This is something off the cuff, but in trying to get a decent auto-post format, I realized after the fact I was really "branding" my posts.
I am not a brand. I don’t really want to BE a brand. I’m just me. But this blog has gotten me behaving a little differently and wanting people to read it and I’m wondering if that’s actually healthy.
When I did rants and reviews on Final Fantasy Wiki (which I still will do for some topics), I didn’t really worry much about post length or what anyone thought of it. On the other hand, that feeling of shouting into the void because nobody has probably read any of it in forever is kind of why I wanted to start this blog anyway. I do have a Blogger from before Google and frankly if I hadn’t gotten a rude awakening of Google automatically logging me into it when I remembered it still existed and went to look at it, I might have legitimately compromised and used that. Google’s reach very much scared me away. That space will likely remain ever empty. Google buying out all sorts of services I had before the takeover is a whole rant of its own, but suffice to say I’m not hot on it.
For this, though, I still really feel like if someone could’ve figured out the ActivityPub plugin issue, it would have made me happiest. I could’ve gone for that kind of seamless integration with comments between the two services, and I also feel like it would’ve given me more realistic expectations for this thing. Repurposing my mastodon.social account to post to on one hand gave it a reason to exist again, but on the other, it’s feeling more and more like it’s becoming a "brand" account and I don’t like it. Again, I don’t want to BE a "brand."
Another thing this blog has done is make it feel like I need to keep things shorter. On one hand, that may be a good thing, but on the other, I feel stifled, too. I am verbose. I think a lot of people on the spectrum probably are because we’re trained to be that way by school and it comes naturally to us. A lot of other Millennials at least had the benefit of cell phones in the early days where texts were charged by the letter and that forced people to be concise. I didn’t have one, so I SUCK at being concise. So being a little more concise probably isn’t a bad thing, just because literally anything I type in this thing, especially on mobile, is immediately turned into a daunting wall of text that I wouldn’t want to read, either. Another thing that Wikitext does way better than Markdown (which I have installed to make things easier) is allowing things to be broken up with more line breaks. It kinda sucks not really being able to do that, because whitespace helps organize things, too, and on here, it’s easier to do that with headings and sections, which has forced me to think more in terms of parceling up my thoughts where I’m used to more freedom in how to break up a single thought into manageable chunks. Maybe I need to stop relying so much on Markdown for that purpose and use the standard editor. There’s just, like, no space in this format, and that’s AFTER everyone on the Wikia (now Fandom) network screamed about the 1000 pixel width of Oasis over a decade ago.
What I really want is just to have a feeling I’m not shouting into the void with this thing, because that’s the problem I was trying to solve in the first place. And it really hasn’t been helped that the one real interaction I got on the mastodon.social account for anything I wrote about wasn’t even a blog post. A few people followed, but none interacted, you know? Part of the "branding" I was trying to do was just trying to make it clear what the posts actually were and try to make them inviting to click into. The default format is just sort of awful for that.
Anyway, the "branding" of the auto-post format is as good as I think I can get it. I’m still not entirely happy with it, but I think it’s the best I can come up with. It might change again later, but I really want the title to be set apart without overwhelming the rest and without being just blocky and boring. And I want the summary to flow into the link to read more without it being off-putting with a "CLICK ME!" sort of approach. And I think I have those two things in a fairly balanced state. Ultimately, I just really want it to be friendly, like it’s coming from me personally. I consider myself a… relatively friendly person. I’m pretty approchable IRL and while I think a lot of that gets lost online, it’s not something I want to be lost.
This is probably the shortest rant I’ll do for a while, but I just wanted to talk about it. Branding sucks. Having to work with the WordPress block editor SUUUUUCKS! And having to change my links page and try to make a decision on whether I’m going to actually use the tabs to promote the blog (no, or at least not for now just to save space) is kind of demoralizing in retrospect. Changing my links page because I can’t get ActivityPub working just kinda sucks most of all and was totally demoralizing even in the moment.
So, yeah. I kinda just wanted this blog to be a place I could be myself, but longer-winded, and it just doesn’t feel like it’s properly serving that purpose right now. Too many compromises. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m actually equipped to install Plume in its place and I really don’t want to deal with WriteFreely due to their tips jar feature being intertwined with craptocurrency, not that I want a tips jar for my blog posts anyway. Honestly, all those links on my MediaAlarm and Tools page for tips? It’s given me exactly $0.00 over the ~10 years it’s all been up. Once I manage to release any of my games, those are going on itch.io just so I can enforce some pricing on them and will be linked to from the main site.
But anyway, shouting into the void sucks. I’m glad I’m finally on a Mastodon server where I don’t feel like I am for my day-to-day posting anymore, but honestly, the reason I moved to that server is because I felt that way about mastodon.social, monster that it is, which is how I felt on Twitter. Shouting into the void is never fun, and it’s good to have a home. I just really don’t want to compromise that home to get attention for this blog. At the same time, I understand that this blog has to build itself organically, too.
Honestly, the biggest fear I have is for when I have to make an offical blog of some sort. This one is attached to the site in its own way, and I made a category for official business, but if I ever actually do have to worry about treating my games or site as a business, it’s kind of a scary prospect. I’ve had plans for that since forever, policies, procedures, apps, even recipes, but none of them have actually been branding, and just this small experience with it has made branding the scariest thing of all.