I’m a little hesitant to announce this publically, but what they heck? Real Magazine is back.
It’s my latest blog addiction, a blog for teens about faith and life. I’ve worked on teen web sites and magazines for a while now, and I’ve been frustrated that no one has started a teen blog. So I thought I’d suck it up and start my own.
I’m hesistant to talk about it because it just started. It’s not even a week old and it seems premature to be hyping it. I’m also still tweaking the extra pages, still finding typos, and still not satisfied with the logo and design. I’m also going out of town tomorrow so the updates will be sporadic at best.
But at the same time, I want people to know about it. I want teens to read it. So there it is.
I have all sorts of plans for content, including the ‘When I Was Your Age’ column I write for my youth group newsletter, as well as quotes, links, stats, reviews, interviews and all the stuff that makes blogs fun.
I’m going to keep babbling about it if you want to keep reading, but that’s the word in a nutshell. Go check out the newest teen blog.
My only fear with the site is that it will become one of the many millions of blogs started and abandoned. I’d hate to do that again. I really believe in what blogs can do as far as connecting people and being a resource, and I think teens deserve a good blog. Granted there’s no reason a teen can’t read this blog, or any other general or special interest blog–but I think there’s value in a blog just for teens. And that way I can feel free to swear more on this blog.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve spent many fine years working with Brad Abare and Real Magazine, going all the way back to an article I wrote for the print edition in 1997. That work eventually turned into a summer internship, which turned into an online editor position where I helmed RealMagazine.com for several years. But after college, and especially after becoming un- and then self-employed, the web site was just too much work and I stepped back from it. But I’ve continued to work with Brad on several projects, including Church Marketing Sucks, Personality and Center for Church Communication.
I’m thrilled that Brad’s letting me work with the Real site again. We have some big ideas for it, but that’s all they really are at this point: Ideas. I’m hoping Google ads and Amazon referrals will make the site worthwhile, though that always feels like a pipe dream.
If the site takes off I’d love to get some interns working on it. I’ve always joked with my wife that Monkey Outta Nowhere needs some interns. They could sit at the dining room table, answer the phone, and let the dog out. But with Real I might actually have something for an intern to do–besides the dishes.
I think I’m most excited about this (and rambling this much) because for the past few years (since the fall of 2002) I’ve been a volunteer leader with my youth group. When I first started volunteering I still worked with passageway.org, but I didn’t talk about the site much because I didn’t know the teens very well and didn’t want to come off as a self-promoting dork. I always felt like the teens would think I was doing undercover work for passageway.org, jotting down witty things they said when they weren’t looking and coincidentally doing articles on the youth group’s favorite band. (I’ve since learned that the youth group’s three favorite bands seem to be dc Talk, Audio Adrenaline and Newsboys–all of which were big when I was their age. I’m not really sure what that means, but it’s kind of freaky.)
Now I feel like I know the teens a lot better, and they know me. A few might even read this blog–which is scary considering my occasional use of profanity and my habit of writing before I think, but also cool. It’s not like I’ll become Real promo man at youth group–that’s not who I am. But I just think it’s cool to be providing a resource, something geared just for them, that they might actually enjoy. I am realistic about it–not all teens are tech savvy and blog addicts like me. But the possibilities are there. And that’s fun.
When I was in high school faith was hard. I was completely devoted to it and tried to live like a Jesus freak, but it was hard. I’ve learned a lot since then, changed a lot, and I know that transition can be tough. I’m hoping ultimately the site might be something that can help teens with that transition (and be lots of fun).
Our youth group mission is to bring teens to Christ and help Christian teens become Christian adults. I’ve always thought that was the most profound mission, because so many teens fall away from the church after youth group. But if we can help them become Christian adults, then we’ve done something right.
So we’ll see what God’s going to do.