Thursday, July 01, 2010

Get To Know Me...Oh, Wait...You Already Do...

Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself
NOTE: As busy as I am right now, today I needed to cheat a little. This is a two year-old post that really never saw the light of day, but was to be the maiden entry in my initial attempt at blog revitalization, a boy-who-cried-wolf grand reopening of AYBABTU in January 2009. I had previously alluded to the idea in a few posts and on Twitter, and had even secured the favor of two very high-level Twitter users to promote the announcement, but subsequent difficulties with the new blog template, along with a general disillusionment with where I was actually going with this ‘AJ 2.0’ schlock kind of brought me to my senses prior to making a complete ass of myself.

Well now I have a much better understanding of where I fit into this social media jigsaw and I’m ready give it another try; this time without the fanfare.

It’s a sort of reintroductory post that largely assumes that you don’t know me. However, thanks to the recent, huge show of support from my longtime Blogsville compadres, chances are, to most of those who will now be reading it, it’s old news with a bit of a twist.

So if you’ll pardon my posting a re-tread, I’ll take this opportunity to get the most of my limited time this week. I stumbled upon it today and thought it still held enough water to go ahead and post, seeing as how I now actually have sort of re-launched this site. I’ve edited and updated the story for a more current disposition of my circumstances, but toned down some of the rhetoric regarding my once-assumed assault on the social media world (oyeee vey).

So if you don’t know me, please read on. And if you’ve known this blog for years, I’d invite you to read anyway; I have a message for you as well.

I honestly don’t know whether I’m needlessly psyching myself up with this blog relaunch business or if I’ll eventually fall back into old patterns after the excitement wears off, but I truly want to give this renewed commitment a serious try.

I hope you’ll like what you read enough to join me and see where it leads.

* * * * *

Who am I?
Funny; I ask myself that question all the time. And seeing as this is the relaunch/re-birth of All Your Blogs Belong to Us, I figured it might be a good time to reintroduce myself, both to those who have known me in this space previously and to the new friends I will meet forthwith.

I suppose that first and foremost, I'd have to describe myself as a wise-cracker; and when I say a ‘wise-cracker,’ I don't mean to say that I'm a smart, white southern guy — although I have been referred to as a "pseudo-intellectual", I am caucasian, and I do live in Nashville.

But of course, what I really mean is that I like to goof around, drop a few puns, make fun, be made fun of, and generally do my best to make you smile.

However there is most definitely a serious side to my personality, and when it comes right down to it, that's the part that truly makes me who I am.

I like to think...a lot; maybe too much.

I write about what I think, as well as music, my family and my friends.

What have I done?
As far as who I am in real life, anonymity on the web is important to me, although I've given out more than enough personal info to allow anyone to figure out my identity if they truly had the mind to. Nevertheless, I maintain at least a thin veneer of secrecy about my corporal identity, if for no other reason than to protect the guilty — including myself. I used to maintain that for the sake of my corporate life as well; but seeing as I’m currently unemployed, that doesn’t seem to be as important now.

In fact, things have changed so much for me that I actually find myself hoping that a prospective employer will find my blog, given the elevated station of social media currently in the business world. I’d like to think that my experience in this medium speaks well of the overall experience I have as a new media creative, as well as the point that I am whom I appear to be. If you wish to get to know me, just read my blog.

But, oh yeah, back to protecting the guilty; I respect the privacy of my friends and family members, so the names of any and all living persons (with the obvious exception of publicly-known figures) referred to in my stories are pseudonyms. As a matter of fact, my stepsister, who is a huge fan of this blog, has for years been requesting that I create an AYBABTU Scorecard — you know, “ya can’t tell the players without a scorecard”? — so that she can keep track of all our relatives that I refer to in my stories. I really need to sit down and do that. Heck, even I sometimes need to go back and check what name I referred to a certain person as if there’s been any length of time between mentioning them.

I do talk a lot about my family, but I really love to talk about my friends; that’s become somewhat of a trademark of mine.

I often try to let people know how much I appreciate them; not to kiss their asses, but to make them feel special — because they are. I believe we’re all rockstars, in our own certain way, and I like to provide even a small sense of that for those I love in any way I can. Sometimes it's just nice to experience even a little confirmation in this day and age when we often go overlooked, taken for granted, or even abused.

As my life has already passed well beyond the halfway point (statistically speaking, anyway — but piss on that — I'm goin’ for the century mark!), I’d have to say that I've had a pretty decent existence. I've had success in a lot of areas, but that success has been tempered by horrible loss — more so than anyone should have to bear.

I’ve a lost an unfair percentage of my immediate and extended family to inherited Early-Onset Alzheimer’s disease, including my grandfather, mother, elder brother; and I’m now in the process of losing the most beloved of them all, my younger brother, Alex, currently in the advanced stages of AD, is currently in hospice, and is not expected to live beyond this year.

And that’s less than half of the victims that this hideous plunderer of life has plucked from only two generations of my mother’s side of the family.

However, strewn amongst the losses, I’ve scored more than a few victories. I’ve enjoyed the success of being an All-American collegiate athlete; lived one of my dreams as a part of the commercial music industry, and for eleven years enjoyed another dream job as a corporate web designer.

I've done some very smart things — chief of which was to marry a woman without whom I would truly be lost: my Michelle (ooh..I feel a song coming on...). I've written a lot about her. We celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary this past March, and I feel like a freakin' Einstein when I consider how special that fact is.

Michelle has given me two wonderfully perfect, imperfect kids, whom I love with all of my heart (I’ll actually be talking about one of them in my next post). Both of our children are grown, graduated from college and gone, but we have a great relationship with them; they are not only my kids, but also my friends. You can hardly imagine how special that is for me to say.

Materially, I've also been blessed to have a lot without necessarily ever making a lot of money. But even if I had made it, I most likely would have lost it all when I literally lost my shirt in the mid-90s.

Wait...did I forget to mention that I've done a lot of dumb things too? Well I have; and a few of the things I did that turned up the temperature of the financial hot water we found ourselves swimming in 15 years ago is at the top of the list.

Nevertheless, working together as never before, Michelle and I fought off the foreclosure of our home; I got three jobs and together we worked our way back to debt freedom — just in time to put our two kids through college (on cash, of course!) at the dawn of the new millennium.

Through all the up and downs, the Internet has defined me, more than a few times. After a ten-year career in the music industry, I launched fulltime into web design in 1995, a career that has alternately been my greatest joy and the bane of my existence.

Where am I going?
As the first decade of the 21st Century fades from view, the Net is smiling on me once again. I am both happy and excited to immerse myself in the phenomenon that is social media; it’s the primary reason I’ve re-launched this blog, although my ancient Blogger template was long overdue for the scrap heap even three years ago sorry, Doug — and you’re welcome, Dylan).

I've always said that I write for an audience of three: me, myself, and I. And for the most part, that remains true. However I'm ready to go beyond myself; to push the envelope a little, and really become a part of the burgeoning, extended web community now augmented by Facebook and Twitter.

But again, I ain’t no ‘Internet Marketer.’ I’m a web designer who merely happens to be a personal blogger; I’ll never pretend to be otherwise. I don’t write to generate business; I write to speak my mind and to order my thoughts. My personal brand is much more about who I am than what I do. I’m the real deal; what you see is me, like it or lump it.

Hopefully you’ll like a lot more than you lump; I’m sorta counting on that, else I’d probably have made the decision to scap this thing and just go to Walgreens to pick up a diary.

Beyond the obvious personal information I’ll blog about, my overall role in this community remains to be seen. However, it’s more than likely going to be equal parts court jester and Wal-Mart greeter, with a just enough pertinent social commentary and tech-info-for-right-brainers thrown in to make my claim of being a webbie appear legit, but not so much as to alienate the casual reader.

If you’ve seen me on Twitter, you probably know that while I may swim with SocMed sharks, I’m much more pilot fish than great white. I’m learning from the best, but have no aspirations to be Chris Brogan Jr.

Seriously though, I may not make you richer, but that’s not my goal. There are more than enough folks out there with far better qualifications than I to fill that bill. My chief aim is to make you smile and to make you think; to make your mind richer. And if I can do that, I think I’ve written a pretty good story.

In addition to the old friends I’ve had for years who are still out there, I'm excited about the new friends I've already met through Twitter and Facebook, and look forward to reaching out even more, hopefully with greater concentration on topically-based subjects, as opposed to my normal inclination to spend the lion’s share of my blog’s energy navel-gazing.

(However if you wanna see my navel, I’ve been told I’ve got a cute one…minus the lint.)

Wanna come with?
If we’ve never met, I look forward to meeting you soon; if we’re already friends, I look forward to expanding that friendship to a place from which we both can benefit even more. I look forward to the changes, and the rewards that lay ahead.

Seeya ‘round!

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