January 12, 2014

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: A Blogger's Tale

For those that remember, PopCannon began as a blog called "Things That Annoy Me" way back in 2003 - a place where I vented and mused about everything from movies to music to things as mundane as the ineptitude of my local retailer. After some time, I got the "bright" idea to morph the site into some sort of pseudo-entertainment news/opinions/review site. And you know what? It actually worked for a while.

I gleefully embraced the role of sort-of news provider, sort-of reviewer, sort-of whatever. Back then, it seemed to work pretty well - to the point where I considered transforming the blog into a "brand" of sorts - so I changed the name to something catchier, something that would convey the entertainment/pop culture focus of the blog/brand - and "popcannon" was born.

Again, this seemed to work for some time. Until, of course, it became apparent that my half-assed attempt at providing frequent and timely entertainment-related posts wasn't going to cut it. The times were changing, and other blogs were doing the same thing, and much better - mainly due to the full-time effort being put in by their respective owners and writers.

The truth is, I wasn't as jazzed about writing daily. Don't get me wrong: I loved writing, but I just didn't have the urge to do so every day, and in a manner designed to supposedly provide timely entertainment news/opinions. Additionally, real-world events in my life resulted in fewer and fewer posts. Eventually, I realized there was no way this site was ready to be a "brand." That said, I still wanted an online outlet to share my views/thoughts/rants on movies, tv, music and whatever else struck a chord - and then it became obvious.

I decided to take my site back to its roots: A simple blog. A blog where I could write whenever I wanted, as often as I wanted, and about whatever I wanted. Sure, I'd still probably write about pop culture most often, but I didn't want to be defined and restricted. I made the mistake of thinking I could jump willy-nilly into the world of daily entertainment blogging, and all that did was kill my desire to write. With that in mind, my blog will return to what it was, a place I wanted to write, not needed to.

With this in mind, I've put the "PopCannon" name into a kind of hibernation. As I stated above, when I came up with the name, I was working under the assumption that it was going to become a "brand," and keeping that same identity for a personal blog just doesn't feel right for some reason: The "brand" stigma of PopCannon not only feels restrictive, but it also feels like a chapter that's passed for me - like "things that annoy me" before it. It's not retired or eliminated - it's simply taking a break comfortably on a beach somewhere until I need it again.

With PopCannon in hibernation, I've decided to try blogging with a more "personal" name or names. Something fun, different and not intended to be a brand. Additionally, I'd like it to be something that's easily changeable: The focus of any non-branded blog should be the writing and personality of the writer, not the name or branding, per see. While diving into the deep end of Tumblr, the name "Hyperdrive Mechanic" suddenly came to me like a bolt of (somewhat silly) lightning, and it kind of stuck with me.

Continuing with this need to change and reinvent my blogging identity, I'm currently considering new venues for my writing. Blogger has been very, very good to me, especially after my previously rough years on Blogdrive. That said, I feel I need to test the waters of fresh, new platforms specifically and simply designed for blogging: I feel a new venue may reinvigorate my desire to write, as well as open up new ways of reaching new audiences.

Presently, I'm giving several new platforms a try. Some of you may be asking why I haven't tried Wordpress. Actually, I have indeed tried it behind the scenes, and I've found several stumbling blocks. First and foremost, the "free" version requires ads, and I'd like to avoid that: The only way to do so involves installing wordpress on my own paid hosting server. If I envisioned writing more often and/or maintaining a brand, I could justify that, but right now, it seems a bit much. Additionally, I'm not entirely fond of the authoring UI - though I know the tools are excellent as a CMS. What I DO like about Wordpress is the included themes. I'm still on the fence about this option.

Wordpress isn't my only option, obviously. Medium.com is extremely nice, though it seems to sacrifice personal ownership/identity in favor of community readership - something I'm not too find of. Additionally, I don't like the fact that my entire identity there is tied to my Twitter account - though I understand the linkage. Tumblr is easy to use and, at times, fun. I realize it's not designed primarily for long-form blogs--though I know they can and do exist there. I'm finding myself most active there, possibly because it's so easy to get caught up in image posting and "reblogging" things that catch my fancy and speak to my identity. Postach.io is also a very intriguing option, as it seamlessly uses Evernote to publish and store my blog. I'm also investigating other options, as well.

This does not mean I won't return to Blogger - quite the contrary. In fact, I'm currently in the process of renaming the blog and/or creating a new blogger presence with the new username. I just feel experimenting with new platforms could be fun and productive -and what better time to do it than now.

Currently, I have new presences up and running, Tumblr being the most active:



If you're a follower from the old days (Many thanks) or a new visitor, feel free to head on over for new content. This is not a goodbye - just a potential new beginning!