Life as a New Haven Influencer

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Influencer

What motivates someone to start a blog? The fame? The power? The women?

No. For me, it was the desire to carve out a niche outside of the New Haven Independent where we could complain loudly about the fact that the year is 2021 and I still don’t have my bike lane, Doug. Where’s my bike lane, Doug?!

Edgewood Cycle Track
This image is from 2017. Yep. Source: CDM

The power, influence, and lucrative advertising contracts which come along with running New Haven’s most dangerous and powerful blog cartel is merely a happy coincidence.

Yet with great power comes great responsibility. The power to wield incredible influence must be handled delicately. And of course, I must remain humble.

Galadriel

While I’m still working on Netflix rights for Lifestyles of the Low-Income Bloggers, I will use this post to give you a glimpse into the life of a New Haven Influencer.

(It’s me, I’m talking about me.)

A Day in the Life

The other day, I walked into a local coffee shop I won’t name (it rhymes with Bussy Bloffee). Just to get a coffee, like your normal, everyday New Havener.

Cashier: Oh my god do you run the Between Two Rocks blog?
Me: I do!
Cashier: Wow I love it! It’s so funny!
Me: Thanks! I really appreciate that. It makes it all worth it.
Cashier: It’s like meeting a celebrity. You’re like a hotter Rick Moranis.
Me: Wow, thanks, I won’t tell him you said that. Cause we definitely hang.

Rick Moranis
It’s like looking into a mirror

Now, you might think this entire interaction was only spurred because I was wearing a Between Two Rocks t-shirt, and not because someone actually recognized me. You might also think that large parts of this conversation happened only in my mind.

To which I would reply, really, thank you, I also think I am very handsome.

Now, a lot of you have been asking about my skin care routine. The next section of this blog is brought to you by Modern Pizza, who do not sponsor me, but this is kind of an aspirational blog. Maybe they’ll find this and sue me. No such thing as bad press.

So first, I’ll let you know I wash my face most days. What I do is I use the grease from the Modern Pizza Italian Bomb. And let me tell you, my skin does not look great.

Zombie Makeup
Brought to you by the best pizza grease in the world

The Responsibilities of an Influencer

Now, obviously, being an influencer isn’t all fun and games. There is a strict regiment of work, which I do not do.

I need to take photos in front of famous New Haven landmarks. Which I do not do. And I also need to give shoutouts to awesome local brands. Which I also do not do. In fact I think local brands are starting to catch on and just work with people who actually use social media effectively or even post regularly.

For instance, these people from a website I won’t name.

But I do ocassionally get emails from random restaurant brands who are opening in New Haven. They usually go something like this:

Dear Josh,

We’re opening a Fast Casual Mexican/Indian/Sushi Fusion restaurant and we were hoping we could not pay you to provide us free advertising about our restaurant! We would be willing to perhaps offer you a 20% off coupon? Hope to hear back from you! Love the blog, [blog_name], btw!

As you can see, the blog is really starting to take off.

via GIPHY

For the record, I don’t usually take the coupon. I cannot be purchased for less than half off.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

Can I single-handedly destroy the fortunes of a thriving new restaurant?

Uh, yeah, of course. For instance, I noted that though September in Bangkok’s food was delicious, their service the one time I went was actually a little hit-or-miss. And now look at them.

Oh.

Actually, don’t. Just take my word for it. Definitely do not walk by on a beautiful day and see them thriving without me, totally having moved on, starting a new life with a better, handsomer blog. Probably one who posts more than once or twice per pandemic.

But seriously. I am so happy for them. Before them, so many places came and went and they make absolutely awesome food and they probably figured out the service and even if they didn’t it doesn’t matter cause this is New Haven and we’ll take what we can get.

Just like Otaru Sushi. Another Cursed Spot under the Temple Street Garage.

On the other hand, RIP Canditopia. You are too beautiful for this world, and I had to condemn you. (Also, I kind of nailed it on that one).

F

The Dark Side of Being Known

Of course, like anything, there’s positive and negative. Sometimes, being a recognizable micro-celebrity can be troublesome.

For instance, if you ordered a sandwich from Haven Hot Chicken and the owner recognizes you when you go to pick up the sandwich on your bike and comes out and says hi but you couldn’t figure out how to leave a tip using the mobile site so you look like an absolutely cheapskate and I only have a $20 on me and what am I supposed to tip 20 bucks come on.

via GIPHY

And that’s why I can never go back to Haven Hot Chicken.

A Little Too Personal

One of the things I’ve always strived to do both on the blog and the podcast is to be emotionally honest with myself and my audience. I try not to pretend that everything is perfect if it isn’t. (Which, like most humans, it usually isn’t).

I like to give a glimpse into the ups and downs of my own life. I think that’s what makes it work. It isn’t just a place where you read about restaurants. It’s a glimpse into someone’s inner life.

But the thing is, sometimes I forget that, and suddenly I am having a conversation with a near stranger, and they’re like, “Wow so you have pretty bad depression, huh, and tough news about that breakup last year” and I’m like wait how do you know everything about me.

egg power fear hammer
I did a search for “vulnerable” and this was one of the results and it’s so damned hilarious so anyway now it’s here.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Because I put it out there. And I think it’s great. It’s important to connect with people.

But it’s also weird as hell to suddenly being having an intimate conversation with a stranger. Yet I enjoy weird as hell.

The Rewards

At the end of the day, I really enjoy it. Every once in a while, I hear from a nice person who says they love the blog and it really helped them find the best happy hours and develop their alcohol addiction into a deep personal spiral. And in those moments, I could not be more proud of the work I’ve done.

Or someone else tells me they were new in town and it helped them find cool new places to hang out and be a part of the community and it makes me feel warmth for a fleeting few moments before the inescapable dread slowly surrounds me, suffocating my every breath.

So go ahead and smash that like and subscribe button.

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