Being part of smaller communities

Being part of a smaller community vs something like Twitter has really hit home over the last few months. Whilst I do get a lot of positive interaction on Twitter I also see news and negativity that the algorithms are created to amplify (I don’t want to see this).

I created my own slack (contact me if you want to join in) and am a member of several others and also some Discord and Reddit communities. These are smaller groups where I see the discussion no social media, pretty much exactly what I need right now.

I’m not sure where Twitter is headed but the more I use it the less I like the bits that they are trying to monetise. I’m also thinking would I pay for a subscription based or federated Twitter in the long term. As long as they are motivated by adverts then click bait and the extreme will win over. If you could pay for a non algorithmic Twitter, would you?

Do you need to find your blogs niche?

Finding a niche is what you’re told when reading the “how to build a blog” type posts but for me I just write things I’m passionate about.

I feel that people read my stuff to follow me rather than a particular topic. One day it could be something like this or another day a review of the latest iPhone.

I think of my blog as my own little social media platform controlled by me. I like to share thoughts on whatever comes to mind and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If your only goal is to make money (this isn’t sensible with a blog in 2021 BTW) then being recommended to choose a niche might make sense, constantly re-blogging others articles and chucking ads everywhere but it’s not what being a blogger is about.

It’s up to you what you feel is right but if you’re in it for fun – write about what you want.

Adding Google AdSense to my blog

Adding Google AdSense to the blog is something that I have resisted but along with my new WordPress business account came the addition of more functionality. I looked at what I had done in the past with Wordads (spoiler: it was terrible) but I wanted to give AdSense a go to help bring in some revenue to help me and the site.

I hope this isn’t too intrusive (please let me know if you see anything particularly dodgy) and helps fund the site and maybe some of my writing endeavours here. I didn’t add them everywhere so I’m hoping what I have done is manageable and given I think most of my core readers use RSS you shouldn’t see a change in experience.

Take a breath before you post

Taking a breather before posting something to social media or my blog is something that I’m trying to do more of. I’m trying to be more positive on my outlook and this gives me a chance to ask myself if I really want to post this right now.

This is one of the reasons you maybe notice I’m quieter on Twitter these days but I’m just trying to step back a little so it’s almost read only and a messaging platform to me these days.

My thoughts go on my blog, somewhere that’s mine.

As an aside I’ve become very conscious of the hubris in some top Apple podcasts and dropping almost all Apple or tech focussed ones has helped, I’ll write more on this soon.

I digress, what I’m trying to share is before you post read it back and think about if it’s really what you want to say or are you being driven by an emotion, like I am sometimes. I’ve ranted a lot less lately I like to think and whilst there’s nothing wrong with having a moan sometimes it’s not the default I want.

Should you put habits in your task manager?

Should you put habits in your task manager is a question I’ve been asking myself for a few weeks now. I’ve both used a task manager and habit tracker in the past and I’m leaning towards two separate apps.

This is why.

Overwhelm

I set up my task manager based on a mind map I created, this includes good and bad habits. Problem is check out the number of items in my list each day! I’ll be at least this number and more on my mind every day.

Streaks

Breaking bad habits for me is based on a streak of times I haven’t done it. What’s worked in the past is building a streak then not wanting to break it. A habit tracker is the only way to really do this.

Use two different apps

So, I’ll be removing some of the overwhelm from Todoist and move them into Streaks.

What do you feel about having two different apps?

Job hunting with Apple Notes

Job hunting with Apple Notes is something that kicked off last year so that I could keep a record of everything I had applied for (believe me, you need to keep track of it all). I looked at other solutions maybe using a third party app or using Apple Numbers but I ended up settling as I thought I would on Apple Notes.

First off I created a new FOLDER called ‘Job Hunting’, which would contain all of the relevant notes like interview notes etc…

I then created my NOTE called ‘Job Hunting Diary’ that contained a simple table containing the following columns

  • Date Applied
  • Company Name
  • Role
  • Any follow up? (links etc)
  • Status (date and update e.g. 09/02/2021, been put through to the second stage process)

This note was then pinned, so that it appeared at the top of my notes on whatever device I was using.

This has been great at tracking the various roles I’ve applied for and I use it multiple times a day. There are some downsides around formatting flexibility and sorting (you can’t) but for I like the simplicity of it’s always in sync without me having to do anything.

Focussing (and keeping going) on your own projects

I’ve found over the years that I tend to look over at other creative projects wishing that I’d gained some of their success or comparing myself to others. This often leads me down a path of wondering why I’m bothering but as times gone on I’ve come to accept what I’m doing and looking at them for inspiration rather than making me feel down about my own endeavours.

I’m not sure if a lot of other creative people feel this way but for me it’s been too easy to look over and see what others are achieving whilst in my mind my projects are all failures.

I do my best to keep my head down, figure out which projects I enjoy and focus on those rather than try to emulate others or take on too much.

I think that’s why I settled on blogging after realising I just wasn’t that good at video or podcasting. The writing side comes more naturally to me and I feel pretty open about sharing my thoughts here.

If you know what you enjoy doing then stick to it, don’t worry too much about what others are doing and don’t compare yourself.

Twitter Muscle Memory

Great post by Greg about muscle memory and firing up the Twitter app as a habit, something I have struggled with (and continue to do so). I made the mistake of installing Tweetbot again when setting a device recently and fund myself falling back into the habit of it being one of the first things I fire up when I unlock my iPhone.

I’ve created a tab in Safari on the desktop with the Twitter site and am aiming to delete the Tweetbot app again (app limits don’t work for me!) and see how it goes.

I found that when I stopped having it on my phone I wrote more content for the blog to share my thoughts rather than create a Twitter post about it. In the end my stats went up massively when I stopped posting to social media.

How Sony designed the PS5 DualSense texture

This feature by THE VERGE offers a fascinating look at how Sony approached adding the texture to the PS5 DualSense controller. I’m yet to test one out (I don’t need to write about the stock levels) but as a bit of a Playstation fanboy I find it interesting that they went to this level of detail.

Purchasing a WordPress business account

I’ve decided to invest in a WordPress business plan, something that has been made possible thanks to donations to my blog (a massive thanks to everyone that has contributed).

As an independent writer trying to make something of myself I’ve learned as I went along to be honest but with this extra time I have I’ve decided to use it positively and build the blog up a bit more and take advantage of the features to learn about plugins and a bit more about SEO.

I’m not sure where this takes me at the moment but I wanted to share the latest on where my head is at regarding the site.