So 2017 is in the books. It’s all over. We’ve packed it off and with it we hope to consign at least some of the international controversy it brought with it to the history books leaving us all with a cautiously optimistic eye on the future. I think it fair to say that it seemed a somewhat troubled year internationally. For me personally it has been something of a mixed bag. Let’s have a look…
The Good Stuff!
One of the most exciting things that happened this year is the very site you’re on right now! We started back in April 2017 and since then have grown steadily over the months. It still amazes me that something I pulled out of thin air, a bunch of ideas thrown together with writing and photos, has started to become something tangible. It means so much to me personally to watch this thing I made grow, especially as it involves me and my munchkins getting to see and do cool stuff together!
2. Social Media
Since we started we have built a Twitter following of over 3,000 followers! Now that’s not exactly Kanye or Zoella numbers but I’m always super encouraged to see that number gradually rise. I’ve always been pretty patient about our growth because every day I have great interactions with followers new and old. Because I’ve now spoken to so many of you, it really feels like we’re nurturing a community on here. The majority of those 3,000+ followers are people that really like what we do and like to engage with our content.
We’ve also been slowly but steadily building our other social channels including our Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even our (pretty sparse) Twitch channel. They didn’t all happen in the first week but we tend them carefully and they reward us with steady growth and some really great conversations!
Our YouTube following is still super dinky but the YouTube channel has brought with it my two fine gaming compatriots Optimus Funk and RADxUK (they have human names but these are mostly secret like Daft Punk or Prince). We’ve been videoing and streaming together for ages now and they are two of the many essential supporters of the DadGeek empire. Go check out their own doings at the links below.
4. New Friends
A big part of DadGeek is trying out cool products and letting you know what we think of them. As we’ve evolved it has become clear that our core ‘thing’ is to look at toys, gadgets and subscription crates but over the past 8 months we’ve dealt with all sorts of truly great companies and tried out some amazing stuff. I’m always careful to keep in mind that these companies all took a chance on a small site and trusted us to do our best with their product and we’ve always prided ourselves on doing exactly that.
Perhaps the biggest deal this year was all the work we did with Norton PR. Norton have been kind enough to send us all kinds of brilliant toys to review for which we are deeply thankful.
5. My Family
As a family enterprise I’ve also been immensely lucky to have a great bunch of people willing to put up with all the nonsense that comes with DadGeek, namely my wife and children. Yes they sometimes end up with some cool stuff, but DadGeek isn’t currently a ‘paying gig’ which means I’m often doing stuff in my own time which might sometimes have otherwise been devoted to them.
It can mean more than an ideal amount of time staring at my phone or typing on the computer. Not only have they been amazingly patient and encouraging, they are also the superstars featured in many of our reviews and unboxing videos!
This year I am also glad to announce two new furry arrivals in the shape of Quinn the Kitten and Choccy the Puppy. It’s always a joy when the family grows bigger, even if that new family member keeps nipping me and eating my shoes (Yes, I’m looking at you Choccy).
6. We went places!
2017 wasn’t our most travelled year but we still went to some really cool places. In May, Marc and I went to Retro Revival: The Rivals, a retrogaming festival in Walsall, UK. The best part is… we’re going back this year!!!
We also spent a fair amount of time camping which is something we love to do to get the kids out in the fresh air!
This year I’ve written some pieces I’m really proud of. I wrote about dealing with anxiety and depression, I wrote a positive piece about raising an autistic child and I’ve written a piece about dealing with the loss of a parent.
The most rewarding thing about those is that people have written to me personally to thank me for writing them. I’m still baffled that something I write might touch someone emotionally but when it does, it gives me the confidence to keep going to that personal place and pulling out words.
If I could levy criticism at myself it’s that for a blogger I maybe need to actually ‘blog’ more often. I like to think what I do write is maybe slightly longer form than you’d usually find but it fits in with the overall eclectic nerdy dad experience we have going here. If nothing else I think the future is going to be about wearing many hats and I’m already wearing quite a few.
The Bad Stuff!
I’m lucky that there hasn’t been a lot of bad stuff in 2017 but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
1. Mental Health
This year my mental health took a nosedive and I ended up taking some time off work. I think in a nutshell I’m pulling myself in a lot of directions in an attempt to undergo some sort of fundamental change. In short I need to calm down and be less hard on myself, but for a larger analysis of what went on check out that thing I wrote. I’m now back at work and am lucky to be surrounded by people who are helping me.
2. SEN Parenting
I feel bad having this in the ‘negative’ section and I intentionally post positive stuff about autism parenting but there is no escaping that it can get tough sometimes. Parenting three kids is a huge job in itself but having an ASD child in the mix keeps us on our toes 24-7. We’ve had to do a lot of school stuff that parents of neurotypical kids probably aren’t even aware of.
We had to work hard on getting an EHCP, getting through application panels (something that Mrs DadGeek spent a huge amount of time and energy on) and also dealing with the ups and downs of day-to-day life with a child with specific needs. This year also brought a new element to deal with when Morgan started having seizures at school. They seem to have calmed down now but it’s something we are monitoring.
Thanks to everyone who made 2017 really special. Check back soon for our 2018 plans!
The DadGeek Family