Micro-Blogging? Probably Not.

Apologies to the three of my blog followers that got a glimpse of a test post that I tried to do a couple of days ago when attempting to connect my personal blog with the micro.blog service being built by Manton Reece.

I was turned on to the whole “Micro-Blog” idea by Alan Jacobs, who migrated his social presence to his own website through http://social.ayjay.org. His reasons for this (along with many others on the Micro.Blog service) essentially amount to the following:

  1. Twitter has the tendency toward being a cesspool of vitriol and nonsense (I am inclined to agree, though I can’t bring myself to delete my dumb account there).
  2. Micro.Blog’s setup is built to allow users to own their own content. This is important in a time when a small amount of unfathomably large companies not only own what we write and say and produce, but also own the means of production.

There are a lot of cool things that Micro.Blog is doing. They do not allow anyone to see follower accounts, they are promising to never show ads (the entry cost is a minimum of $5 a month, unless you host your micro blog yourself), and the timeline is chronological (i.e., algorithms don’t control what everyone sees). All of this is highly appealing to me, especially after having deleted Facebook and reducing my Twitter presence significantly.

But here’s the problem I ran into when I started to try and set up my own Micro.Blog (and perhaps where I went wrong). I signed up for the service (you get a 10-day free trial), but I wanted to host everything here at cdbaca.org. Now, I’m sure there’s an easy way to do this, but I spent too much time a couple of days ago trying to figure out how to do this in such a way that my Micro.Blog posts didn’t populate in my regular blog feed. I copied and pasted code from other people into my own site files and tried to do all the right things in the admin section of my WordPress dashboard. I couldn’t get it to work.

I’m sure that I just missed some steps, and to be honest, I’m smart enough to figure them out. But after I spent that few hours with no success, I asked myself: Why am I doing this in the first place? What do I care about this new social community? Why do I even want to write short posts in the first place? And on another note, if it’s this difficult for someone like me to do this, what is the likelihood that non-tech people are going to find Micro.Blog appealing?

In all of that, I basically realized that I don’t actually care that much about having a Twitter (or Twitter-esque) presence. I’ll keep my Twitter account for now (although I’m only currently only logging in about once a day for a short amount of time). But the work that I really want to be doing is right here on the blog. I own the content, I control how it looks, and I’m keeping a more consistent writing habit than I have since I was a teenager. My writing will continue to post to a Facebook page that I don’t manage, and to my Twitter account that I rarely see, and I’ll happily manage my personal, digital space in a meaningful, cultivating way.

Something Small Everyday

This, from Austin Kleon, is exactly what I needed to hear today:

It takes time to do anything worthwhile, but thankfully, we don’t need it all in one chunk. So this year, forget about the year as a whole. Forget about months and forget about weeks.

Focus on days.

The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human-made, but the day has a rhythm. The sun goes up; the sun goes down. I can handle that.

I needed to take some time away from my thesis writing and reading — the end of the school year, along with the normal, daily busy-ness that comes with family and work life, led to the need for a little break. However, I’m finding it eminently difficult to get back into the hard work of reading every night. The inertia of the last few weeks is weighing heavy on my will.

So, what’s the solution? Well, I think it’s a perspective-shift. First, I need to actively understand that getting back into the work won’t feel natural or easy. In looking for the path of least resistance, my brain would much rather rewatch The Office than read a book called The Paradoxical Rationality of Soren Kierkegaard. Second, I need to lower the expectations which I have placed on myself I cannot immediately revert back to three hours of reading per night when I haven’t been doing that recently. Instead, I need to use the tactic of simply “one small thing, every day.” Kleon again:

Figure out what your little daily chunk of work is, and every day, no matter what, make sure it gets done.

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. We’re all busy, but we all get 24 hours a day. People often ask me, “How do you find the time for the work?” And I answer, “I look for it.” You find time the same place you find spare change: in the nooks and crannies.

Let’s get back to it, one step at a time.