This time last year I was coming back from a break from social media and if you haven’t guessed, this is the obligatory blog to announce that I’m taking another one, explain why and express my hopes for the future.
The thing is unlike last year, I’m not taking a break because I’m tired, jaded and feel the need the rest. The way the events in my life have converged, it just feels natural to take the social media break. Tap dancing lessons have finished for the term, the summer season of darts has come to an end, no more facilitation for Great Men this side of summer as schools have finished and I’ve crewed my last convention until September. The biggest event that is happening is my marriage to Sarah next week. Between now and then there will be finalizing of details and having the occasional panic attack as the enormity of potential changes dawns on me, and calming Sarah as she has her own “oh my God” moments. Then there’s the honeymoon as we take time for ourselves and work out what it actually means to be husband and wife in practical terms (there’s only so much engagement encounters and marriage prep courses to can teach you).
When we return home in September, the winter season of darts will be underway (first match may be the same day we get back), tap dancing will soon follow, the Great Men Project will be needing facilitators and there’s the small matter of the release of Halo 5:Guardians in October (I’ve booked a week off work to play it); and this is just my schedule. Even though the wedding is a pretty big event (understatement) it’s the only event happening in the next month so now feels like a good time to take a break. I’m in a pretty good place at the moment, I still have lots of things to work on but I’m much happier with that than I have been in the past; I’m not tearing myself apart over that. I don’t want to be backed into a corner where I’m forced to take a break for my health like last time so this is me actually being proactive for once. Though I still miss my friend who moved up north and whilst we’ve had great catch ups, I miss wandering around Oxford and seeing how long it would be before those in Pizza Hut and The Mitre eavesdropping on our conversation, got too freaked out and hurriedly finished their meal to pay and leave.
During this break I’ll also be looking at this blog and ChristianOnTheFrontLine as a whole to try and decide what to do with it. Not much has changed over the last year. Most of the “religious” content goes on the Facebook goes on the Facebook page and the other issues go onto my personal Facebook, whereas the Twitter account is much more of a mix. But Twitter has more of my own 140 character musings on issues where as the majority of the Facebook page is other peoples articles and this blog; and again I’m happy with that. It seems to be working pretty well, especially with a couple of members of the page regularly bringing pieces I may have missed to my attention to share on the page. I have noticed that I’m less and less interested in apologetics and whilst previously this was the bulk of what I shared, now it’s just the occasional piece.
I would like to expand the type of content on the site but need to have a think about the best way of doing this because the variety of topics I like to talk about can sometimes make it a bit messy. I’m still toying with the idea of doing videos, but need more practice so I don’t sound like I’m giving a public service announcement. I should probably learn how to use editing software too. It isn’t just about more content, but content that’s going to engage people more and get them involved. Tumblr and Ask.fm are possibilities to help with this, possibly something crazy with Twitch could also give me more ideas for blogs as well as have more of my own content as opposed to just sharing others admittedly great content; and I’ve learned so much from these pieces. Getting Disqus is probably a must at this stage too. Some of my favorite pieces I’ve written are ones that have had nothing to do with religion but it’s hard to keep up with content across a breadth of subjects. I might even look at setting up a proper website again (with a different company this time) to help split the topics out a bit more. It is about becoming more “popular” to an extent but being the size it is, it allows me to write pretty much what I want, when I want without having an army of critics picking apart every single word and getting angry because I’m not releasing pieces regularly. I very much go under the radar 99.9% of the time and I actually like that. My Twitter account (as of today) has 329 followers and the Facebook page 89 followers. That said, when someone does respond to a piece I’ve written it always makes me smile, even if I am being labelled a heretic or unsafe. It’s the engagement, it’s building a community that I would ultimately like to do and I don’t need an army of followers to do that. It may turn out that I don’t do anything more than what I’m doing now, but it’s good to have possible ideas. Speaking of good ideas, if you have any subjects you’d like to read about (either as a one off or a series) features you’d like to see or any ideas on how to generally improve the experience then please leave a comment below, on the Facebook or via Twitter.
Whatever you’re doing over the summer, enjoy yourselves and stay safe. The next time you hear from me I will be a married man.