Here’s to new beginnings!

We’ve been back in Northern Virginia now for nearly two weeks, and in that time I’ve given the site a full re-design from pretty much the ground up, incorporating some custom design work, an existing WordPress theme, a standalone photo-management tool, and my own patchwork of CSS and HTML to bring it all together. In the past, I’d struggled with trying to make the site work cohesively for all my creative endeavors, but one day it dawned on me that the solution was simple: subdomains. Yes, I know. Tech-savvy(ish) guy that I am, I should have thought of it sooner, but I’d never had need of them despite having access to them all along. So I re-worked the site appropriately, filled in the content, and got my blog-space back, which I’d come to miss having of late.

I expect my blogging topics to vary somewhat, ranging from my professional observations on emerging social media trends and practices to personal thoughts on the usual topics of interest, including creative pursuits, cultural curiosities, the occasional political note, and possibly a religious reference or two. I remain a columnist and blogger for Inside Catholic, so I expect that any larger ruminations on the state of the Church and associated themes will continue to go there, though I may cross-reference them here for convenience. (For example, my latest column on raising children to be critical consumers of media was published today. It’s so nice when I can illustrate a point using a constructive form of self-promotion!)

Something that I’ve continued to struggle with as I developed the concept for how I wanted to proceed here are the complications resulting from the near-total transparency of the digital age. As a professional, I often find myself in work environments that are not particularly compatible, on religious and political grounds, with my own beliefs. That I am now and have always been very open about these beliefs on the web can at times present a dilemma, inasmuch as the possibility exists that it will limit my opportunities or create hostilities in the workplace.

But as a professional working in social media, I’ve always preached honesty and authenticity. Be who you are, because that’s the voice with passion, and the one that will be listened to. When we try to sanitize our online selves for our own protection, we wind up diminishing the very thing that makes us interesting in the first place.

These blurring lines will likely be a theme I continue to explore here. There’s no hiding who we are. Probably best that we just embrace it.

Which brings me back to the varied fields of interest that my site encompasses. One thing I’ve realized over the years is that when it comes to work, I can’t honestly pigeonhole myself as just one thing. I identify myself first as a writer, but I’m also an artist and designer. At the moment, I haven’t crossed the divide from “enthusiastic amateur” photographer to “professional” yet (ie., I’ve not been paid for any work so far) but I intend to remedy that. And perhaps all these interests together explain why I’ve focused my career development on the emerging field of social media. Thanks to the Internet, we are all, to some extent or another, content producers. I happen to be a multimedia producer, and I’d feel entirely too limited if I had to stick to just one thing. It’d be like only using one of my feet, or one of my eyes. I communicate in a variety of ways, and I’m passionate about the process as much as the product. Social media integrates these differing interests and pursuits in a way that allows us all to communicate differently. More holistically. And that’s a space I want to play in.

A final note about the site: there will be bugs. I’m using a free photo viewing application for the “Photos” page, and it takes a little while to load and has an annoying watermark on my pictures where my logo usually goes. It also utilizes an HTML/CSS structure that’s made complete integration with the other pages of the site a bit tricky. I’ll keep working on it, but for now, it is what it is, and you can’t click through to any of the other page sections from that page. C’est la vie. The “Design” section also needs work, but it’s going to take some time. I need to figure out how I want to lay it out, and which gallery options I want to use. Until then, the links on the main page will take you only to a “Coming Soon” page. I didn’t think that section of the site was worth holding up the rest.

If you notice any other bugs, please let me know. Thanks for stopping by.

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