There are so many of you now that I have too many friends to write to! Since moving my blog, trimming the fat on my hosting, and posting more regularly the number of sign-ups has almost doubled in two weeks. Which is humbling, and more than a little bit scary.
It has been a hectic two weeks, and one that has been immensely helped by stepping back and focusing on the issues at hand. Namely my wife, suffering with COVID, and looking after my family. Whilst working full time surprisingly I have carved a little time to write amongst all the stress and constant need for me to do something.
I am not sure what has kicked my creative ideas into overdrive and meant that my publishing is hitting one or two posts a day currently, but I am really enjoying it. I also plan to return to videos when the house quietens down and kids return to school, but that may not be for a while yet. So, writing has been a great outlet when in isolation, and for that I am very thankful that you all take the time to read it.
An Ode To The Like Button
When I was hardcore into Twitter the like button was my best friend. It was my default reply to so many things, and I am ashamed to admit it, but became at some points a passive aggressive response to subtweets. It means so many things to users but more often than not it signifies you’ve read something, but don’t actually need to reply.
By turning the favourite button to a like button on twitter. From a star to a heart (remember that uproar), Twitter got one of the best uses out of something that Facebook hit almost straight away. It doesn’t mean you need to save it, it's not your favourite tweet of all time, but you’ve seen it and want to let the other person know.
A way to portray this is missing from some other social networks, or worse turned into something it doesn’t need to be. The like button isn’t support, it’s not boosting the tweets popularity, you just like it. It’s perfect.
Finding A Niche
It must rank pretty high on any guide on “how to grow your blog” or something very similar. Finding something to write about is what everyone looks to do and must be a huge reason why many people stop blogging. However, those thinking that they need to have something to write about and stick to it are wrong.
Admittedly if you find something that feels like your calling and it interests you to a point of excess it can be fulfilling. Allowing you focus more. People may read posts because they are interested in that topic. They follow people, YouTube personalities and blogs because they are interested in the person producing the content. So you don’t always have to have a thing. Or you can just be your own thing.
“You’re Wrong About…”
Me personally, almost everything.
Like everyone I like to think my thoughts are correct 100% of the time. It’s a trait I built up in childhood because of an over inflated ego, but thankfully it’s more under control these days. Now I enjoy being challenged if my thoughts are wrong, or perhaps a bit of healthy debate to understand a different way of looking at situations. Even if it doesn’t result in me changing my stance.
Still, I am still very reluctant to offer up alternatives or push back against anything I see online simply because it can sometime feel like the entire world wants to tell you why you’re wrong. Maybe you are wrong, maybe you’re not, maybe I am?
What Do I Want From The Web
I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I want to use the web going forward. I want to make it work for me and provide the things that I want from it. A statement easily said, but one that needs a lot of thought to work out how to do it.
At different points in the day, I ask the web to be different things for me. Provide communications channels, information delivery and sometimes just plain old entertainment. The web asks nothing in return, but the platforms built on it often ask quite a lot in return for the things you want from it — and it is those things that must be considered in exchange.
What do you want from the web, and what do you exchange for it? It could be attention, it could be a monetary investment, it could be your personal data. These things are not always the price of entry to the things we want to achieve, so getting things straight in your mind can be a useful practice. Only then can you decide if the exchange is worth it.
Motivation To Do Things
A huge percentage of my motivation to do things with my blog, or social things, or pretty much anything nerdy, is related to social media. All it takes is a post from someone about how they use a new tool, or new app, gets me looking into using it. Sometimes it turns out great like my move to Ghost thanks to Matt Birchler, but a sizeable percentage is just a waste of time.
There can be a lot to learn from the way people use their tools, but also a lot of things to consider. Wasting time moving from app to app instead of actually using the app is one of my biggest regrets from days gone by and I now question my motivation, sometimes twice, before jumping ship.
Own Your Content
Barely a week goes by without another reason to own your own content and stop making social media companies more money. Patric Rhone wrote a great post pointing out that ‘Your “thread” should have been a blog post’ and then this week Facebook stopped people being able to share posts in Australia because they don’t want to pay for it.
I see so many companies that only have a Facebook page. Individuals that share all of their photography on Instagram or writing everything on LinkedIn. None of these companies give a damn about you, they just want you to keep feeding their algorithm and make them more money. When push comes to shove, they would rather stop you from doing things instead of paying people for their content.
Own your own stuff and decide what happens to it. You deserve it.
Before I Go
I hope you’ve enjoyed shorter, but more, points in this edition of the newsletter. I write quite a few things that never get published because they are not long enough or don’t really get to the state of becoming a blog post, so this seems like the best way to share them. My aim is to give you something to think about.
This won't happen all the time. Longer things will appear here, and only here, as normal. The logic is for these to be easier for you to digest, perhaps write a link post or two as some feedback for me. I love feedback, so if you wish, just reply to this email to get in touch. Take the best care of yourself my friends.
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