This is 36: We’re Not Hypocrites for Using Facebook as a Highlight Reel from Our Lives

If we’re being honest, Facebook is an open mic, public stage in which we present the best parts of our lives to those in our social circle. I have no shame in admitting that.

Chances are, the most relevant thing you scroll your Facebook feed for is pictures of your friends’ and family members’ kids. And I would also predict that most of the “likes” and comments that you receive are based on pictures you post of your own kids.

Yeah, that magical red notification that alerts us of confirmation that some part of our life is being mutually acknowledged and appreciated…

But are we all somehow hypocrites for choosing to highlight the most exciting and interesting parts of our lives? Does that make us all fake? Would we all be better off if instead, we also included the mundane parts of our lives?

For example, should I update my status right now so everyone can know that it’s time to clip my fingernails? Is that something you would want to know about?

If so, then you are very easily amused… right? And if you “liked” status comment about me needing to clip my fingernails, I would assume that if you are not desperate for distraction from real life, that you were just give me a “courtesy like” to make me feel good about myself.

The thing is, we don’t want courtesy likes, do we?

Instead, we want to know and believe that the people in our social circles authentically “like” what we place in front of them.

So naturally, presenting our Facebook friends with our best material is what we all do. We certainly don’t want to use everyone else’s Facebook feed to advertise the most negative parts of our own lives; we would appear emotionally needy in that case.

We all want to be liked for good things about ourselves. We all want to be included by society. To a certain (and healthy) degree, we care about what people think about us. I say that’s a good thing.

I am not a hypocrite for using Facebook as my highlight reel. And neither are you.

So I will keep posting the highlights of my life on Facebook. So will you.

And that’s completely okay.

This is 36.

BroadBandTV Corp (BBTV) and My YouTube Channel are Now in a Multi-Platform Network Partnership

BroadBandTV Corp (BBTV) Approached Me about Partnering with My YouTube Channel… And I Said Yes

My YouTube channel, simply named Nick Shell, is now under a 1 year contract with BroadBandTV. They reached out to me last week, wanting to recruit me as one of their independent contractors.

Pssstt! A year has passed since this blog post. CLICK HERE for the results!

When you do a Google search on BroadBandTV, here’s what you’ll find:

BBTV is a media & technology company that represents the best YouTube talent in a global multi-platform network (MPN) and creates online video solutions for brands… The company is currently the fastest growing and the second largest multi-channel network worldwide, with head offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Here’s the simple concept:

They scour the YouTube for talent they think has enough potential to invest in; like me. Once they have me on board, they use their massive network to promote certain videos of mine which they see are relevant to their clients.

BBTV gets a cut of my YouTube revenue, meanwhile they promote my videos on their platforms. It’s a mutual investment.

Obviously, my wife and I did our research on them first. We had to make sure they were legit and that I wasn’t being scammed.

We read every line of the contract and even verified multiple times that there are no “perpetuities” or “annuities”; and that I would maintain all “intellectual property.”

In other words, I will always own my content.

All my songs (including both their lyrics and melodies) are mine. All ideas and characters and stories presented in my videos are mine.

I think this partnership could be the next step I’ve been working towards.

In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s no myth: YouTube really does pay people who have popular YouTube channels. The more people click on the ads on a person’s video, the more revenue that person makes.

Granted, the number of subscribers a person has ultimately determines how much money they make.

I didn’t seriously start making videos until last May. As of last week when I signed the contract with BBTV, I had 130 subscribers and had only made $52.84 total.

That’s not a lot.

However, I had enough going on with my YouTube channel to attract BBTV to reach out to me.

During the official interview, in which they called me from their board room, I asked them what ultimately inspired them to reach out to me.

With a laugh, one of the men told me that a friend of his told him about one of my “receding hairline videos.”

Once he arrived at my YouTube channel, he saw that I publish a couple new videos a day; consisting of not only my “hair” videos, as well as random “deep thought of the day” videos, but also all original series including “Jack-Man” as well as “Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest.”

My plan worked: Grow a core audience by acknowledging myself that many of us men have private insecurities in regards to having a receding hairline. From there, as subscribers grow on my channel, I also mix in my other series which truly display my acting and musical talents.

I’m curious to see where this partnership takes me in a year. The way I figure, if I keep doing what I do and BBTV keeps doing what they do, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll finally capture the attention of a major studio work.

And that point, my goal is to have my own children’s show.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and an actor, but do I fundamentally believe in keeping things “G rated” for myself on camera.

Having my own kids’ show, in which I have some creative control over, would allow me to exercise my talents without having to worry about profanity or innuendos.

If this partnership isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, then I’ll know in a year. I just feel that having only earned $52.84 since I started, and I haven’t even been cashed that out yet… I’m not really losing anything if it doesn’t work out.

I am feeling really good about this. I have been praying for God to increase my responsibilities based on my talents and for me to find ways to do that.

To me, it’s not a coincidence this happened.

Let’s just see what happens in a year.

Pssstt! A year has passed since this blog post. CLICK HERE for the results!

My Blog Readers are Female, but My YouTube Watchers are Male

Dear Jack: Webisode 20 of Jack-Man- “The Ole Switcheroo”

I am very aware of the importance of knowing my audience, so that I can better create content for what people want to be entertained by while they’re trying to kill time on smart phones.

Thanks to the analytics screen for my Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog, and thanks to the analytics screen for my YouTube channel, I have recently learned a paradox about my audience:

They don’t have a lot in common… They are segregated by gender demographics.

Most of the people reading Family Friendly Daddy Blog are women…

Women
72%
Men
27%

While most of the people watching my videos on YouTube are men:

MALE
83%
FEMALE
17%

For my Jack-Man series, I spend a minimum of 6 hours per video (writing, filming, producing music, editing, publishing) and there are currently 22 Jack-Man videos. When you do the math, that’s a minimum of 132 hours (or 5.5 straight days) of work for that series; and I only started the series 5 months ago.

However, I’m lucky to get 100 views on any of my Jack-Man videos. All that creativity mainly goes unwatched.

Meanwhile, I’ve carelessly thrown together a few unedited and unscripted videos on receding hairlines on my YouTube channel.

Those are the videos that easily get more than 100 views every day.

That’s because it’s mainly men are watching my YouTube channel, not as many women.

And mainly women are reading my blog, not as many men.

So now, behind the scenes, I am sketching out the best ways to blend my blog posts with my videos.

Ultimately, I guess it means that I’ll be publishing more blog posts about receding hairlines to feature my receding hairline videos, and making more videos about parenting to feature my usual daddy blog material.

I am attempting to use my blog to promote my videos and my videos to promote my blog.

So when you see me doing blog posts on seemingly irrelevant material, just know it’s for the other half of my demographics: men.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Simply put, I’m now consolidating a week’s worth of social media activity into just a couple of hours per week; during a specific window of time, from now on…

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Starting 2 weeks ago, I began only publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursday nights.

Similarly, I am now only logging into Facebook (as well as all other forms of social media; it helps that I don’t have a smart phone) just once a week now on Thursday nights, when I publish my new posts for the week.

I’m also done paying any attention to my “home” page on Facebook, where it shows everyone’s status updates. I just don’t see how that daily exposure is enhancing my life; it only seems to complicate it.

My addiction and attention span to “keeping up” with all that stuff is apparently expired.

I guess moving into our new house has sort of… recalibrated my priorities and changed my mindset.

Ultimately, I don’t want the video game of Facebook or my hobby of blogging to interfere with the actual reality of my life with my family.

I’ve come to the realization that I no longer have to pressure myself the way I did when I was writing for Parents.com for those 3 years when I did The Dadabase.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Something I’ve learned is that I ultimately get as much traffic no matter when I post new stuff, so I might as well just save it all for one day each week.

It’s similar to concept of “binge watching” premium TV shows like Breaking Bad and Man Men. Instead, I’ll be “binge posting” my new publications each Thursday night here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

That way I don’t have to be constantly preoccupied with publishing new stuff throughout the week; therefore dividing my attention all week long. Now I can actually live my life with my family without that distraction.

Over the past couple of years now, I’ve struggled with my relationship with Facebook. I see now I used to put way too much thought into it.

Recently we had to go 4 days without Internet as we moved in the new house, and once I did finally check my Facebook, I realized I actually didn’t miss anything.

While Facebook is full of people I care a lot about, the overall emotional intelligence of status updates in my daily feed ultimately seems to clutter my life; not enhance it. I am choosing to pull the plug on my daily exposure to that large daily nose of negativity and sarcasm.

If I am thinking about someone I’m friends with on Facebook, I can go straight to their profile page on Facebook. That way I don’t have to feel compelled to rely on my “home” page to find out on what is supposed to be my social news for the day.

baratunde_fast_company_cover_1200w

I discovered the people I most wish to be like in my circle of friends are the ones who are the least active on Facebook and the most active with their families away from social media.

It’s true; I used to be much more involved with Facebook, as I attempted to be clever and engaging. These days, I suppose I’ve just moved on with my life.

Maybe it’s because this is truly the most settled I’ve felt since getting married.

For the first two years I was married, my wife was getting her Master’s Degree. Then once she received it, she got pregnant with our son.

Next we moved to Alabama to be closer to family and went further into debt; only to eventually move back to Nashville. After that, we had to completely work our way out of debt, other than our mortgage on our townhouse (while I studied for my certification for Human Resources). Finally, we were able tosave up enough money for a down payment on a bigger, more efficient house for our lifestyle.

Now that we’re in our new house, and not in debt, and having more quality time together as a family in our new suburban life, I am experiencing a feeling of completeness I haven’t previously known with my wife and son.

I’m thinking that now, I can just enjoy this new house with my family.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

So I invite you to tune in every Thursday night, when you can catch up with our new simple life. You don’t even have to go to Facebook; you could just subscribe to Family Friendly Daddy Blog by clicking on the button at the top of this page.

As for Friday through Wednesday, you probably won’t hear a peep out of me.

I’m sure certain exceptions will pop up along the way, but they will definitely be the exception to the rule.

But as it concerns my own personal schedule, I’m choosing to unplug from social media now, except for on Thursday nights.

So by default, I will definitely be participating in this year’s National Day of Unplugging on March 6-7, 2-15.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Or maybe the real question is, what’s the best that could happen?

Screen-shot-2013-02-06-at-1.12.58-PM1-669x515

dad from day one: The Role of Control in Life (and What That Has to Do with “Guest Towels”)

Week 11.

You are looking at a picture of our “guest towels”.  If you are one of the 7 (maybe less?) males to actually be reading this, you will be just as confused as I once was to learn that despite their name, guest towels, these are not actually towels intended for guests to use.  Granted, we do have extra towels for when guests do actually stay at our home- but those are in our “guest bathroom” on the other end of the house.  As a guy, who is unable to see any logic in having guest towels in the bathroom attached to our bedroom that are actually only there to look nice and for decoration, not actually for guests to use,  I found comfort in watching many male stand up comics who made a routine out of the same topic.

I am becoming more and more aware of how little control I actually have over my own life; much less my own house.  Because another common topic that married male stand up comics talk about is the fact that they don’t know where anything in their own house belongs: like the mixing bowl, the stapler, and of course, the real guest towels that are actually intended for guests for use.  And now it makes so much more sense why it is so common for the man of the house to spend time in his “man cave”, whether it is his garage, his shop, or even the yard.  Why? Because while in his solitude, he has a sense of control over something on the land he owns or rents.

Jack's first taste of a pineapple.

I’m at a point in my life where I am constantly reminded of what little I actually do control right now.  With tomorrow reaching the 2 month mark of unemployment, the dignity of providing for my family has been surrendered. And without that, I also feel like I can’t control my time (because I feel guilty if I’m not constantly doing something constructive to find a job).  Starting on Christmas Day and ending yesterday (Groundhog Day), after my wife and son went to sleep each night, I would spend an hour or so revisiting my video game past.  I took take the time to go through all 3 Super Mario Bros. games on regular Nintendo, Super Mario World for Super NES, and New Super Mario Bros. for WII,  and beat them without using any Game Genies or Warp Zones (which again may only interest the 7 or less men reading this).  And while there is something seemingly pathetic about a jobless, 29 year-old guy cheering out loud because he beat Super Mario Bros. 3 for the first time in his life; for me, it was a major sense of accomplishment.

I controled those old-school, 8-bit Nintendo games.  And in some slightly true sense, I had control over my time as well.

I think it’s easy to overlook the importance of control in life.  Why is it that if you drive into certain “bad neighborhoods” that the residents stand in the road or take their sweet time crossing the street, knowing that you need to get by?  It’s gives them a sense of control.  Why are there rapists in the world?  Well, the easy answer is “the depravity of man” or “lust” or “an unfulfilled sex drive”.  But to me it’s pretty obvious that their hideous crime is also largely fueled by a lack of control in their own lives.  For more times than I can remember, it seems any time I watch a story on NBC Dateline about a rapist, he was emotionally, physically, or sexually abused growing up.  Some people will do anything for the sense of control in their own life.

So what can I do right now?  What can I actually control in my life at this moment? I can help with the basic needs of my son.  I can control whether or not he gets fed, held, played with, and nurtured.  And perhaps the best part, I can make him do funny, weird stunts to be featured on YouTube.  Because hey, what else am I going to do until I get a real job?

The Blogger’s Ego: The Necessary Narcissism of Writers, Actors, Musicians, and “Performers”

Is the stereotype true that bloggers are a bit narcissistic?  Well, not always.  It’s just true about the ones who are good at what they do.

If you go to Google right now and type in “bloggers are”, the first four phrases that pop up are “…not journalists”, “losers”, “annoying”, and “narcissists”.  Add to that, recently my arch nemesis/frenemy Ben Wilder (who within the past few months declined an invite to publicly wrestle me on YouTube) posted on my facebook wall, “Do you ever post status updates that aren’t blog posts? Seems like your ‘friends’ probably would like to be considered more than a number.”  (Actually, the links show up on my wall, but are not my status updates.)

That’s ironic for two obvious reasons: 1) He also has his own blog named Out of the Wildnerness which feeds into his facebook wall as well, and 2) The reason I don’t often post status updates other than links to my newest posts here on Scenic Route Snapshots is because these posts are my status updates.  To additionally regularly write status updates would, in my mind, truly put me in danger of being narcissistic.

According to Wikipedia, “Narcissism is the personality trait of egotismvanityconceit, or simple selfishness.”  Why do some see that word as an accurate way to describe bloggers?  Like actors and musicians (which unsurprisingly I’ve had my fair share of experience being both), a person who blogs, by the very nature of their hobby/career, must be wired to be “overaware” of their own life and their surroundings.  Socrates is one of the Greek philosophers credited for saying, “Know thyself”.  As for bloggers (along with actors and musicians), perhaps our motto is “Really, really, really know thyself and make sure everyone else does too”.  We have to; in order to be good at what we do so that our audience will find us intriguing, entertaining, believable, and simply relatable.  I can joke about myself being a tad narcissistic, but ultimately, contrasted against mainstream society, am I truly any more self-involved than the millions of other people on Twitter and facebook?

Would I make such an effort to write if I didn’t know that 600 to 1,000 people would be reading it everyday?  Yes, because I started with zero. Would I still write if I knew for a fact that no one at all would be reading it?  Of course not. Otherwise I would just write in a journal and hide it under my bed.  I’m the kind of person that has to have an audience in order to continue doing what I do.

And that is the reason why, that if we bloggers are perceived to be narcissistic, we are still encouraged to continue blogging.  Because despite some cartoonish criticism about our egos, we have an audience whose very presence tells us they appreciate and relate to our writing.  Our writing is based on our lives and essentially, our writing is our lives; though that sounds grammatically incorrect. Actually, bloggers are very similar to stand-up comics, only we are more like sit-down comics.

We assess the quirky situations and patterns around us and share those observations with an audience who hopefully will relate.  Good stand-up comics are funny and humorous in more of a “laugh out loud” kind of way.  Good bloggers are interesting and intriguing; but when they are funny, it’s more of a subtle “laugh quietly to self” kind of way.  Either way, the material that we sit-down comics and stand-up comics write is based on our actual lives.

Stand Up Comic

By blog readers clicking on our websites, they are essentially saying, “Here we are now, entertain us.” Who are we as blog writers to say no?   Even at the risk of being perceived as arrogant and self-centered; at least we have an excuse.

Do I personally think that I am narcissistic as a writer?  Compared to an Amish writer, sure.  But I do believe in the importance of balance in life.  I am very aware of my faults and shortcomings and I’m easily willing to admit them (especially as it makes great writing material); therefore, it’s okay to be very aware of what I am good at.  It doesn’t help that in virtually every post I embed it with several links to things I previously wrote.  Or that I have a “Featured In” page which lets everyone know where I am received the slightest amount of credibility.

We’re obviously living in the age of reality TV as we find much entertainment value in the lives of seemingly normal and “nonfamous” people. Sure, I specialize in writing about the department of “self”.  But the way I look at it, that means that readers are inclined to want to read about “self”.  They find enough of “themselves” in “myself” to relate.  It doesn’t have to be a “selfish” thing to “know thyself”.

So is the stereotype true that bloggers are a bit narcissistic? It took me 832 words to answer that question, so you tell me.

Does Facebook Make Life More Real or Does It Actually Take Away from the Realness of Life Instead?

And is it possible that the facebook world is more of the real world than the actual real world?  And why is facebook noticeably less interesting on the weekend and during holidays?


Editor’s note: Keep in mind that with any of my posts, if you see something underlined, you can click on it to read another one my writings specifically about that phrase, or it may even lead you to a Wikipedia entry, which is equally as exciting.

Like most tricky open-ended questions I propose to world-wide audiences, it depends on the perspective and lifestyle of the person being asked.  But since part of my job as a writer who strives to be unpredictably provocative is to choose a side and stick with it, I have a firm answer for this “there’s no wrong or right answer” kind of question.  Often, the side I choose is the least expected one:  I am typically wired to root for the underdog.  So of course, anyone who reads my writings regularly should correctly assume that every time I will be defending the less popular answer.

Obviously, the overtly “correct” answer is that facebook takes away from the realness of life.  It prevents us from actually going over to each other’s houses and playing Yahtzee like we should.  It keeps us from calling our family members on the phone when we can just read their status update or look at their newest pictures.  Facebook is single-handedly deconstructing what real relationships are all about.  Facebook ironically eliminates actual face time with the people we are close to.  Therefore, the people we are “close to” literally become distant from us.

And while I acknowledge the relative truth in the paragraph above, it’s not the school of thought I am compelled to believe as my own reality.  In my version of reality, facebook actually makes life more real.  If I really want to call a person, or invite myself to drive to their house, I will.  Facebook doesn’t stop me from doing that.  Maybe that makes me old-fashioned.  But for me, facebook actually enhances the relationships in my life.  I often actually have more to talk about with people on the phone or in real life, sometimes because of something that happened on facebook.

Admittedly, out of my nearly 800 facebook friends, it’s safe to say that I literally don’t know who a quarter of them are.  The majority of my facebook friends are not people who know me well enough to have programmed my number into their cell phone number.  But when I propose one of my deep questions like the title of this post, or “what makes a person normal?” it’s often these exact people who are the first to respond.  Interestingly, the people who typically respond to my randomness are not the people I see on a regular basis or even within the past year or two.  (And for the people who I actually do see and talk to on a regular basis, I’m asking these questions to their face and they are answering in person so there is no need to answer on facebook.)

So what does that say about how facebook enhances relationships?  For me, I’d say it completely sustains the friendships which would have likely disintegrated if not for the opportunity to casually engage in a brief, random conversation topic without the commitment ever having to say “hello” or “goodbye”.  But is there any possibility that facebook is actually more of a reality than actual reality? I say absolutely yes.  It just depends on your definition of “reality”.

I have written before about how the time we spend at work is not the real world, but instead a necessary Avatar world or Matrix or lucid dream (reference to Vanilla Sky) that we enter in order to fund the actual real world.  Therefore, the true real world is the “off the clock” reality where we spend time with friends and family, along pursuing our own interests and hobbies.  With that being said, if the real world is largely defined by the people who are who are important to us outside of work (though obviously everyone has some “real friends” at work who supersede both realities), then I have to acknowledge that the interactions I am involved with on facebook are in a sense more “real” than most of the other hours spent each day.

To me, when I jokingly harass my arch nemesis/friend Ben Wilder via a wall comment, or I “like” someone’s picture of them embarrassing themselves, or I send a message to a friend about weekend plans, that’s more real than the four collected hours I spent talking to clients on the phone at work that day.  It’s more real than the round-trip hour I spend in the car driving to and from work each weekday.  For me, true reality is all about the people who mean something to me, whether those people are literally in the room there with me, or 700 miles away but on facebook.

The proof in the pudding for me is when I check out readership trends on this site, Scenic Route Snapshots.  There are typically hundreds of more readers on normal weekdays, compared to weekends and holidays.  That’s because people escape the fake real world (their work life) by playing on the Internet, therefore entering the actual real world.  Ironically, this post was written and ready by Thanksgiving Day, but I had allow for the holiday fallout to settle before publishing it.  Otherwise, it could have gone unnoticed.

Granted, I’m old-fashioned in that I still believe it’s rude to answer your phone or reply to a text message while in the physical presence of friends or family, especially during the middle of a conversation.  It’s a matter of prioritizing your reality.  Your top priority is those who are literally in the room with you.  It bugs me so much when I am making an effort to physically be in the same room as a person but I am second rate to another person they are talking to via text message or smart phone, who is just as real as I am, but isn’t actually there like I am.

So despite making an argument that facebook enhances reality and is actually more real than reality in some cases, I still acknowledge that respect for physical presence should not be forsaken.  Of course I completely understand who so many people feel that facebook takes away from real life, because honestly, the invention of the Internet and facebook is a lot like a modern rebuilding of the Tower of Babel- which is something I’ve noticed and written about before.

Ultimately, facebook is an enhancer of the life that already exists- like the way salt magnifies the flavor of food.  If you are already a social person who has healthy relationships with people in real life, facebook probably adds to the quality of these relationships.  If you are already a person who is not good at corresponding with people who are outside of your immediate circle, there’s a good chance you either ignore those “outsider” facebook friends even more or find them to be the most annoying (though you still haven’t gone through the trouble to delete them).  And if you’re a person who loves Farmville… I’m amazed you broke away long enough from tending to your goats to read this.

Statistical Bonus!

Below, notice the typical drop in the number of views on Saturdays and Sundays, the major drop on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), and the overall drop during the entire week  of Thanksgiving as compared to every other week.  That’s why my catch phrase for this site is “a great way to get distracted from life”- because more people visit here when they want to be distracted, not when they are actually hanging with people in their  true “real world”.

Daily Views on Scenic Route Snapshots

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total Average Change
Oct 25 

676

Oct 26 

747

Oct 27 

885

Oct 28 

695

Oct 29 

749

Oct 30 

809

Oct 31 

701

5,262 752
Nov 1 

652

Nov 2 

823

Nov 3 

910

Nov 4 

927

Nov 5 

835

Nov 6 

612

Nov 7 

588

5,347 764 +1.62%
Nov 8 

817

Nov 9 

766

Nov 10 

889

Nov 11 

741

Nov 12 

642

Nov 13 

552

Nov 14 

621

5,028 718 -5.97%
Nov 15 

732

Nov 16 

1,044

Nov 17 

935

Nov 18 

1,031

Nov 19 

984

Nov 20 

657

Nov 21 

891

6,274 896 +24.78%
Nov 22 

715

Nov 23 

701

Nov 24 

665

Nov 25 

617

Nov 26 

497

Nov 27 

538

Nov 28 

628

4,361 623 -30.49%
Nov 29 

655

Nov 30 

779

Dec 1 

776

2,292 737 +18.25%