Vegas Pokemon Conglomeration

Apologies in advance, this is going to be a really random post. Mostly, it has reference to a number of recent posts I’ve made, and a little to do with geeking and gaming. So, I figured it was relevant enough to ramble about.

Yesterday was my birthday. Syn, who has been my best friend for many years, was cooking something devious up, and I knew it. She mentioned it the night before, but I had no clue exactly what she meant to do.

Last night, she dropped the bomb on me: She bought me VIP tickets and a Photo op with my favorite band in the whole world – The Moody Blues. In Las Vegas. This September.

I was beside myself — mostly because it wasn’t cheap (but she had it in her head to do this, so I accepted the gift as graciously as I could). And then I thought of the planning I’d need to do for the trip.

And finally, the fact I really need to get into better shape before going on another trip. I spend my work time sitting in an office all day, and the time after that on the computer at home… and have for many years. I’m embarrassed to admit that my personal endurance and level of activity are both rock bottom, and have been for a while.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I needed to start paying more attention to diet and exercise now that I’m not as young as I used to be. (Git off my lawn! :p ) And there’s nothing like a trip that requires being out of your normal elements to show you just how out of shape you are.

We had thoughts of attending the FFXIV Fan Fest again this year (not sure if that’s a thing that’s going to happen or not), and I told myself that I needed to get more active so I could feel better when I was in Vegas. Well, now I have show tickets, and am going to meet my musical heroes face to face. I really need to start moving!

And that leads back to Pokemon Go.

Yesterday, I joked and said that catching my first shiny was a sign that I needed to get back into the game. Well, here’s another sign that I need to get back to it, for health’s sake.

The nice thing is that there’s now a Pokestop in the local mall. Summer is starting up full force already — it’s going to be 90+ degrees today — and braving the heat at the local park is just too much (and dangerous).

While the park is much better due to having 2 gyms and several stops, having one stop in the air conditioned mall gives me a reason to walk the mall. Previously, the mall didn’t have a stop, much less many Pokemon to speak of (it was odd – lots of Pokemon in the parking lot, few inside the mall itself). I hope that’s changed!

Anyhow, that’s my ramble for today. I’m taking tomorrow off in celebration of my birthday, so I’m going to have a long weekend. Hopefully I can spend some time with Death Road to Canada and have something to write at you guys next week. 🙂

Posted in Blogging, IRL

The 4th Decade

Nintendo sure knows how to spruce up a birthday, doesn’t it? Growing up a Nintendo kid, I couldn’t resist using the above image as my PC wallpaper. They also sent along some cute little paper craft templates, stuff that reminds me passingly of the new Switch Labo stuff.

So, today is my 40th birthday. Time for a little rambling.

I’d like to think that to see me and talk to me, my age isn’t very apparent. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing to say about yourself.

vintage78Every time you hit a decade milestone, though, it makes you stop and reflect a bit. I remember being antsy about the idea of turning 30. I was told “30 is the new 20, don’t fret about it.”

And they were pretty much right. I did a lot in the past 10 years to set a foundation under me — pay off bills, start a real career, get a place of my own that I own, buy my first new car… all of those adulting things. I’ve managed to survive it all somehow.

This year, I’ll have both my home and car paid off by fall. I still have some student loan stuff I’m working on, but my finances are good.

I feel like I’m in a position to start saving and thinking about where to go next. There’s still lots to see, do and look forward to. I’ve chosen to do things solo so far, so I have a lot of freedom to come and go as I please. I have good friends and family, and I’m a bit of a hermit by nature, so I’m alright with it.

However, year after year I tell myself that I need to pay better attention to my diet and health. I’m still saying that this year, and I have a feeling I’m going to really need to start to act on that.

gogbirthday
Thanks Green Man Gaming… I think?

Anyhow, my sister got me a $35 Nintendo eShop card, and I picked up the new Death Road to Canada since it’s on sale for Switch right now. I haven’t put a ton of time into it, but I’ll be sure to post about it once I have!

I’m struggling to decide what to use the rest of my card on, though. So many games on my Switch wishlist – it’s a good problem to have. 🙂

Have a great day!  

Posted in Blogging

Happy 4th Blogiversary!

Four years ago today, I started a blog that slowly morphed into the one you’re reading right now. Over a series of casual blog posts, mostly centering around my gaming habits, I’ve been able to achieve something I never have before now — a blog that I’ve posted to in a fairly consistent manner.

There have been a few hitches now and then. I decided to re-brand twice. I also switched domains once and moved web hosts once. But all in all, the overall tone and approach of this blog has remained the same.

I think a big part of the longevity is allowing a variety of writing topics — everything from the latest social failure in the Duty Finder to my first cruise vacation. While I don’t tend to go off on wild tangents too often, having the freedom to talk about whatever is on my mind has widened my scope quite a bit.

The other thing that amazes me is that I’m still playing the same game as my main MMO as I was back when I started this blog. While I did venture off to try a few other games on the side, it seems like FFXIV still has its hooks in me. That doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.

Anyhow, I want to send my appreciation to all my blogging pals and readers! Your support and comments are still as exciting and special today as they were 4 years ago. Thanks for joining me on this ride!

thankyou