Mange Comments Like Your Content

Justin Tadlock discussing the relevancy of comments:

Commenting on and discussing ideas in an open forum can change hearts and minds. It can lead to discoveries and create life-long friendships — I still routinely chat with people I met through blogs and their comments from nearly two decades ago.

I love comments, but then I don’t really have much of a community outside of friends I’ve met online. Outside a few spambots I have never received anything other than nice feedback or healthy debate. But…

Comments on popular platforms such as YouTube can be an absolute dumpster fire. As someone who publishes videos for my day job I am constantly removing comments on videos that showcase the worst that humanity has to offer.

Ryan McCue, a core contributor to WordPress, said that comments should be a plugin.

I strongly agree with this, the default option for anything on a blog, web, video whatever should be comments off, and you turn them off by default.

Openness when being able to choose a comment provider should also be the de facto stance from all platforms. If I want to move hosts or anything else, I want to take my comments with me.

McCue’s response was to a tweet by Brian Krogsgard, the Post Status creator and editor. “WordPress should have one singular button that says: Turn off all comments and comment displays. This is so hilariously complicated, it’s absurd.”

Comments on WordPress are so far behind where they should be it’s a joke at this point. Dating the way they look and feel is impossible without editing core WordPress files and good luck in understanding what options do what. I spent a good few hours configuring Webmentions as comments and allowing them to be displayed, when it would have been a 2-minute job.

I, the publisher should own the comments the same as I own my content, so making them a plugin would be the perfect move. Don’t even get me started on the non movement of implementing Webmention after 5 years.

Comments should be part and parcel of your life online. However, all roads point to something better. You will get fools, but you’ll get them on social media anyway, but better tool are needed to breathe life back into something so important to the web.

Everyone Falls Down These Holes

Matt Birchler on making a mistake:

And finally, it has been a healthy reminder that the internet can push anyone down a rabbit hole towards believing something false. We all try to be rationale people, and we’re all convinced that what we believe is reasonable and other people are crazy, but none of us are above being pushed into weird (and sometimes dangerous) beliefs with just a few clicks.

I constantly read that people that believe in conspiracy theories or have outlying views on the world are stupid and should know better. If you fall for miss information, or just form your views a bit differently to others then you almost deserve it because you’re dumb. That may be the case for the weird and wonderful, but as Matt points out above its really hard to work out what’s true on the internet.

As much as on the internet no one knows you’re a dog, no one knows your true intent for what you publish. Everyone falls down these holes, and it’s important to remember that.

It’s Easy To Wish For Something Else

The world online would have us believe that everyone else’s life is better than ours. No matter how great the universe is when you look around you, there are always ones that appear better. You can stare at the photos, read the words and watch the videos and never fail pick out things you wish for your own. It’s easy to see positives in others but not in yourself.

Even if the portrayal is far from the truth. Others internet lives are, on the surface, perfect. Everyone else is always living their best life, enjoying things better than your experiences or doing a better job of it anyway. Almost everything appears better on the outside. The grass always appears greener, but the grass is fake.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see — Henry David Thoreau

The surface is an easy place to observe, it’s the place easy for us to understand, free of the complexities that lie just beneath it. We cannot take everything in, there is simply too much information for us to process, so we focus instead on what we wish to see, and when a lot of what we see is airbrushed it’s impossible to see negatives.

This isn’t a new problem, it’s easy to blame the internet, but the internet is full of content others publish. After all, why would you want to show pictures of yourself not in the best light, or having a bad time? What a weird Instagram that would be if the images were what people were actually doing every day. As much as the modern phrase of “it’s OK to not be OK” is spoken, it is not OK to not be your best on the internet.

You can speak of pressure from beauty standards, advertising, and more modern-day worries until you ar blue in the face. The self-fulfilling prophecy is unbreakable, until you realise that this is all fake. It’s easy to see positives, it’s easy to focus on the worries you already have, and it’s natural to see what you want to see.

Your feed is the edited highlights, and so is everyone else’s. Wishing for other lives, other bodies, others income is easy when all you see are the nice bits.

Time To Slow It Down

My daughters toy says this to me every time I hand it to her. Its nighttime based vocal cues and music prods her towards winding down and going to sleep. For how long who knows, but it helps her drift off. I’ve never really paid attention to this until today whilst thinking about the very same things.

I’m not old, but I’m not as fast as I used to be — me to my wife after a run

Whilst trying to up my running millage now the weather is better, I am forever having to tell myself to slow down. My legs are stuck in this weird pace that I can handle for 10k but not for much longer and I have a habit of blowing up with too many miles to go. A lesson I should have learnt by now, but one that doesn’t just stop at running. I also have a sustained habit of tweeting too fast, thinking too fast and hitting projects too hard too soon.

Try as I might, I just can’t slow myself down some times. I haven’t expanded the internal monologue that happens whist running to the rest of my life. It’s a lesson that I have read quite a few times lately and one I needed to add my support too. I have recently been introduced to the GTD tag of “high energy” and this makes perfect sense to me. Don’t go hard all the time, slow down and go hard when you can.

Slow doesn’t mean as slow as possible it just means slower than you might expect. Doing things at the correct pace is one of life’s biggest lessons. That pace is going to be different for different people, and different times of day and hell even different periods of time. We are constantly encouraged to move faster, work harder and fill every waking moment with something that others deem important. When in fact it’s time to slow down, do things properly and maintain them for longer.

When it comes to tweeting, maybe just don’t instead.

What Happens When You Succeed?

Scott Shute on errors with defining success

When we measure our success, it’s often a proxy for how other people view us. Status. Position. Relative rank to the rest of society. This constant comparison is a strategy for misery. The thief of joy. True happiness, real success, comes from developing your own inner strength and contentment.

I have thought about this a lot, particularly when running through ideas and analysing frustrations when trying to turn passion into income. The success of something you do can be very ego lead if you let it run wild. You can lose yourself worrying about stats, and clicks, and money, instead of why you started doing it in the first place.

Taking stock of what success actually looks like is an important step in not only motivation, but also managing projects effectively. You can claim you don’t have goals as much as you like, but everyone knows what they want to achieve from doing something, otherwise you wouldn’t do it.

But the goal doesn’t have to always be a result. Doing things because you enjoy the process, or achieve more from the result than an external rewards is important to understand. Success looks like different things and quite often we get caught up in measuring them wrong — or bogged down in measuring them at all.

Why Highlights Are So Important To My Reading

It’s only a few months since I covered my reading flow. It’s something that has changed a lot in the last year due. Motivated by my desire to take more advantage of the time spent engrossed in a book or catching up on my queue of online articles. This doesn’t matter when and where I am doing this, but one thing I’ve come to rely on is highlighting and being able to read them back.

Only when testing two new upcoming reading apps (super top secret sorry) that are yet to implement highlights that I realised how important they are. Without even thinking I draw my finger across the screen to highlight a specific sentence or passage that I want to remember. When that doesn’t happen, I don’t feel like I am getting the best I can out of this experience.

Many things slide past without needing to be highlighted, but more than a few times I have had to put the article into another app so I can save the highlights for later. I could try to do this with Shortcuts, but there is something about being able to see what you’ve read and which bits are important. Remember how satisfying it felt to bust out the marker and highlight things on your school texts?

These highlights typically end up on social media, lead to alink post or are saved to refer to later. Readwise definitely helps with pushing these into Roam for me, but there are a huge number of ways to read these highlights back and let the information sync in better. If you are thinking about using a service, or creating a new one, highlighting should be top of your list.

Not everything needs highlighting, but everything needs to be able to be highlighted.

All Set Up And Nothing To Show

Zach Phillips on generating work before building a system

A common experience I have as an unbearable software nerd: I get a peek at a system that a prolific person uses to create their prolific output and think “God, Microsoft Word? Are you an animal?”

I then go back to tinkering with my Grand System which has generated nothing yet.

While I do think it’s a tragedy that any person is still using Microsoft Word, I’m looking in exactly the wrong direction.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m blinkered by my life online but I spent this whole post thinking about how this relates to blogging and writing.

Over the years I wasted so much time messing around with my blog that I spent less time putting out posts — and I know others do this too.

That’s not what people come for. Sure a nice blog design makes it easier to read things, but there’s little point if there is nothing to read anyway. The system is less important than the things we put into it, so do that first before worrying.

My Phone Has Moved Out

For at least the last 4 years, each night I have taken off my Apple Watch, and placed it on a charger next to my bed along with my iPhone. So for the time I am asleep, or at least trying to be, my phone is within arms reach on a standup charger.

This helps tremendously as I always have a bedside clock on hand that glows with a subtle bump to the table, and I can be at the mercy of my alarm within a few seconds. But it also means that at any point I can reach over and entertain myself when I should be sleeping.

We’ve all done it. “Just Checking” Twitter before going to bed and an hour disappears as you descend a rabbit hole. Or perhaps you see it light up as a notification comes in, and now you’re fully awake because the supermarket had a great offer for you at 2am. Thankfully I am one of the lucky ones that doesn’t need to be contactable at night, but I’ve only just realised that moving your phone into another room is the way to go.

It was only through pure accident that the realisation hit me. I was ‘between’ phones and having to use an iPhone SE 2016 that relied on wired charging. As such it lived in my separate office for a couple of days until my new one arrived. Meaning everything was left until the morning, the extra effort to get out of bed, cross the hallway and retrieve my phone meant that I just left it alone.

That bit of extra space meant I slept better, felt better and the difference was so stark that despite no longer relying on a charging cable, my phone dock now lives in the other room permanently. I hope it likes its new living space, along with all the accessories that go with it. I still do grab it sometimes but much less than before. I wish I had done this sooner.

Posting To The Internet Is Not Your Job

I’m at risk of starting to sound like a broken record. This strange habit exists in me that I want to do loads of things but just never quite get around to them. I want to make videos, have a podcast, and publish loads of blog posts. The truth is I have no reasoning for wanting to do any of these things though, other than posting to the internet.

There is no desire in me to preserve my life in writing or video. No need to spread my garbled messages with the world. I have no knowledge grater than anyone else on this planet and, in fact, considerably less than most. I just want to do these things, but at points it sometimes feels like my job.

Don’t confuse this with lack of enjoyment. I love doing the things I do, and in many respects that is my motivation. However, giving myself a hard time because I have not fulfilled these desires is not what I am about either. There is a tendency for those like me to beat themselves up for not posting enough. Not producing enough content for the web as if this is our jobs. As if we are placed on the planet to feed the internet with our stuff completely free and as often as possible.

Sure. If it is your job, then carry on! For the most of us thought it’s simply the enjoyment that lasts. There shouldn’t be any bad feelings about what tools you use, what things you like doing or what you get up to. You don’t have to post regularly, or do it a certain way, or cover certain things.

It’s not your job to posts to the internet and it sure as hell shouldn’t feel like one. Feel free to post exactly what you want, as often or infrequently as you want. You don’t have to feel like you need to do anything. The enjoyment of doing it is enough without any pressure.

Show Your Work And The Result

Andy Matuschak about working with the garage door up:

It’s giving a lecture about the problems you’re pondering in the shower; it’s thinking out loud about the ways in which your project doesn’t work at all. It’s so much of Twitch. I want to see the process. I want to see you trim the artichoke. I want to see you choose the color palette. Anti-marketing.

I love reading other people processes. It’s the reason I share some of my own because I think others like it too. It gives me a glimpse into the lives of different people and allows me to adapt my own with practices I think might help.

I also love it when people talk about the things that don’t work. The changes made or the work they did that shouldn’t happen and had to be adapted. It stops me falling into similar pitfalls or gives me other ways of thinking. Sharing thoughts and ideas about the work before the result as it happens also helps me to understand the work and the thoughts that go into building products.

If we can peek behind the curtain we can also understand the decisions made and become closer to the project.

Write About Anything And Everything

I have seen people over the last few days start to wonder what to write about on their blog. Asking questions about the topics they cover and also publishing posts about what they aim to do. It’s great to see more people typing out words and realising that it really doesn’t matter what you write about.

Personal blogs are a strange thing, they are not new, they’ve been a round since pretty much the invention of the internet. For some reason or another they seem to be making a resurgence. Perhaps it’s the increased distrust in the places that bloggers left for, namely social media and others that aim to monetise you without paying you.

It could be a concoction of many reasons. The positive is they are coming back. Sure, they have never gone away for many people, but lots more are opening up to the idea of publishing things themselves. So many great platforms exist now where you don’t need special skills to publish, and you don’t need to brand yourself either.

The need for a name or logo or fancy design is loosing its trend as publishing gains more relevance from your personal experience and your opinions. Citizen journalism has become immensely relevant as people lose confidence in main stream media, but are also becoming more closed off to outside ideas. So more people writing about more things and their personal experience of them can only lead to positive things.

Pick a platform and do it. Let me know what’s going on in your life, the pictures you take, the articles you read and the thoughts you have on them. There are enough publications out there writing news, or reviews or whatever pays the bills. The internet needs your voice, however you see fit to share it. Cover everything and anything and publish it.

Waste More Time

Alan Lightman in his book In praise of wasting time:

We in the “developed” world have created a frenzied lifestyle in which not a minute is to be wasted. The precious twenty-four hours of each day are carved up, dissected, and reduced to ten-minute units of efficiency.

The whole book plays on variations of this quote. Goes around the houses and through various anecdotes to instil in its readers that this notion we have of having to fill every waking minute of life with something is preposterous.

We are all guilty of this, and you can point fingers at all sorts of reasons. Capitalism, hustle porn, marketing and millions of other reasons, but is it time we realise it’s ok to move slow?

It’s ok to not be pushing things forward all the time and not have a side hustle to fill your life. Waste a bit of time and see what happens.