Introducing Channel 2 (Again…) & The JHN Files: Year #1

In which Channel 2 returns alongside some reflection on the first year of The JHN Files, and a few thoughts about its future.

YET ANOTHER PIECE OF THAT THERE PUZZLE…

Just under three months ago, I introduced Channel 2 to The JHN Files in the form of a podcast providing audio versions of the site’s articles. I put out a few episodes, and enjoyed making them once I’d found my flow — but they don’t exist anymore, at least on the Internet. They’ve been purged from it, doomed to spend the rest of their days on a little black external hard drive marked JHNFILES-1.

Why? Because though a podcast was always part of the idea, Channel 2 was never intended to be just that. It was, in fact, conceived as a video series, and while I thought I’d be okay with putting out a few audio-only episodes before introducing videos later, it turns out I wasn’t. I’m not. The perfectionist in me won that particular internal argument. As a result, Channel 2 will be its complete package from the beginning, even if that beginning is somewhat artificial. (But we’ll ignore that.)

For the few among you who bore witness to the original episodes — or read the article that accompanied the first — the next few paragraphs will be old news, but for anyone new, I’ll go ahead a recap what Channel 2 will be.

Simply put, it’ll be pretty much exactly what it was before: video versions of The JHN Files’ articles will be uploaded to YouTube, whilst audio versions will be available, as ever, on SoundCloud and iTunes. The audio versions will be fairly bare-bones — your basic podcast — but the video versions will feature a few bells and whistles not possible elsewhere.

As before, I will, in most cases, get to work on the Channel 2 version of an article shortly after the article itself is published — except, of course, in those cases in which an article is scheduled some time in advance — but, also as before, I can’t guarantee that there’ll be a Channel 2 version of every article. At this point, I can’t even guarantee that I’ll keep the video versions going. I’m far from being the most comfortable person in front of the camera, and I reckon there’ll absolutely be times when it gets the better of me. Still, it hasn’t yet, so I’ll move swiftly on.

Before I do so in earnest, though, I have to touch again on the origin of the series’ name. As some of you might already be aware, Channel 2 comes from Jurassic Park — shocking, I know! — but more specifically from the scene in which Dr. Sattler sets her radio to the titular channel before heading out to restore the park’s power. As I mentioned before, I like it quite a bit — both because it references Jurassic, and because it provides the perfect sign off:

‘Until next time…’

I won’t, however, be signing off just yet, because today — in addition to being the best day of the year — also happens to mark exactly a year since The JHN Files formally came into the world.

I’ll give those who’ve been following my ramblings for some time a moment to recover from the shock that one of my sites has managed to make it through an entire year without a rebrand…

YEAR #1… AND BEYOND

This time last year — as I write these words (on Tuesday, October 10, if you’re curious) — thejhnfiles.com was just about nearing completion. I was finishing up rewrites of some pre-existing posts, and working on that which would be The JHN Filesfirst. I was nervous — though nowhere near as nervous as I’ve been about introducing this version of Channel 2 — but I was also ridiculously excited. The future seemed bright, full of infinite possibilities.

Did I imagine, then, that the site would be doing a bit better than it is now, that — as it approaches its second year — it would have more reach, more than nineteen likes on Facebook and thirty-something followers on Twitter? Of course I did.

Do I wish it was doing better? Again, of course. But I’m not massively bothered about it anymore; over the course of the year that has passed since launch, my goals have significantly changed.

To be honest, I’ve been thinking about Year #2 of The JHN Files since before the first even began. I knew I wanted to introduce video (and I’ve been wildly fortunate to get my hands on some equipment to make that possible) but I also thought I’d introduce some other things, too — a Patreon, for example.

I thought that, during the site’s first year, I’d establish a flow: a new post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with links to older posts sent out on the days in-between, and recaps of the week’s new stuff each Sunday. I was sure I could stick to that schedule, and that such a steady stream of content would justify a Patreon when the time came.

As a quick glance at the site will tell you, I didn’t quite manage it.

A lot of said not managing it had to do with the fact that I got bogged down again and again in redesigning things. But, somehow, in convincing myself that that schedule was a good idea, I’d also forgotten one of my main reasons for creating not just The JHN Files, but every site that came before it: to have somewhere to write about whatever I want, whenever I want — whether every day, or only once or twice a month.

On top of that — as the year went on and the schedule slipped — the premature anxiety of introducing a platform for people to potentially pay me for a site that might not be updated for weeks at a time (and that will, frankly, always feature content dictated not by the whims of its audience, but by what I feel like writing about at any given time) made me thoroughly uncomfortable, so much so that I pretty much stopped writing altogether.

And so it went. It took me entirely too long to abandon the Patreon concept, but abandoned it I have. I can’t deny that some eventual compensation for all the time I have — and will… — put into this thing would be nice, but making it part of the site itself? As things are, that’d be poisonous, and would, I think, ultimately kill it.

Like I said: my goals have changed. As The JHN Files actually heads into Year #2, things’ll continue to look pretty much as they do today — with a few additions. Either upon publication, or a short time thereafter, articles will be accompanied by a Channel 2 version of themselves, available through SoundCloud, iTunes, or the YouTube channel, which will also play host to the occasional Let’s Play. Every now and then — though I don’t imagine it’ll be very often — I’ll take to Twitch for some live gameplay, too.

And that’ll be how things go.

Admittedly, I’m still struggling with an anxious — and ironically crippling — feeling of needing to post stuff ASAP, the moment it occurs to me, but, as I try to remind myself, The JHN Files is not a news site. In most cases, there’s no need to post something as soon as it comes into my head, and in fact, letting things gestate a little usually makes the final result significantly better.

It’s my hope that this approach will result in a year significantly more consistent than the first. I’m happy with the site, finally happy with the logo and happy with the graphics. From here on out, it’s about making stuff… whenever.

Where will The JHN Files be as it ushers in Year #3? Who knows? As I’ve said before, though, you’re more than welcome to come along for the ride.

And if, during the course of that ride, you stumble upon something you like, please consider sharing it with your friends, followers, or subscribers… whatever the case may be. I don’t want The JHN Files’ social feeds to be like those that constantly shove content in your face; for the moment, I’m going to continue with the approach I’ve been taking: a link when something new goes up, followed by #ICYMI recaps of the week’s postings each Sunday. Unless you put stuff out there yourself, you can’t imagine how much even a single share can help.

But, of course, there are absolutely no obligations: if you just want to be a silent observer, that’s entirely up to you. My foremost hope is that you find something here that you like, or find engaging for whatever reason.

Because, despite my best efforts, I remain a slave to my inner perfectionist, Channel 2 — along with the site’s first Let’s Play — will kick off in earnest this coming Monday.

Until then… well, you know where to find me.


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