This Is How You Write

When you first start out writing anything it’s daunting. It feels like it’s one of those things that anyone can do, but instantly feels like it’s something you can’t do very well. The reasons it feels like that is a complicated thing to work out but there are millions of people ready to tell you…

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What Is Your Blog?

When I first started writing on the internet it was a weird time. I wasn’t the first to do it, but I did zero research and just decided that was what I wanted to do. Without any clue how to use WordPress, or any CMS of that matter, I would write HTML pages and link…

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Knowing what you are and what you need

Jacob Kastrenakes on Twitters new features:

Direct payment tools have become increasingly important for creators in particular in recent years. Patreon has been hugely successful, and other platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and even GitHub have all launched direct creator payment features.

Growth growth growth. That’s the name of the game in big tech and there is no room for excuses. Instead of developing and building in what your platform offers, the current state of play is stuffing everything that is good about other platforms into your own.

There is nothing inherently wrong with, cough, borrowing features as long as you know what you are and where you’re going. What becomes apparent very quickly is when the borrowing becomes desperate and this seems like one of those times. Here’s Jacob on the second feature Twitter wants to implement.

Groups have been a huge success for Facebook (and a huge moderation problem, too), and they could be a particularly helpful tool on Twitter, since the service’s open-ended nature can make it difficult for new users to get started on the platform.

Whilst the getting paid for your tweets sounds understandable, if a little far fetched. If you needed any more proof that Twitter has no idea what actually makes Twitter different from others, it’s the choice to bring closed groups into an open platform.

Whilst Twitters issues are huge and never ending, and attempts to make it more community based could
be a huge positive step. Groups are not the way to do it. This limits reach, closes open discussions down and separates Twitter into silos that go against its very nature. The constant, always on, and open nature of Twitter is what attracts its users to love it most. It feels more personal than curated posts on other platforms. Twitter doesn’t need to be more Facebook, particularly at a time like this.

Of course neither of these have launched yet, and there is no date for either of these things, so I’m reluctant to make any huge sweeping judgements, but all of the features that seem to come from Twitter just don’t seem like they come from Twitter.

Perhaps shareholders need to see some return and stuffing in features that work in other places is what they demand. Who knows, but they certainly don’t seem to know what Twitter is, or what it needs.

Not Missing The Newsletter Boom

Andy Nicolaides on the new ‘blogging’ in Hey

One of the guiding principles of Hey, to me, seemed to be some simplicity and relaxing of email norms such as inbox zero and the like, so a blogging platform in an email service does, at first glance, seem a bit odd. It is, however, as I said a really interesting approach and idea and it’s something I’d definitely jump on trying if it does every become a shipping product.

Hitting the nail here on the weird dichotomy of the new feature teased by Hey.

It’s both a completely stupid idea, but also one that is very interesting indeed. One of the things I enjoy about my own newsletter is because I write it like an email to all the subscribers and not a blog post like some do.

This new feature in Hey, not yet even announced for users, will allow readers to subscribe to future posts in email or by RSS. Making it not really a blogging option, but instead a really interesting take on the newsletter boom and one I will definitely keep an eye on.

It’s Easy To Blame Facebook

Casey Newton on Facebook and Google vs Australia wrote

It’s worth mentioning that any Australian publisher aggrieved by an unfair exchange of value with Google here could opt out of search results at any time by adding one line of HTML to their website. But almost none of them do because traffic from Google drives significant advertising and subscription revenue to them.

On the news that Facebook blocked all news in Australia after refusing to make a deal, it’s easy to blame the big blue F and move on. Calls for people to delete their accounts once again rung out on, well everywhere. But the fact of the matter is that while there are a huge number of reasons to ditch your account, this issue isn’t one of them.

The banning of news sharing was miss guided and stupid, but this Australian ruling threatens one of the most open principles of the web. The sharing of a hyperlink and it appearing on other websites.

Displaying text, and the huge boxes on Google searches aside. The sharing of links to other peoples content is the back bone of many a website. Where exactly does it end? Do I have to now pay The Verge for writing a link post?

The absurdity of these types of moves that keep big media companies in good stock will now continue around the globe. No doubt Facebook et al will make some stupid responses, but it’s far too easy to blame them for everything when in reality, as pointed out by Casey, this move is exactly the right one for all of us.

What’s Essential To You?

Matt Birchler nailing it once again:

One man’s bullshit is another man’s essential features, but for me, Ghost does away with all the stuff I don’t need and excels at what I do need.

This can be expanded to soooooo many things that people get upset about. I’m the person Matt knows personally and moved to Ghost. While I moved back to WordPress for other reasons a year later I get exactly what Matt is saying here.

So many of the things I wanted from my blog in the form of webmentions and indieweb things are completely BS to most people. But I wanted them so they were essential to me.

Your blogging platform is a tool and will depend on what you want, and what you enjoy using. The most important thing is writing on the things!

Webmentions To Avoid Twitter

Perhaps avoid is the wrong word, but we’ve all felt that annoyance that we opened the app to send a quick tweet and all of a sudden time has disappeared. There are a number of ways to avoid this and the Twitter muscle memory that goes with it, but getting feedback from my blog posts…

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Writing For Yourself And Growth

Chris Hannah on blog growth

That made me think, if money isn’t going to be a significant factor in any decision, and I have no desire to write for a specific audience, then I may as well just write for myself. Then if people like what I write about, then great, and if not then it doesn’t particularly matter.

I’ve been banging on about this for a while, but not taking my own advice (I’m good at that). Still trying to build something that works, still seeking those numbers. When in reality it’s not what I want.

If growth is your game, find your niche and do that, but it seems like a pretty boring writing life to me. I’d rather write what I want, when I want and not worry about it.

Matt Goes Back to the Mac? Sorta.

Matt Birchler on his purchase of a MacBook Air:

Next up is figuring out an angle to talk about this machine, because it’s great and I want to shout about it from the rooftops.

I’m going to use it a bit more than normal over the next week or so because it’s new and shiny. Maybe I’ll leave my iPad for good because of how good it is…but that’s not likely 😛

Matt does these posts every now and again that sum up why he’s done something. And at first glance this post seems like a bash the iPad post. But it does a great job of summing up the reasons for using a Mac – and I agree with all of them.

While the iPad can do a lot of great things, editing video is not one of them. Lumia fusion is ok, but missing so many things that both speed up workflow and make editing much easier. If you make an iPad app you must cater to touch input and that doesn’t work all the time, especially when you have complex features and menus 2>3 levels deep.

I can see a world where iOS and Mac have a lot of cross over but distinctive traits that make them great at specific things. Theres still something holding the iPad back for some things and that’s ok. Let’s not squeeze things into holes they are not designed to fill, but embrace them because of what they are made for.