On Retrospect: The Beginning

That’s my first header. Why? Well, that came with the theme and I didn’t know I could change it – let alone how!

I can’t remember the answer to this question: Did I start blogging on Blogger or The Sporting News (TSN)? Blogger was my multi-year journey about three friends who rated hamburgers throughout the city. The Cincinnati Burger Guys (past post here) had success in and out of blogging, but various aspects of life caused the team to fade away.

I played various fantasy sports games at The Sporting News (TSN) for multiple years. The games were free and fun. In order to build a community, TSN provided a blogging opportunity for its members. Most of those I list/link as Pioneers in the sidebar are from my TSN days. Unfortunately, TSN stopped their fantasy games and blog hosting – so participants dispersed.

In 2008, Tim (a frequent commenter here) and I would meet for breakfast or lunch. Most of the conversations focused on investments, sports, and politics. Keep in mind, 2008 was an election year in the US (Obama-McCain). I was itching to write again, plus Tim always appreciated by thoughts – even occasionally agreeing. Research took me to WordPress – and in a few months I forged ahead. A Frank Angle was formed – a way of using my name and promoting what I wanted to do – an honest opinion.

The burger blog was for a local audience, and the TSN blog was for a limited community. Beyond posting and hoping for readers, I didn’t know what to expect on WordPress. It didn’t take long to learn that the blogging experience is much more than I anticipated.

My first post was short as I introduced myself and a small bit of blogging philosophy. Although I didn’t mention it, but sports and politics was my primary focus. Not knowing much about building a blogging community, I got followers, visitors, and commenters the old fashion way – hard work. I replied to every comment, visited all visitors (even commenting on their site), and visiting links on other blogrolls.

Reconnecting with some TSN people helped in the early days. Cheers to Tim (Beeze), Mo, Chris, Lester the Legend, and Dave. Even to this day, they surprise me with a pop-in visit. Special thanks to Dave who told me that if someone takes the time to comment, they deserve a thought reply from me. Give them more than a mere thanks for visiting or commenting. That is not only true, but priceless advice.

Slowly (but surely) my blogging community developed. By Dec 2008, I was still interested in sports and politics, but I wanted to post more often to keep my readers engaged and keep building. Branching into other topics widened my readership. Looking at the wide range of topics listed in the Categories, that was a great decision for me.

PS: This is a milestone post: #2300.

Next: The Golden Age

70 thoughts on “On Retrospect: The Beginning

  1. I started something on Blogger and then one day everything switched to a foreign language and since I didn’t understand the language I had no idea how to switch it back. I don’t even remember anymore what my blog there was about.

    At some point I started on WordPress … and it has remained in English!!!

    I appreciate the spectrum of topics you hit on. Your blog is a reflection of you, all of you and your many interests.

    You will be missed around here.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark,
      I didn’t know that about Blogger. Fortunately, I got out of Dodge in time! Sure glad I found WordPress because it has been a great experience – although those pesky WP gnomes have a way of popping in out of nowhere. I anticipate they will want to deliver a final goodbye. Meanwhile, when I first started drafting the final series, going back to the beginning felt natural – and yes – glad I branched out into many topics!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s fascinating to look back at the hows and whys we got into blogging Frank – reading your journey is so interesting. It seems, like in real life, one thing simply leads to another, someone says something and, something happens and suddenly there we are with a blog that involves a whole pile of friends we’ve never met and a whole new community. I’d now have no clue what my first header was or whether I knew it could be changed. The learning curve was huge, that’s all I remember.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Pauline,
      Oh yes – the twist and turns of blogging parallel the twist and turns in life. Definitely a learning curve here – and still much to learn. True that I didn’t know how to change the first header. Probably didn’t know I even had a choice. 🙂 Remember it was easy, after all, I have a past header page! Meanwhile, looking back at the beginning is something that a reflection has to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think we all do, for various reasons, but knowing your writing we are probably in the same boat.

        During Mardi Gras parade season it goes like this. King Cake for breakfast, a po’ boy for lunch and Popeyes chicken for dinner.

        When I’m chasing around photographing, that seems to be my daily meals.

        I also bought an old French-styled king cake which means it’s flat and not circular. It is made with Satsumas (a kind of Tangerine) and cinnamon. Oh God. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Cincy,

    From there to here, and what a ride it has been to #2,300. I remember Blogger, and the memories are not so kind. Its where we started before something really screwy happened that chased us over to WordPress. Best thing that ever happened.

    You, good sir, have been a delight to read, no matter the topic. And your musical finishes, including this one, always provide a brilliant sunset to the conversation we’re been invited into.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marc,
      Fortunately my experience on Blogger was short. Based on what Mark stated, seems I got ahead of the tough times.

      I not only can’t thank you enough for these kind words, but more importantly, what you have meant to me here at this place. Based on the way you write, your praise is extra special.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, Blogger wasn’t memorable.

        You’ve meant a lot to me, Frank. You’ve made me a better blogger and your influence can be felt in so many corners of this blogosphere. It has been a much better place because of people like you.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Like you, I had no clue about this thing called WordPress and learned it through trial and error (still am in fact). But with approximately 76.5 million WordPress.com blogs, there’s a little something for everyone. I recently read that WordPress.com reaches 181 million monthly unique views – and is the 4th most viewed platform in the US after Google, Facebook, and Yahoo. Clearly you did something right along the way judging by your engaged community who have been rewarded with great posts as well as thoughtful respect. Kudos for that, Frank.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I think it’s very rare for people to know exactly how to begin… we all start with a plan in our minds which most of the times transforms in the process. On the rare occasions that the host is an honest writer and open to their audience, you get a successful blog with an audience of friends, a beautiful community, your community, Frank and your blog! 🙂 Needless to mention, I love your musical choice of ELP. Yamas!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marina,
      You are one of my dearest friends – one that I will always cherish. Oh yes – we all start with a plan – and plans are subject to change … and change worked well for me. In terms of my choice of ELP, I kept changing this music for this post, but when this one hit me, it was the one! As always, thanks for your kindness. Yamas! 🙂

      Like

  6. I suspect most of us don’t know what we’re doing when we first begin a blog. Congratulations on reaching post #2300, and for your successful run! (I’ll only raise my cup of coffee to cheers right now since it’s 6:30 AM.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A good history lesson, Frank, and quite a journey for you. I started in 2010 as a French-only toy blog, then moved to WP in ’11, expanded my goals, and have gone forward happily and successfully since, with a few surprising twists and turns along the way!
    Where will we go next?
    What routes beckon?
    I love WP for the connections made between other blogs, discoveries, joys and woes and the spirit of becoming a better human, the lasting friendships to be made in such a diverse community. I applaud your hard way approach to networking, tough work indeed, but the most satisfying way to grow I think.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Vintage,
      Thank you for the kind words. I’m honored. I could reflect without looking at the start. For me, it is an important point of my journey. The connections is probably the most surprising thing of my journey, and that will be parts of the upcoming posts in this final series. In terms of my future, I’ll address that in the finale. People are wondering, but mum is the word! Also, thanks for sharing aspects of your journey!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Looking back on those first years I am relieved they are over …. oh the hard work of building an audience! This must be so difficult for you, Frank, saying goodbye, knowing how hard you worked here over the years. There is one woman who continues to plod on at WP who will miss you. In the small amount of time I have gotten to know you and your blog, I have so enjoyed coming here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AmyRose,
      Building that initial audience was hard – very time consuming. Then toss in the aspect that most bloggers have a short life span. Due to my longevity, I’ve seen a lot of people come and go – and I know I don’t have the desire to rebuild this place. It’s been a great experience, and I don’t want to reach the point where I’m writing for a handful of readers. As far as writing the closing series, it was easier than I thought. Well, I actually drafted them in late summer/early fall. Because of the ease in drafting, I knew the time was right. Drafting the finale was an important test for me. Our time together has been short, but, I can say it has been valuable. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Blogging isn’t what it used to be, Frank, I do admit. My audience used to be much larger and I do not have the time nor the motivation to push to get more people at my blog. I’ve been tossing around for a while to walk away from blogging. There are other things in life that are more pressing and to me more important. I’ll see.
        The ease in drafting is your confirmation that your time truly has come to walk a different direction. I wish you all the very best of what life has to offer you. xo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Meeting interesting minds on blogs still seems like magic to me, and of course you know that your blog has been on my reading table for quite some time now, always a pleasure. When I went to college, engineering was the only choice I had, but in an alternate universe I would have chosen a different path, one filled with a variety of thought and knowledge. Access to such through the internet, blogs, wikipedia, news, and all the rest still seems too good to be true. I can’t help but think, Frank, that you won’t be able to leave the interactive blogging scene cold turkey. Your marvelous Intellectual curiosity must find an outlet! What will it be?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jim,
      I just don’t think that non-bloggers understand the learning aspect nor the draw of interactivity. Oh well, that’s there loss. Interesting that you asked what I will do as my creative outlet – and get this – my wife asked me the same question! In terms of answering that question and quitting cold turkey, well – let just saw that the final post will address that … well, at least somewhat!

      Like

  10. Hey Frank, thanks for the shoutout and for following up on comments. I found that it was the best interaction amongst readers and followers. I think there’s a lot to be learned from blogging, and your objectiveness as well as courtesy to others always stood out. For me, blogging has sharpened my writing skills enough that its allowed me to transition into freelance magazine writing. Not only for the enjoyment of it, but if we gain a learning experience from it, that’s the most valuable thing. I always think back to the early years when we both started at about the same time and see how the internet as well as social media has changed the game on it, too. You bet a heck of a following on here and I’m glad to have followed the journey, too. I’ll be looking out for your final posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • David,
      Always love when one of my Pioneers stops by. When you told me that bit of advice, I grabbed it because it was right in my wheelhouse and philosophy. I’ve tried to do that as much as possible, even at the other end. But, unfortunately, it’s something that everyone doesn’t believe or practice. I know you have a lot of blogging experience on different platforms, so thanks for sharing … and I’m glad you made it to WordPress.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m honored and humbled that you mentioned my tiny part in the creation of your blog. Your journey in blogging is amazing and I thank you for providing the history. WordPress also appears to be amazing. It combined with your creative mind, hard work, and talent for reaching out to people, to bring good into the world. Truly you have made a difference!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tim,
      When I drafted this post, our conversations (particularly at the Original Pancake House) quickly came to my mind. I also recall it took you a while before you actually commented on the blog because you would comment to me by email. Glad you trusted WordPress. .. and thanks for helping me all along this wonderful journey.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This was such an informative blog post, Frank. I didn’t know you’d had such a blogging presence long before I met you. Fascinating. I think it’s absolutely wonderful to know that you’ve been a part of so many different lives via your interests, and sharing about them. You have many interests, and we’re going to miss you. But I’ve been saying that each and every time I reply. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra,

      Glad you appreciate this story. As a person who loves history, I know you will appreciate what I am about to say – everything has a history. 🙂 While reflecting I went back to the beginning, which only seemed logical to me. I would imagine these tidbits are at various places in this place, but at least this post being them all together as one.

      Meanwhile, we go so far back, and we have discovered many commonalities – peas in the same pod. And believe me, I will miss you and the many other kind people here.

      Like

  13. Kinda late to the party for this one, Frank. But I’m positive you don’t mind because you are an understanding, kind and real. And that’s why you have had such a great run with a super following.
    I, too, started at Blogger and went back there not too long ago as I was blogging about blogging 😉 I didn’t encounter any nefarious deeds but just didn’t like the way it rolled. I can’t even tell you how I ended up on WordPress or what circles I travelled in that brought me here. All’s I can say is I am beyond pleased I did. We’ve known each other a mere six years (give or take) but that time feels both long because I feel I’ve known you forever and short because it just flew by.
    Your musical choice was, of course, perfection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dale,
      Wow … another ex-Blogger blogger .. and blogging about blogging. (That was a crazy sentence). Looking back, I can’t recall how I picked Blogger for the burger journey. WordPress is definitely the place – and I would recommend it to anyone.

      As for the song, who knows how many times I changed it – but once this song came to me, I knew it was the one. Thanks for sharing your experience … and I knew you would be here!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I think, as long as you’re writing, it could be on a wall, and it would be fine. Truly. Plus you put it all to music. It’s so clever not to mention, entertaining.

    Every writer who’s ever asked for tips, from Hemingway, to Pat Conroy, to Wendy Wasserstein, all say the same thing, these 3 now penners in the ether. They collectively all say…JUST WRITE.

    You’re the muse making me muse, so to speak. A thin girl’s 2 cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Interesting to learn about your first steps into blogging. I was attracted to your posts about science and religion and how they often are complementary in the big picture! Thanks for often making me think and laugh and learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patti,

      Reflection is a good thing. I remember use connecting (but can’t recall who found who). You weren’t retired yet – then – poof – you vanished for a long time – possibly more than a year before returning – and then we reconnected. 🙂

      The interchange between science and religion was great topic for me. I greatly enjoy it! Off the top of my head, I thinking 60 posts. Believe it or not, I still have more to say there!

      Now about making you “Think and laugh and learn” …. To me, that’s great praise because that it what I’ve tried to do here. Thanks for being part of it!

      Like

  16. Frank, you have posted so much! It shows a dedication and a flow of knowledge and learning that I aspire to. You never write about meaningless things. Also, I do remember a post about the burger posts! I wish you all the very best, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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