It’s interesting how little time it takes for a habit to be established. Since starting graduate school again, I have been consumed with reading journal articles, writing research papers, and chiming in on the class discussion boards. Now that the semester is over and I no longer have my course work hanging over my head, I feel like I have nothing to do.
Obviously, I have plenty to do with teaching and preparing for the new member of my family, but in two semesters of work I became so accustomed to having something to work on every waking, free moment of the day, I have found myself with something closely resembling free time.
It almost makes me uncomfortable, especially because it gives me a lot of time to think and dwell on things. Sometimes that is bad, but so far it hasn’t been terrible.
One topic my mind has been coming back to frequently, especially since I started to work on this blog more thanks to the lull between semesters, is the fact I have multiple blogs and websites, sometimes with accompanying, separate social media accounts. Sure, some websites I maintain and operate are for other people or specific business ventures I’m involved in, so those aren’t the ones I’m talking about. I’m talking about the handful that I keep updated that relate directly to me.
Here’s a quick list of the blogs and websites I’m talking about:
- This is the one you are reading right now. I created it to take more control of my blog, which used to be hosted on the free version of WordPress. I also wanted a way to combine my blog with my presence as an author. The plan, though I haven’t done it yet, is to take down www.authortoddvogts.com and point that domain at this site. After all, I already included all of my author information on here. Check it out, if you are so inclined.
- Also, since this domain used to be my professional portfolio site, I moved all of that information here too. You can see any of it by navigating through the menu options of this site. However, I still haven’t moved a lot of my design work into this site . . . more on that below.
- Basically, I wanted to make it a one-stop-shop. All of my social media presences (see a list of those here) even reference this site.
- This one is for my life as a teacher. It gets updated the most. That’s because I post homework to it daily. I do so to eliminate any excuse my students might have about not knowing what we did any given day in class. I also post news stories about what my classes, specifically my journalism classes, are accomplishing.
- Beyond all of that, though, I have set the site up to be a resource. I have information and what equate to syllabi for all of my classes on there. I also have information concerning Project Management, which is a curriculum I wrote for the state, on there so other educators can easily access it.
- This website has its own dedicated Twitter account. That way, my students can follow the account on Twitter and get alerted every time I post homework (I have it set to auto-share any new post so I don’t have to worry about it), and it avoids them having to see all the other stuff I tweet about on my primary Twitter account.
- This one was created as part of a class project during the Spring 2017 semester of my latest graduate degree. It’s actually part of mrvogts.com. I enjoyed posting to it, which I did on a weekly basis. Then, my professor suggested I keep it going as a resource for scholastic journalists and their advisers. I love that idea! I would love to make it into a MediaShift for high school journalism.
- This is the website my wife and I share. We post pictures and insights into our lives. And when I say, “we,” I mean she. My wife updates it on a regular basis. I read what she writes. The arrangement works well.
Do I need all of them?
I don’t know. On one hand, the answer must be “yes” because why else would I have set them up. Of course, I could have set them up as the need for them arose, which I did. Perhaps, though, the necessity of all of these sites has passed. This is why I’m now trying to reevaluate it all and see if I still need them all.
Let’s pick off the low-hanging fruit first. The toddandkendall.com site is basically my wife’s. It’s a non-issue. I’m not even going to worry about it, except to read and enjoy the musings of my bride.
As for newsbytesmedia.com, I like the idea of growing it into more than a class project. I like that idea a lot. I could move it away from mrvogts.com and establish it as a stand-alone site. It could be a tone of fun, and it could even be parlayed into more of a business venture (I’m thinking nonprofit arena, honestly). However, then I would be basically creating a fourth website. I would be going in a direction counter to the idea that I might have too many websites. This one needs more thought and planning . . .
The real crux of the issue seems to be the intersection of toddvogts.com and mrvogts.com. They seem to be rather similar in nature. Both provide information about important aspects of my life. Both provide me a way to connect with others online. And both provide me a platform to write, which is important to my life.
However, the difference is the direction I am pointing my professional life. One site focuses on my desire to be an author and entrepreneur. The other focuses on my desire to be an academic. I love writing novels, which is why I have already published one and have two more completed and awaiting a publisher. I also enjoy being an entrepreneur. I can’t help myself. I struggle to pass up an opportunity to run a business of my own. When it comes to working in academia, though, that is clearly my primary focus at the moment. It’s the entire reason I’m working on this second master’s degree.
I clearly don’t want to give up the part of my life represented by toddvogts.com, at least not yet. But I’m not serving myself well by keeping my attentions so fractured. I’m not saying I am going to stop taking part in any of my ventures any time soon, but I could at least start to get my online presence straightened out. Right?
So, I could set up a “personal” section on mrvogts.com. It could include my entrepreneurial endeavors. I could also include a section about me as an author. I could import this blog into that blog with some adjustments to keep everything organized. I could kill my Teacher Todd Twitter account and only use my primary Twitter account. Then I could point my toddvogts.com domain to the mrvogts.com website (as well as other domains I have pointed here and there).
Yeah. I could do all that. But, I have long been a believer of keeping different streams separate. I like to compartmentalize my activities, which is why I have so many email addresses and calendar. I want to keep things nice and orderly. My mantra has been, to quote Dr. Egon Spengler, “Don’t cross the streams.”
I still stand by that. So why am I even writing all of this? I don’t know. Maybe I truly have too much time to think. At the very least, though, writing this over the course of several days has helped me “talk” through everything.
So, if you’ve made it this far, you are too kind. If I were you, I probably would have given up around the time I got to the bullet points above. I am interested in what you think, though, so if you have any input, send it my way. The conclusion I have reached at this point is to leave well-enough alone for now. Perhaps once I am teaching at the university level, I might need to redirect everything to a new space entirely. That would probably make more sense than trying to Frankenstein two sites into one. However, I might decide having two separate spaces is the best idea too. Only time will tell.
I feel I’m doing something I often do, and that is get too far ahead of myself. I need to chill out and not feel like I have to streamline a part of my life that may not need streamlined just yet.
This was a long post to basically arrive back at where I started. Sorry about that. It did help me, though.
The Portfolio Comment
Oh, and you know how I mentioned something about needing to put my design work into toddvogts.com? I need to have a way to display all my work in one place. That is my goal, even if it might seem like a pointless endeavor to some. Well, I have some ideas about how to pull this off. Obviously I do more than just design. I take photos, write and produce multimedia content. All of that can pretty easily be displayed on the site without much trouble. However, designs (not website designs) made in software such as InDesign aren’t as easy displayed online without using a third-party solution. I have two in mind.
First, Adobe has a product called Behance, which is an online portfolio platform. I’m already a subscriber to the Adobe Creative Cloud, so that would be a natural fit, especially since I could automatically publish design from InDesign straight to my Behance site. Also, Behance is pretty cool. It is a community of designers and photographers. I can’t hold a candle to what they can do, but it would be neat to be rubbing cyber elbows with them. The downside would be this is another account and online presence to manage. If I went this route, I would simply put a link to the Behance site on toddvogts.com so anyone who is incredibly bored could check it out.
Second, there is a service called Issuu. It allows documents to be uploaded. Then those documents are turned into shareable and embeddable, digital pieces. It works great with sharing issues of my magazine and the magazine my students produce. As is the theme, I have a different accounts for different purposes. The one that would be most closely associated with toddvogts.com, though, has no content on it whatsoever. I created the account to be able to follow other publications I was interested in, but I haven’t really used it up to its potential. If I used this service, I could just put a link to my account or I could actually embed each design into a page on my website.
So, again, I have used this post to think out loud. I think I will go with Issuu. Even though most of the design work I have done of late is part of my Teacher Todd life, I am still going to store it within the realm of toddvogts.com. That might constitute crossing streams, but my Issuu account tied to my teaching is used to story documents I want to share with my students and fellow educators. So I think I can justify it.
Again, if you have made it this far, you are truly a saint. You didn’t need to stick with it this far, but I’m glad you did. I would like to say my thoughts on these matters are closed, but I will probably revisit them in the future. At least this post allowed me to work through my thoughts. I thank you for indulging me a bit. You might feel you wasted your time, but this was very valuable for me. Thank you, and, seriously, let me know if you have any thoughts.