I’m a dad who blogs, but does that make me a dad blogger?
Some bloggers fit tidily into specific niches: food, travel, politics, beauty, fitness, parenting, money, sports and so on.
But what am I? A dad blogger? I’m not so sure.
I am me
I’ve never been a person who likes being assigned a specific label – even though, as a social media marketer, I work in a world of niche segments and targetting. Yes, I’m an introvert who generally prefers to sit quietly in a corner thinking. But get me talking on a subject I’m passionate about and there’s no stopping me. Yes, I’m obviously south-east Asian in origin – or IC5, as contemporary police dramas have educated us – but my passport, values and cultural touchpoints are distinctly British.
I am a mish-mash of many different things. Maybe I fit better in certain segments than others but I am not neatly defined by a one-size-fits-many ‘persona’. I am unique. I am me.
Not your typical dad blogger?
Anyhow, I discovered yesterday that I am one of six finalists in the Best Daddy Blog category at the forthcoming 2018 Vuelio Blog Awards. This prompted my friend Tony to fire off the tweet below:
I know you're a dad who blogs, but I wouldn't have placed you in this category. You're much, much more than a daddy blogger. When you win, please just call yourself an award winning blogger and avoid the stereotyped stovepipe.
— Tony Pitt (@tonythepitt) October 4, 2018
Although he left the parent blogging world some time ago, Tony and I are kindred spirits in the sense that neither of us conformed neatly with a stereotype. Neither of us have ever focussed on making our fortunes from blogging or being the best this or highest-ranked that. Neither of us adhered neatly to the standard content lanes of parent blogging: baby/toddler product reviews, sponsored posts, resigned if-you-didn’t-laugh-you’d-cry pieces, cautionary parenting tales, tips on how to be a more successful blogger, bringing up a child with special educational needs. The list goes on.
There’s nothing wrong with any of the above. There are bloggers who operate across all those lanes, make a very good income and write brilliantly. All power to them. But it’s a crowded field (and getting more congested with every passing month) and it’s hard to truly stand out.
And I’ve also written my share of many of these types of posts. But I like to think I’m more than just your average dad or parent blogger because I’ve never allowed a label to define or constrain me. I’ve never been one for following the crowd either. In fact, where some people seek to replicate the formula of their blogging idols, I’m more likely to head in the completely opposite direction. I’d rather be unsuccessful and authentic than successful and a poor imitation of someone else. I know that word – ‘authentic’ – is over-used these days by people who are anything but, to the point of becoming meaningless. But that’s what I aim for: a voice that is both authentic and unique.
As a personal philosophy, I know the above is anathema to many bloggers. But it’s me.
The world’s most boring hedonist
I wrote a few months back about how I don’t really consider myself to be a ‘blogger’ in the contemporary sense of the word. I don’t blog to put food on the table or for stats or ranking charts. Blogging is something I do for the joy of writing, in and of itself.
So, yes, I do write about life from the perspective of being a dad, which qualifies me as a dad blogger. But I’ll also write about politics occasionally – and I am most definitely not a political blogger. I write and perform parody songs – but I am in no way an aspiring singer/songwriter. (If you’ve ever heard me sing, you’ll understand why.) I spent five years recording podcasts, not because I thought I was any good at it (I’m distinctly mediocre) but because it was fun.
Fundamentally, I am the world’s quietest, most boring hedonist.
So what I guess I am saying is that I am many things – and simultaneously none of those things. ‘Dad blogger’ may be the best fit for me for these particular awards but it barely scratches the surface of who I am as a blogger.
Mind you, I suppose ‘dad blogger’ is a better label than ‘person who capriciously writes about whatever miscellaneous topic he feels like on any given day’. (Fit that on a trophy …)
Sincerely yours …
One thing I definitely am is a nostalgist. I am unashamedly a child of the Eighties. Indeed, my profile reads, “Forever stuck somewhere in the mid-1980s, probably a Thursday.”
Barely a day passes when I don’t make some passing reference to 1980s popular culture. Increasingly, colleagues at work look at me in bemusement and shrug their shoulders. (This may be because many of them weren’t even born until the 1990s.)
And so, in my meandering way, I’ll conclude with this quote from one of the Eighties’ defining movies, The Breakfast Club. I will admit that sometimes I throw in old pop culture references for the hell of it. But here the film’s closing lines perfectly sum up how I feel about fitting into a defined blogging niche. (Except for the bit about being a criminal. And a princess. And an athlete. Sod it, you know what I mean.)
You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain …
… and an athlete …
… and a basket case …
… a princess …
… and a criminal.
Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.
I probably won’t win the Best Daddy Blogger Award. I’m definitely not the best dad blogger out there. But I am the best me. And that’s enough.