So, what happened to blog of manly, anyway?
I mean, we had a pretty sweet platform. We were second only to Art of Manliness in google searches for topics like “manly”, “manliness,” etc. That’s pretty cool in such a crowded marketplace.
We had hundreds of articles. We had dozens of videos. We covered numerous topics. We had about 10 core contributors and a bunch more occasionals.
We were starting to get out first nibbles of interest from men’s groups looking for us to lead retreats or speak at events. We were almost there.
Then some stuff happened.
I’m not here to blame anyone but myself, so let me just speak straight about how I contributed to the demise of the platform.
- I led a rebranding effort that moved away from our established niche and abandoned the work we had done to build a name and the blog. The editors got together in Pittsburgh, PA, and had an awesome weekend. We ate good pizza, smoked awesome cigars, agreed on a new direction, and effectively killed our momentum. Manly.is, the re-brand, was an awesome idea. But it should’ve been a spin-off, not a platform replacement.
- I confused ego for standards. I’m a damn good writer. I didn’t treat my teammates very kindly for not meeting the standards I had set for myself. I called it editorial standards – and I sincerely thought that’s what I was pursuing. I just wasn’t very self-aware. I spent hours editing and re-writing contributions and developed a pretty sour attitude towards dudes that were donating their time to a vision we shared.
- Early on, I valued growth and momentum over purity of vision and mission. Everyone on the team agreed in a general sense that something is amiss amongst modern men. But that’s as deep as we could all go to achieve 100% agreement. No one will ever feel the same ownership of an organization’s mission as the man who founds it, but no organization can reach its potential without buy in from the key contributors. I didn’t insist vehemently enough on “doctrinal purity”.
- It all boiled over in a series of passive-aggressive, obnoxious posts on our private facebook group wherein I essentially said, “I’m tired of being the only one who cares.” Not only was that not a valid assessment, it’s also ridiculous that the man who founded the website suddenly decides to shirk the responsibility for sustaining it.
It was a poor display of all the things I declared manhood to be. I didn’t see it that way then; I thought I was fighting the good fight for excellence.
Do contributions to a blog require editing? Sure. Does writing skill matter on a platform hosting written content? Absolutely. Is it appropriate to challenge your teammates to improve their craft? Without a doubt.
Can you accomplish all that without being a douche? It’s been done, yes, just not by me. Not yet anyway.
So, why am I writing this now?
There’s a line in the song Shameful Metaphors by Chevelle that goes, “So why then has my life made no sound?” I’m going to be completely honest: I have no freaking idea what that song means. None whatsoever. But that line eats me up inside.
Since blog of manly died:
- I’ve remained married and in love with my wife
- My wife bore me a son; he’s two years old as I write this
- My wife is carrying my second child
- My career has taken off and I’m making more money than I ever thought I would (not a ton of money, mind you, but more than I expected to make)
- I’ve got a good house in a safe neighborhood. I take nice vacations. I have cool stuff
- I’ve got a good, happy, comfortable life
- AND MY LIFE MAKES NO SOUND. Not a ripple. Not a peep.
If I died tomorrow, 50 people might notice and 10 of those might care.
My life makes no sound.
Which sucks because I’ve got a perspective that I’m convinced has eternal significance.
I think it’s time to start making a little noise.