Learning how to do stuff when you’re approaching your mid-forties can be rather challenging. I remember learning to drive at the start of my 30’s and that took around 6 attempts to cross the line. Since my kids came to live with me, I’ve had to learn how to cook. Or should I say, to provide them with a reasonably balanced diet. They say the moment you stop discovering new things or new practices is the day you’ve given up on life. Which is why this website and my accompanying social media accounts are so vital to me at the moment.
When I started Feck News, I was feeling disillusioned with everything. When you’re in a rut, large and small things take on greater significance, although not necessarily for the right reasons. With disturbing events in Ireland and globally happening at a staggeringly worrying pace, Feck News was my outlet for releasing my inner frustrations. It gave me a focus: to write, to preach about injustices and, occasionally, to bring a little humour into people’s lives. So I used social media to raise a small amount of money to kickstart this whole process.
What’s funny, after only 2 months of Fecknews.com and 6 months of the Facebook page and Twitter account, is how quickly priorities change. I’m still ranting and howling at the state of the world but it’s not affecting me detrimentally as much as it was previously. Primarily this is because I decided to get fit and healthy, a major life decision in itself. From this epiphany, I then created One Fat Irish Dad on social media to document this new adventure in my life.
All of a sudden, I feel a little more optimistic about everything. Yes, there are still things which are going to piss me off royally. Only now I have a channel for that in Feck News. For the brighter, more joyful experiences, I express myself through One Fat Irish Dad. I’ve also learned that people relate more to the human interest elements of Fat Dad than they do the social warrior histrionics of Feck News. And I’m fully embracing this sensation of community, bonding and enlightenment with open arms. In these uncertain times, politically and economically, I realise that people engage better with stories of empowerment and personal achievement. Everyone needs someone or something to lift them out of the daily grind, if only for a few fleeting moments of their day.
This is where the whole educational, self-learning side of my social media efforts are being tested. Here’s what I mean. Writing this or any piece, whilst sometimes challenging in itself, is only the beginning of a process. I’ll post it on the website and then start working out when, where and how to place it on my social media accounts. Now it could be just as simple case of copy and paste the link to a Facebook post and click send but it’s usually more complicated than that.
For instance, I take into consideration the time of day when posting so as to gain maximum exposure. If it’s just a simple Facebook update or Tweet with an image, do I post said image with any stickers or funny pictures/comments attached? At the moment it’s all a head-wrecking minefield. With one major difference. Six months ago I’d be tearing my hair out in frustration at much of this. Now it’s a challenge to be conquered, knowing that it’s all work in progress. Like trying to lose weight and be healthy, I’m not going to achieve this overnight.
Everything at the moment is a voyage of self-discovery. I’m learning something new each day, whether it be how to use a treadmill properly or how to add a smiley, winky face to an Instagram photo. When I review how many people have viewed a particular post on social media, I analyse what interacts better and what needs improvement. Eye-opening really.
I’ll be selfishly honest here and admit I’m aiming to have as many people as possible interact and engage with my story and journey. Call it egotistical of me, but it is very satisfying to feel I’m bringing some light into someone’s day as well as my own. In the past I had visions of being a writer, poet or playwright. These are still possible but social media has brought us a different medium to be creative in. The reach and effect of a creation is more immediate and impacting in the age of the smartphone.
There you have it. This is the “sitting on my fat arse” side of my journey to good mental and physical health. And sure here, if I’m going to leap into the unknown, I may as well do it with a smile on my face. And hopefully on yours too.