Random: Impact

So after vowing to get back into Daily Prompts, I was surprised to find none in my Reader. I searched the page and found that the name had been changed, but no entries had been made since May. In a stunning display of quick thinking, I hopped onto a search engine and revved it on “random word” which automatically suggested “generator” and found the Random Word Generator. Say what you will about the people using it, the internet itself is an awesome tool. On to the writing!

Future entries likely won’t be as long as this one is turning out to be. Maybe.


Impact


When I participated in Daily Prompts I would create a short story or thought experiment around the given word as a fun challenge to see what I could come up with. After some brief thought I decided not to go with that formula, even though I already had at least three ideas in mind; I’ll save those for short stories. No, what I’d like to write about today is the impact that becoming part of the WordPress community has had on me. In a little over a month it will be my WordPress Birthday, so I thought that would only be fitting.

The Blog

This whole adventure into the blogosphere started out as four simple posts on Facebook in which I poked fun, in good humor, at a bunch of cheap thing I’d found at a Five Below with accompanying photos. I received one encouraging push to turn this non-idea into a blog, and so the prototype Page Buc’ing the Trend was born. Slowly it expanded to a following of five or six friends. I made what I thought at the time were “regular posts”. It would be much later that I realized a Facebook Page needed to be highly active (Multiple posts a day.), highly visual, and scant of words (Facebook apparently ain’t for reading.), of which I was only nailing one of those requirements.

Even after changing the name from a play on what I learned was a flipping stock term to Weird Shit with Alex, viewership and interest remained at a rate of growth that doesn’t even bother measuring. I won’t get into all the notifications that turned out to be from Facebook about “boosting your Page and posts”. I tried anything I could think of doing to improve the presentation: sharing weird pictures from other Pages, truncating movie reviews to a horrible degree, making entries shorter by placing abridged text in the actual image descriptions. I hated it.

I hated my new hobby. I hated how it had gone from being fun to feeling like a daily schedule of desperate CPR. Right as I was reaching the point that, “If nobody cares, then neither do I.”, I realized what the problem was. It was Facebook. That platform is all about instant gratification, scrolling, and general self-absorption. That’s no place for a blog like the one I was trying to run. I needed an actual blogging site with a blogging community. I needed thinkers, doers, jokers, writers, artists, dreamers, travelers, and free spirits. I found what I needed in WordPress.

After dumping all the old content onto my new blog, which in retrospect was a terrible decision as having a lot of ready-made material to put up over a long period of time should have been the obvious way to go, I started to get back into the swing of writing movie reviews and other entries in the much preferred “More Than Three Sentences” format. Aside from the occasional Prompts though, I still kept doing what I had always done: talk about toys that I thought were lame or cool, discuss trash movies, and obsess over my collection of alligators and crocodiles. That got old after a while and I realized that I simply didn’t have the budget to constantly feed the blog with toys.

Then it was pointed out to me that branching out wasn’t a bad thing to do on a blog, especially with a blog as new and unfocused as mine. “Weird Shit”? That could include anything! So branch I did, getting into art, fiction, collaborations, local oddities, personal tales of stupidity, and other random things. Which brings us to now.

The People

I remember the first two people who I met on WordPress: Little Fears and Purple Pants. The very first Fears story that I listened to, with its dry wit and “built on a pun” formula, hooked me instantly, while Purple Pants wove words into poetry with such seeming ease that it was spellbinding. I looked for more writers, found Unbolt Me where writing whips around like a tree caught up in a storm with links to stories within stories that lead deeper down the rabbit hole. I got to know Fears as “Peter” and met Layne a.k.a Chewing On Glass through him, and thus were born the “Three Movigos” as we rotated through finding weekly Horror or Science Fiction films to watch and heckle together. I found travel bloggers, photo bloggers, comedy bloggers.I would mention you all but my Reader list is being strange and you aren’t all showing up. 😦

Then my Movigo brothers introduced me in quick succession to Amberley, Lemon Destroyer and literary Mad Genius; Ward, the guy who found the Necronomicon, “Quite boring.”; Mel, a creative, soulful author and unofficial “Group Mom” (We love ya, Mel :D); Eric, writer and budding YouTube Personality. Then people started to join us in the entertainment on Twitter: Elijah and Chris had joined the team. The little community-within-community was growing into a fun and friendly bunch of people. All writers and here I am, still the guy currently writing another weird film review for another Horror flick that happened to have a dildo in it.

The Response

In the amount of time that I’ve been running Weird Shit, I have written more than I have in years. My output of late hasn’t been what I would deem “consistent” but curiosity, traffic, and amusement hasn’t changed since I barfed up a bunch of stuff onto a screen and called it content. I can get a much better sense of things on WordPress, pulling back from the Daily Numbers that Fackbook would scold me with, “Nobody visited you today!”, to a Weekly Chart that shows my weird little corner of the web has both a regular and steady heartbeat. At the Monthly readings there’s hardly fluctuations at all and when it gets into Years, I’ve done more this year in my “slump” than I did in 2017 when I was throwing myself into regular work that probably wasn’t best for my mental health.

I’ve made friends and met so many other people and found like-minded weirdos in so many other countries that at times I can’t even believe the scope of it all from a wider viewpoint. You have all shown me in one way or another that I can be my true oddball self and you’ll laugh with me. I never had that in school or college and I only started receiving it when my current circle of close friends took me in as an adult. Validation of such a scale means more to me than any of you can know, so thank you all with all my heart for making this hobby all the more fulfilling.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all weird about it or anything. 😉

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