A Gamer Dad’s Worst Fear: No More Gaming

Confession time. While my wife was pregnant, I secretly promised myself that I would never change who I was at my core: A Gamer.

I thought, “Yeah, I’ll be a full-time Super-dad and I’ll do it all! But when the baby and mom sleeps, I’ll still have my time to play games.

Ha…yeah that didn’t work out. As I’ve written in the past, once you become a dad, there are so many assumptions that go out the door.

My naivety coupled with my lifelong relationship with videogames led me to believe that I would be able to do it all.  Little did I know, my relationship with videogames would eventually come to an end.

You see, videogames and I go way back.  From the early days of the Game & Watch Octopus handheld game giving me blisters, to me pouring months worth of hours into Final Fantasy, Skyrim, and Call of Duty – video games have been a big part of my life.

Why am I beaming? SNES for Christmas, that's why
Why am I beaming? SNES for Christmas, that’s why.

It is simply in my DNA.

A little fun fact about me, I actually tried to apply to working at EB Games three separate times in my lifetime, and each time I was unsuccessful. To me, I thought it was a dream job for me, but in hindsight it was probably a good thing that I didn’t get hired: It’s like a diabetic working at Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – not a good combination.

Give it up Dad. Give it up.
Give it up Dad. Give it up.

I wasn’t ready to let it go. In fact, when the baby arrived, I still tried to sneak in a few minutes of Witcher 3 and NBA 2k16 between her naps.

But things felt different. I was playing, but it just wasn’t the same. It could be the weight of the world bearing down on me as a new dad, or it could be that I was sleep deprived.

Gamer Dad and baby
That’s me playing Witcher 3 while my 2 month old naps.

Whatever it was, it just wasn’t the same and I was shocked to believe that I was completely fine with it, but I still wanted to make it work.

You know when someone includes their childhood best-friend in their wedding party, even though they’ve clearly drifted apart? It felt like that, but with video games. Here was my first childhood friend and me desperately trying to hold onto something to keep the memories alive.

Before, I would feel antsy, or even grumpy if I didn’t get the chance to turn on the Playstation for a few days. But now, it doesn’t seem to matter to me anymore if I turn on the system. If you don’t count that week of Pokemon Go, I’ve been gaming free for the past four months. My PS4 and WiiU are no better than Ikea furniture props.

I know there are many dad’s out there who give up hobbies once they have kids, but this was something I never thought I can give up so easily. But it was easy.

Perhaps I knew that in balancing a full-time job, housework, dad blogging, and staying healthy, something had to be sacrificed, and so my childhood friend was let go.

I spend every free minute I have around my daughter when she’s awake, and giving up gaming became a no brainer.

If you were to tell me a year ago that I would willingly stop gaming and still enjoy life, I would think that you were nuts.

Perhaps one day, we will re-kindle our friendship and it’ll just be like old times. But for now, instead of sitting in front of a screen levelling up my character, I watch my daughter levelling up every day right before my eyes.

 

And I have no problem with that as I relish every single moment of it. 🙂

The #NES controller may be my first love in life, but this kid quickly replaced it the moment she stepped into our lives. For the past 8 months video games have been collecting dust and she’s been my go to when it comes to spending any free time I have. That said, she’s still only second to my wife of course. ☺️

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀Ingus (@snappingus) on

building instagram account for dad bloggers

Building a Successful Instagram Account As A Dad Blogger

I’ve been using Instagram for over three years now. I started off posting silly photos of my dog; later I tried to show off my worldly mileage by becoming a wannabe travel photographer; then to a street photographer creeping at strangers; then to foodie who only ate at the same places; and now to guy who posts photos of his baby.

Suffice to say, Instagram has been the manicured and groomed mascot to my online life. So when I finally decided to transform my Instagram persona to a dad blogger, I tried to gather all my years of experience to figure out if there is a secret formula to building a healthy and engaging account.

If you’ve stumbled upon this post, you probably had the same question as me in thinking, “How does a dad blogger like me get more followers on Instagram?” If you’re not a dad blogger, don’t worry, these points are very valid as it can be used for anyone who wants to increase their Instagram engagement.

Face it – as dad bloggers, we’re hardly ever stand a chance when it comes to having a strong Instagram following. Most of us are regular Joes, who do not have nearly as much to offer to the Instagram crowd as the youthful and energetic teens. (Man I sound like an old man.)

In a crowd of dad bloggers, there’s probably only a handful of Instagram Dad bloggers who are the true superstars. But you know what? That’s totally fine, cause what we lack in numbers, we can make up in quality interactions.

I hate to talk about numbers, as my numbers are embarrassingly low still. In fact, I have yet to hit the 1000 followers mark, which in today’s age is pretty basic. However, within the past three months I noticed that my follower count has dramatically improved from 200 followers to now close to 500.

What’s the secret?

Well, for the past few months I’ve employed the following three rules:

  1. Creating a consistent gallery style

  2. Posting genuine comments to similar accounts

  3. Liking and following similar niche accounts

Okay, I’d admit, this is nothing new and I’m sure many of you have already tried this strategy. But if you tried and stick with these rules, I guarantee you that your engagement and follower count will improve dramatically.

 

1. Creating a consistent gallery style

Early on with my Instagram account, I would basically upload a photo I considered “nice.” Here’s how my gallery looked like a few years ago:

screenshot_20160822-003830.png

As you can see, there are some pretty interesting shots, but none of them really follow a consistent theme. You see some photos with borders and some without; some shots with colour, and some without. It’s basically a metaphor of how messy I am as a person.

Visually, this is not appealing, and for a prospective new follower, this is something that they don’t want to see. They’re thinking, “I liked this photo of Red Pandas, but why are there now photos of school buses?”

The main thing here is to post consistent pictures, and more importantly, use a consistent visual style. Fast forward to my gallery now:

screenshot_20160822-002752.png

 

Visually, it looks more consistent. While I still have the occasional shot of food (a dad’s still gotta eat), or a shot of some awesome trees, the style and colour of the photo is still consistent throughout.

The takeaway here is that for new follower’s you want them to know what to expect from your feed, and what they’ll get is a visually consistent gallery.

 

2. Posting genuine comments to similar accounts 

I think our brains now automatically filter out Instagram comments like, “Nice!”, “Cute!”, “Great shot!”, etc. It’s simply not genuine. If you want to get strong engagement for your photos, then you need to do the same for others.

How to take a candid and intimate shot like this one in three easy steps. 1) Pre-make that candid happy dad facial expression. 2) Hold baby high up to your cheek. If your baby likes savoury salty foods use your face sweat to your advantage. 3) Take 30 shots until you get it right. Simple right? ?

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀Ingus (@snappingus) on

If you want to have quality and meaningful followers, then you need to attract them with quality and meaningful comments. Unless you’re The Rock, or David Beckham, you won’t have a hoard of followers liking your photos and following your account. So put in the time and the results will pay off.

Most of the comments I get are from people whom I have developed a rapport with. If someone comments or likes your posts, be sure to take some time to look at their account and comment back.

So instead of using generic comment, really talk about what you liked about their photo, as well as how it relates back to your kid. You’ll find that if you comment thoughtfully, the engagement and following will come naturally.  If you want quality, you have to put in quality. There’s no other way.

 

 

3. Liking and following similar niche accounts

There’s no faster way to attract the people that you want to attract that to like your niche group. So in this case this will be other dad bloggers. This ties in to the previous point of putting in quality, well it certainly applies to liking other people’s content. The more you like, the better you increase your reach.

If your feed and account comprises of people within your niche, you’re more than likely to have your posted shared or commented on, so try to like what aligns with your brand, and you as a daddy blogger.

So there you have it, if you try and employ these three strategies for the next little while, I assure you that you will not only increase your Instagram engagement, but you will also enjoy using Instagram a whole lot more.

Good luck and let me know if it’s worked for you.

 

And also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram as well. 🙂