Shanksh for stopping by for my sooperspecial, once every yeartimes STATE OF THE ONION ADDRESS!! Yes!! This is when I say lotsa wordybits 'bout how last yeartimes went, plus some extra wordybits 'bout what is prolly gonna happen this shinynew yeartimes too!! Most 'citing -ist of alls is the fact that my very own MUM plus POP and gonna join in for the first in evertimes!! I am sooper'cited, plus you will see why in littlebits!! So get all comfy and stuff 'cuz this is a doozy, K? K!! ........ now is the times.... here we GO-GO-GO!!
Basically what I am mostly wanting to say to alla you guys is… SHANKSH. Yes. For… everythings. From the basement of my HappyHeart, I luvluvlove you guys. Sooperlots, even. Mirabelle too. She says it allatimes, guys. I am not even joshing. We have lotsa HappyHeartHugs with extra lovings for you guys ‘cuz you put lotsa Happy in our Hearts, plus you say so many soopernice wordybits to us, plus you come visit allatimes, plus you send us letterlopes plus boxalopes plus basically you make everythings we do every daytimes waymorebetter waymorehappier, plus waymorefunner too. Yup.
Okeedoke!! For me, that’s a ‘bout it, guys!! Ha ha!! Yes!! I have lotsa sooperawesome planningthoughts for the 2016times, butt I was thinkingthoughts I would let Mum plus Pop tell you guys lotsastuffs ‘bout what happened in the 2015times, plus what we wanna do for the 2016times too, K? K!! So here is my Mum plus POP!! J J J ………
Hello, everyone!! “MUM" and "POP” here!
It’s great to speak directly to Archie and Mirabelle’s friends. I know that this is pretty unusual; but we really wanted to share our appreciation with you and some of what we are going to talk about would be tough for our Archie to articulate. For starters, we can’t tell you how much it means to us that you take so much of an interest in, and obvious care of, both Archie and Mirabelle. In fact, we are constantly surprised by how emotional we get when Archie and Mirabelle receive your messages and letters and CARE PACKAGES! It is very difficult to describe the feelings we both get when we watch how you interact with our canine kids. It’s a real gift and we are very, very grateful for it.
So… where are we, and where are we going? Well, let’s talk briefly about 2015. It was a tough year for us (Archie’s Mum and Pop) and we are disappointed to admit it. Our biggest regret is that the stress of our professional misadventures in 2015 got transferred to the pups as well. They of course would never complain and loved us unconditionally through the entire ordeal, but it was far from the life that we really wanted to provide them with. Things are much better now and we have good reason to believe we can make 2016 into something wonderful, but we’ve got a lot of work to do to undo what 2015 did to our home front.
Almost one year ago, having unique creative skills and experience, we were approached by a creative company and offered part ownership in the business. We were excited by the prospect and enthusiastically threw everything we had at it for six months. We worked long and hard hours and although that period was stressful and prevented us from doing any of the many plans we had for Archie’s business, we felt that at least we were building something important and securing a solid future for our family. And then that ended. On the eve of finalizing the deal to become full partners, the business owners changed their minds. Yup. And that was not a good day.
Feeling completely taken advantage of, we left that business immediately. It was the right choice for us, but it created a great deal more stress as we were walking away from our only source of income. We had said goodbye to all other income streams six months earlier when we jumped at the chance to join this opportunity, so the rest of 2015 became a scramble and as I say, Archie and Mirabelle were not well insulated from the stress involved.
Thankfully that chapter is now behind us. And the Holiday season, although hectic, was a great treat for us because of the wonderful support for Archie and Mirabelle and all of the lovely cards and gifts that you shared with us. It put a great deal of Happy in our Hearts and helped put us in a much better frame of mind for tackling the New Year.
So… on to 2016... Now what? Unfortunately we are almost a year behind where we had hoped to be. We’re a little beat up and short of resources, but… we are also very excited by what lies ahead, and we are eager to try some new things. Here are the basics:
Good grief, what a headache Facebook has become. We’re sure most of you are aware that last spring Facebook introduced a new algorithm that dramatically changes how things are shared and who can see what in their newsfeeds. This was all orchestrated to successfully set up their ability to sell “likes” and likewise make it much harder to gain “likes” organically (for free). Overnight Archie’s page went from getting 100-200 likes a day to about half a dozen. (!!!) Less now. It took him a year and a half to reach 10K and the following year only yielded him 200-300 more.
Basically if YOU, the friends and followers of public figures like Archie, don’t click the “like” button or leave comments on their pages EVERY DAY, then Archie will disappear on you. His posts will no longer appear in your newsfeed. And what is most maddening is that we don’t think it’s fair to put that responsibility on you. If you want to visit once a week, that’s great with us. If you want to just look, and never click or comment, that’s OK with us too. But it’s not OK for Facebook and it’s making his ability to stay in touch with all but the most active followers a real challenge.
Archie’s multiple-photo style of storytelling is not the kind of post Facebook likes either. Facebook’s new algorithm likes video first, single photo posts second and Archie’s multi-picture posts not very much at all!!
As Archie’s primary platform for communication, this is all pretty disheartening, but there’s no point in complaining. It’s their game/their rules. We can buy “likes”, of course, but bought “likes” disappear quickly because there is most often not a genuine connection between the new person “like” and Archie himself. It seems the people Archie can buy are merely curious, but not really interested long-term, so they drop away quickly. It’s very difficult to admit, but Facebook is no longer a practical place for Archie to grow his following and his business.
There are NO PLANS TO LEAVE FACEBOOK, but we have to diversify and give Archie time to communicate in different places. So… he will be posting fewer times a day and won’t be able to respond to everything the way he has been determined to so far. I know. Archie has said this before!! Responding to everything really is a ton of fun for Archie and its been VERY hard for him to give up because he loves you all so much, but spending so much time trying to please Facebook is trapping him and making it even harder to branch out and do new things. He either stays the course and goes nowhere, or tries something very different with at least the potential to reach and touch many more people.
So Archie will now be posting fresh content only 5 days a week and posting his BACKFLASH materials on the weekends. Like so many other “professional” bloggers, he’s taking the weekends off – sort of. He’s going to use the weekends to start new projects and travel as much as we can afford. And ASK ARCHIE will remain on Monday’s and exclusively on facebook simply because that works best. Despite his interest in moving away from Facebook, Archie still wants as many fresh “likes” as possible because that gives him more influence and creates more opportunities as he appears more and more “famous”, but Archie just can’t do the things he loves to do with you all on Facebook anymore because sadly, Facebook itself doesn’t reward him for his efforts any more.
We’ve fired up the Instagram account again and Archie is determined to do his best to post one photo a day. Instagram is now far better at creating new interest and new ‘likes” on his Facebook page than even Facebook itself, and Instagram is also a great place to grow a following because it still works very similarly to the old version of Facebook, and is generally a much more friendly and supportive platform for cross-promotion.
Another area Archie REALLY wants to expand is on the merchandise front. The teeshirts and hoodies have been great fun, but given the time to develop them, Archie would much prefer creating items that are much more unique –just like he is!! And we are going to pursue those ideas as hard as we can with the resources we have. More teeshirts and regular merchandise will come, but new and more unusual items will be added too. Archie will be making his own line of Archie Brindleton Howdycards and FINALLY… a calendar. Yes!! Long overdue, we know!! The book thing remains elusive. Archie has been approached by a few people interested in his books, but we haven’t been able to get that done quite yet. It would help a great deal of course if he were more “famous” because that makes him a more attractive commodity to publishers, but more so, we think he needs a real mentor in this space and we hope 2016 will provide one that can help get his book line to its feet. We COULD go independent and self-publish, but just as many people say that’s bad idea, so we just need more help to learn the ropes and to wisely choose what the first book might be. No one can agree on that either!! But beyond books and shirts etc. there will be other Archendise items that will truly set him apart, and that will even more perfectly capture his personality and message of relentless positivity. So stay tuned!
Because it’s become so hard for people to find Archie on Facebook, and even more difficult to MAINTAIN that relationship, Archie is going to launch a monthly (to start) newsletter featuring his specialized articles (such as Wacky Facts and Stuff That Helps, Thinkingthoughts, Poetry etc.), a selection of the best stories and photos from the previous month, and other content exclusive to the newsletter. We’ll also use it to launch new Archendise and to give subscribers the ability to pre-order or even enjoy discounts on his products. Most of all, we just like the idea that for as long as you want to receive it, you’ll be able to count on staying in touch with Archie without having to go looking for him.
Facebook is particularly TERRIBLE at storing old postings and pictures. Almost NO ONE can even find old albums, let alone want to navigate them to read the content from days and weeks past. So Archie’s website will continue to be the archive space and also the main platform for special articles and “picturestories”. It’s in Archie’s best interest to drive traffic to a space that he owns because, again, it makes a lot more options very possible (sponsorship?/low-profile ads for products/services he believes in? Maybe. The financial support would certainly help). Very likely most of the content that appears on Facebook from here on out will be links back to his website. And he will continue to build new sections and add more features in an attempt to make it more fun and interesting for his friends to hang out here. If all goes well, we may have a professional redesign in the works as well. Fingers crossed. Again, if Facebook was the same experience it was a year or two ago, none of this would be necessary, but if we want to give Archie his best shot at going new places, we have to break away from the iron grip of Facebook.
During last year’s fiasco, Mum and I got so busy, we had to retire Archie from his therapy dog duties, and although we enjoyed every second of that experience and think very highly of the program, Archie is going to launch his own HappyHeartMissions with a unique spin that will allow him to meet more people so that he can fill even more hearts with happy. What happens when he gets to enjoy meeting someone face-to-face is second-to-none, and we are committed to helping him make more “inthesameplacefriends” in 2016. More on that soon.
Very early on in his public life, it became obvious to both Mum and I that Archie was having a profound affect on people who were dealing directly or indirectly with the challenges of mental health issues, most often that of depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorders. Archie has received an incredible amount of mail from people saying his endless optimism and innocent humor helps them get through very challenging days. The thanks we get for sharing Archie’s story from people who really need a friend like Archie who can love unconditionally and give them a simple boost is by far the most powerful motivator that we have, and we want very much to help more and more people in similar situations in any way that we can. So … we are starting to communicate with people of influence in our area with hopes of helping Archie start his very own charity in support of people suffering from mental health issues such as these. If not a full-blown charity, then Archie has decided to make his Archie Brindleton’s Incorporational Companybusiness (he chose the name) a charitable company that will donate a portion of all profits generated to an existing charity in that space forever and everever.
And that’s about it!! So… onward to better days and many more HappyFunTimes with our handsome gentleman puppy Archie, and his saucy sisterperson Mirabelle in these “shinynew” 2016times. Again, we want to thank each and every one of you for making all of this possible. We are eternally grateful.
Mum & Pop
*If anyone has any questions, suggestions or any feedback you don't wish to share here or on Facebook, feel free to send Archie an email at firstname.lastname@example.org