Okay, perhaps the title is a wee bit cynical, but it’s not far from the truth. I’ve been blogging on and off (mostly off) since around 2000 – you know, back when the Internet was still a crazy, mysterious, alien goddess nobody seemed to know what to do with. I thought about providing you with some web.archive.org links as evidence of these earlier attempts at being clever, but nope, that’s not happening. No one needs to see that.
Seriously, it would be best for everyone if we just pretended this is my first ever blog.
Anyway, trust me: first posts suck. The standard reason for this is that the excited blogger usually feels that he/she/it needs to go on and on about the divine purpose of their new blog. Literally no one needs to know that shit; this is even more true in 2014 than it was when I was a smiling, doe-eyed, newbie blogger. We’ve all been Internetting (seriously, spell check? I think that should be a word) long enough to know what a blog is for. We know that businesses and professionals use them to “expand their online presence” or “engage with customers” or some such bullshit, which is all just a polite way of saying “our SEO consultant said to blog if we want a higher ranking on Google, and we paid him a fuck-ton of money, so he must be right.”
As for personal blogs, let’s be completely honest: they’re for people who think they’re pretty damn clever. That’s as true today as it was fourteen years ago, except now you can pretty much start a blog with three mouse clicks (or less if you just go straight to Facebook and bash out a long, rambling update). If you have a hosted, custom-designed blog such as this one, you’re pretty much saying “I’m damn clever, and I’m willing to pay real money to prove it.”
This blog is a bit of a hybrid of business and personal. In case it’s somehow not obvious, I’m launching a writing career, which would make this a professional blog in that sense. I don’t need an SEO consultant to take my money and tell me that writing stuff online is a good way to prove that you’re a decent writer. Plus, it’s no coincidence that some of my favourite authors are also first rate bloggers.
But this isn’t strictly a professional blog. I’m a human being (aside from a few of my teeth), and as a human being I know that I prefer interacting with other human beings, not “brand presences”. This is one of the key things that so many professionals and corporations get wrong in teh cyber-zonez: they de-humanize their online presence. They become robotic, heat-seeking opportunists, employing social media “strategies” that culminate in a deeply embarrassing tone-deaf tweet like this or this.
I’m a business, but I’m also just a guy. I’m the sole proprietor of a fiction factory. I’m not a marketing expert, or even a particularly friendly person, if we’re being honest, but I know enough to know that being able to make a real, authentic connection with the person who makes your favourite stuff is valuable. I just got back from a local microbrewery where I got to chat with the actual people who made the beer. Not their counter staff, or their salespeople – the brewers. That’s a special thing in these modern times. Sure, you run the risk that your “real personality” will send some people running far, far away from what you’re trying to sell, but the opposite is also true: your “tribe” will hear you and respond. If you try to please everyone, you will please no one.
So here it is: the matt-perkins.com blog, where I will do my best to be myself and not try to please everyone. And yeah, I actually do think I’m pretty clever.