I have never met Drew Bennett in person. We had a few opportunities at various conferences but never could quite get the timing down. I have a feeling we’d hit it off pretty well. We not only share the same first name, but so do our wives. (No, our wives are not called Andrew. They’re both called Allison.) He’s also into many of the same things I am like video games, comic books and blogging. I figured who better to be my first male subject to go under the Blog Spotlight than Drew.
Meet Drew from BenSpark
My blog got its name from my last name and my wife’s last name. We started the blog together over 10 years ago before we were married. She also posted about five times and then I pretty much took over. By that time, people had already taken to call me Ben. I was known as Ben Spark all over the web. Other bloggers online called me Ben and especially when I attended conferences.
What I like most about blogging is having a written and visual history of our family. My blog is very much a personal history of our life with toy, tech, app and various other reviews thrown in. I’ve also been taking a photo every single day since April 9, 2005. That is over 2800 straight days not only of photos but of blog posts.
The worst part about blogging is comparing myself to other bloggers. I’ve done a whole bunch of great fun things over the years because of blogging and yet there are times when I see others doing something so cool and fun because of their blogs it is hard not to say, why not me? It is a personal mindset that I have been very careful not to get into because you can drive yourself crazy but also into a wicked funk if you do that. Everyone is working hard to do the best they can with their blogs and we should be celebrating each other instead of feeling jealous or slighted.
I blog for me. I blog for fun. I blog because I enjoy reviewing stuff. I blog to supplement my income a bit. I blog to be able to do some crazy fun things.
I love WordPress. I use that most of all. For my photos I host them on Shuttercal which is a site specifically created for people who post photos every single day. Other than that my verbosity is another tool.
For the first five years my family did not read my blog. They knew about it but didn’t pay much attention to my new hobby. Then my Dad started reading it. I used to travel often and travel can make you a bit cranky especially when it is for work. I traveled for seven straight years and I got very very cranky and had rants on my blog from time to time. This was before I had kids, before I stopped traveling and before I bought a Video iPod. I think that device was the single best purchase for making me less of a crank on the road. But I digress, a bit.
My Dad started reading my blog and there was one post I put up about some moron who was spamming me. My Dad commented that I should calm down. I realized that he had been reading my posts and had just called me out for blowing things out of proportion. It made me think about what I was writing.I became more aware of my tone in posts. I’ve never gotten in trouble for my family reading my blog but I do occasionally get the preemptive warning of “Now don’t post this on your blog” from my Mom. It is ridiculous that she’d even suggest that I’d go blogging about something that wasn’t mine to write about and share. I try to let those comments roll off my back.
Blogging has changed my life. It is something that I do daily and so I’m thinking about it often. Everyone that knows me knows that I take a photo every day. They know that I blog and they know that I review products. During the time that I have been blogging I’ve spoken at various conferences, taken a bunch of trips and been able to participate in so many fun events. I’ve interviewed people from Hot Dog Eating champ, Joey Chestnut to Filmmaker Spike Lee.
I’m now focusing more on the things that I love like games and toys and movies and comic books as I am seeing them all again for the first time through the eyes of my kids. Because of that I’ve worked on more Toy Reviews and toy related experiences in recent years. I love it and hope to continue for more years to come.
I’ve met plenty of bloggers in person. Some of them are my very good friends. I have found those meetings to be great and not at all awkward. We have a common language and set of experiences because of this thing called blogging and that is a great way to bring us together.
I’ve been at this for 10 years. I started with many mom bloggers and was a novelty in that I was a man who blogged. I didn’t become a “daddy blogger” until my daughter was born in 2007. I didn’t embrace that right away either. I was a photography blogger or a review blogger but not so much a Daddy Blogger. Then I embraced the term, met some other dads who blogged and enjoyed it.
I do attend blogger events locally and nationally and am very often one of the few men who attend. I’m sort of a novelty and people know who I am, I like that and am fine in this world that has been dominated by the mom blogs. I still get pitches that say dear mom blogger and even when people know I am a dad I have attended events where my ticket says mom blogger. I let it slide, it does not bother me one bit. I still have a great time blogging and the opportunities have been amazing and plentiful.
We tend to be strong men. We love our families and are secure in who we are. That is what I’ve found coolest about people named Andrew. I’m also the third in a line of Andrew’s that now has a 4th to that line. I’ve got a lot to live up to and a lot to live for in that name.
And be sure to tell Drew that Andrew from Mommy’s Busy, Go Ask Daddy sent ya!