Monday, September 15, 2014

Five years soon ... time to pack it in?

Sometimes I wonder if this blog has served its purpose. I mean, how many foot riding, bag riding, boozing on the GO, parking nut jobs, self-entitled all your spacers can I profile before it gets, well, boring?

I've been encouraged to take on more of a GO Transit passenger lobbying role, where I sharpen my pitchfork and push Metrolinx for more action on promises made and better passenger etiquette enforcement. But, when you work full time, commute for more than three hours a day, have a family, have an established fitness regime and are a freelance graphic designer/web monkey, when would I find that kind of time? It takes hours to pen a well-thought out letter to submit to the government and who says I speak for everyone who uses GO?

What I would like is more time to be funny. I love digital imaging. I love playing around in Photoshop. I've made so many promises to edit pictures of donkeys showcased here, but I hardly ever follow through because I can't find the time. I've tried bringing a laptop on the train but Photoshop requires using a mouse while you are sitting still - too much rocking for using any of the tools effectively.

As I near the five year mark, I worry this blog has lost its momentum. I don't even know what my audience wants. I got what I wanted, a way to meet my fellow commuters and vent about things we find annoying, but now we're like two bored housewives.

You know what we need? An affair.


Anonymous said...

I think this blog is an important outlet for catharsis for us daily commuters. Frankly, it gives me hope for humanity that we don't have any real-life "chainsaw" incidents on a regular basis since commuting can drive you so crazy sometimes.

On the other hand, you're basically doing an unpaid public service so I understand if you've reached your limit.

doris said...

How does that song go? Please don't go ... don't goooooooo. Don't go away......

If people find the site boring, who cares? Who are you writing it for? Us or you? So we read it, and we read it for many reasons. If you need to go a couple of days writing or posting nothing - so be it. Who are WE to tell you otherwise?

Don't feel pressured to entertain and have you considered making a call for more guest bloggers? I am sure there are lots of readers who would want a turn at the soapbox.

C.J. Smith said...

Guest blogging is always open. ALWAYS. Bring it.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Are you saying "life itself is getting in the way of" your continued blogging efforts?
Not surprising. Living in society is too much responsibility and not enough rewards and pleasures.
And also, not being "subsidized" in some way, you're "pulling your own wagon" most of the time. One can understand your being "burned out".

Sylv said...

CJ, never feel that you have to keep this blog going for anyone but yourself. Having said that, I would really miss it if you did stop.

Anonymous said...

CJ you need to make this fit your schedule and your interests. Perhaps it's time to take a 'back seat' and seek out more contributions. That way you can focus on editing and doing the 'fun stuff'. I started a blog a few years ago and have now handed it off to folks way more capable than me. It has over 100 contributors and many readers. My co-creator is the editor, a role he loves. Me, I'm just a reader now (because I got too busy). You've created something unique and cool and you're voice is an integral part of the 'brand'. Now you have to work out where you want this to go and what your role should be.

Good luck!

C.J. Smith said...

I think I'm just burned out. I never did this for financial compensation and even I did pay myself through ads or what not, the work it takes would be the same.

I have a guest blogger who has been incredibly helpful and more would be wonderful. Of course, I can't pay anyone so that's probably why you're not all falling over yourselves with oodles of text. LOL

But the photo submissions are awesome and I can't thank those of you who do contribute enough.

Anonymous said...

Please don't go. I'll have nobody to send my photos of the LSW troglodytes to. :(

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ and everyone,

I've been a daily reader of your blog for almost 1 year now. I was so happy I found a blog where I could see funny, and unfortunately chainsaw worthy pictures and articles. I've found this site to be an important social platform for everyone who rides the Go. Its like your site brought everyone in the GTHA together and made it easier for us to use it as a platform for transit issues and other such topics. Anyway, I would feel saddened if this blog stopped updating but I would understand your position. Sometimes people need a break or people need to move on. You make whatever decision for YOU and not for others.

C.J. Smith said...

Agreed. I totally agree. I don't think I could give it.

Skin Man said...

Not to break the love in, (which is totally appropriate...I have been on this site 5 days a week since the beginning and would miss it terribly - I don't know how, but could we send CJ some free dinners and what not...although always willing to contribute to the bail money, this would be preferable....I've certainly would pay for this entertainment, but I digress), remember the love note that you did that story end....that was awesome and I think it was an affair.

OMG, I just remember I made the Christmas picture your daughter drew...gets misty, man it has been a long time!

C.J. Smith said...

^ Getting teary. That love letter was what drove me to build this blog into what you see today. I didn't publish every comment but I need to know you guys are happy and are cool with how things are.
What I really miss are the lost and found text messages. GO did a good job at cleaning up their meta data and people aren't as easily fooled.
But there is one exchange I've been meaning to put up. I just have to clean up the transcript.
And do you guys really like reading the emails I get where people bitch about what I do?
I can pick some of the more amusing ones.
Plus there's the heated Instagram exchanges.
I'm just trying to figure out what people enjoy.
I don't need money. I just need to know I'm making the commute more tolerable.

Skin Man said...

As you know I love the emails and text exchanges...I still get a thrill when the browser boots up and there is the exchange waiting for me!

I expect those a great fun for you, (well perhaps not the heated ones), but hopefully its fun for you sharing, b/c its all strawberries and cream to me!

outburst said...

I'm writing this on a bus with about 20 bags on seats. Every morning I want to ask these people if they bought tickets for their bags. You speak for a lot of us, in standing up against poor commuter, PRESTO and GO behaviour and it's exactly your kind of bravery that will help change attitudes. As they say, it's infectious; slowly but surely.
I look at my kids, who know that littering is wrong but seem compelled to drop their trash wherever if a garbage can isn’t around. Change doesn’t happen fast but persistence will eventually pay dividends.
I would encourage you to find ways to lessen your burden. Some of the biggest sites I follow now started out as one-man or woman show and slowly, content creation was opened up to one or two trusted allies until eventually it started running as a well-oiled business. You could always retain editorial control.
Certainly, this shouldn't be a second full-time job.

Mark said...

CJ, if you concern yourself with what an audience on the internet wants you'll ultimately burn out and get fed up. A blog should be a collection of thoughts and posts that interest you, shared with others for them to either enjoy along with you or just move on.

You have not monetized your blog so beyond the feel good factor of your traffic stats ultimately it shouldn't matter how many users you have. I get the feeling the blog was created as a cathartic release. If people read it, all the better.

We all commute, we share angsty stories about commuting but the overarching issues affecting transit impact all of us. You have an effective tool to draw readers to larger issues impacting them.

Write what you want, be it GO stories, personal stories, humour, advocacy whatever. Work on larger pieces and leave the world of daily updates behind or bring on a contributor or two who are like minded and can contribute on topics that you and your readers will be interested in.

Jules said...

you make my commute more tolerable CJ, I love the pictures, your comments and insights. I don't have any complaints, you run your blog as you see fit and what you have time for. I start my day by opening your blog and getting a good laugh. I really hope you don't stop. Along the way you've even inspired me to get healthier, I am now walking daily to my Go Station.

Jules said...

what Mark said ^ I think it works best by you writing what interests you, I've always enjoyed your stories. Take the stress of yourself!

C.J. Smith said...

Thanks Mark. I appreciate the support.

Mary said...

I'm a driver for GO and besides having a laugh at some of the "donkey" pics I find your writing and the subsequent comments very enlightening.
Until I read today's entry from Ali Gator I did not realize that my passengers get frustrated with people loading presto's on the bus. I thought it was just me!
Your blog helps me do my job better, and I would really miss it.
That being said I absolutely understand how living gets in the way!
(said in a little voice) Maybe you could just post something once a week?

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, you speak for so many of us. :)

C.J. Smith said...

All y'all are incredibly sweet. Don't worry. I'll stick around

Skin Man said...

^ Thank the Christmas baby Jesus!

P.S. I love it that GO/Metrolinx staff and contractors read this... way better than the best suggestion box ever!

Anonymous said...

Your blog has caused me to drive more often.

Anonymous said...

Daily GO commute feelings after all these years:

All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, worn out faces
Bright and early for their daily races
Going nowhere, going nowhere
Their tears are filling up their glasses
No expression, no expression
Hide my head I want to drown my sorrow
No tomorrow, no tomorrow

Bicky said...

@Anonymous, Sept. 24, 2:13 pm:

Love that song! And yes, I sang it in my head as I read it.

Glad to read you're sticking around, CJ. Some days, reading this blog is what gets me through the day!