Procrastinating through research

“In my experience writing books, it isn’t just a “resistance” thing or a “perfectionist” thing or a fear thing, it’s more about research and wondering if you’ve done enough of it. Research becomes your way of procrastinating, because, let’s face it, research is just more fun than writing. (Me, personally, I became a professional writer so I could be a professional reader.)”

Start before you think you’re ready (Austin Kleon)

I feel this. So hard.

My reading queue on Pocket is a mile long. Nevermind the stack of books in my office, the endlessness of my “Read This” tasks in Todoist, or the lists of URLs in Notion pages that, at some point, I need to review and consolidate into notes for future projects and professional development.

Sigh. There just never seems to be enough time.

Chickpeas are so hot right now

“Chickpeas are inexpensive and broadly available, and the global cuisines they commonly appear in are ones that de-emphasize meat in ways that Americans are starting to see as more valuable.”

In the Future, Everything Will Be Made of Chickpeas (The Atlantic)

Can confirm: chickpeas are awesome.

Hummus? Falafels? Buddha bowls? Yes to all of it.

+ Chickpeas were a must-have item in my cupboard, along with frozen mixed vegetables and Uncle Ben’s Fast & Fancy, while I was a broke freelancer.

+ Chickpeas are a staple in vegan recipes, from savoury dishes to sweet desserts. Reducing your meat consumption doesn’t mean giving up flavourful meals. Check out Minimalist Baker for some inspiration.

Gutenberg is more complex because it does more

“I won’t argue that Gutenberg isn’t more complex than the classic editor when viewed at the macro level. It is! But that’s because it can do so much more. It’s the first step in setting up for the long term goal of the project, which will simplify overall site creation and management.”

The Gutenberg Complexity Fallacy (William Earnhardt)

This post is a year old — almost to the day! It feels particularly timely given the State of the Word presentation at WordCamp US this past week.

Matt Mullenweg ran his presentation from a Gutenberg-powered WordPress plugin. He demoed clever Gutenberg implementations for newsrooms and an inline block directory to help with block discovery.

TL;DR = Blocks are the future of WordPress, and I’m all for it.

My blog uses the new block editor. Every new site I create uses the block editor or, if I’m feeling particularly frisky, the Gutenberg plugin.

Fun fact: they’re different! The editor is in core, the Gutenberg plugin is the latest-and-greatest. Features are tested in the plugin before they get added to core.

I’m not alone in my enthusiasm for blocks. The WordPress plugin repo is quickly filling up with new block collections. We’ve gone all-in on blocks at GoDaddy, too.

Rich Tabor (creator of CoBlocks) joined the team earlier this year, and we’re releasing a new WordPress theme crafted specifically for the block editor.

…now we just need more blocks to build with!

Facebook isn’t a community

There’s no such thing as a 2.2BN+ “community” — as the company prefers to refer to its globe-spanning user-base. So quite how the massive diversity of Facebook users can be meaningfully represented by the views of a last resort case review body with as few as 11 members has not yet been made clear.”

Meet Facebook’s latest fake (TechCrunch)

Facebook talks about community but they outsource moderation. In turn, there’s no room for nuance or subjectivity in their content policies, but that’s exactly how a community governs itself.

Facebook — sorry, FACEBOOK — isn’t a community. It’s a database marketing platform. It’s a behemoth repository of personal information with a handful of apps running on top of it to gather more information for the database.

Are FB’s apps useful? Absolutely. But the app users aren’t customers and they sure aren’t a community. FACEBOOK’s advertisers are their customers and, arguably, more of a “community” than the users.

Legible markup and an open web

“Illegibility comes from complexity without clarity. I believe that the legibility of the source is one of the most important properties of the web. It’s the main thing that keeps the door open to independent, unmediated contributions to the network. If you can write markup, you don’t need Medium or Twitter or Instagram (though they’re nice to have). And the best way to help someone write markup is to make sure they can read markup.”

Everything Easy is Hard Again (Frank Chimero)

With the growing popularity of jamstack it feels like we’re returning to legible markup. Old web applets and iFrame widgets make way for pure Javascript APIs.

You’re busy because you have no choice

“If I don’t have time to read a subway ad, it’s not because I’m such an ambitious go-getter. It’s because I’m overworked. It’s because housing costs require a greater percentage of income than they did for previous generations. There’s a difference between busy by choice and busy because you have no choice.”

WORK CRY AGE DIE (TVO)

Post-publish: Reshare, repost, remix

“The idea behind this is simple: Once you press publish on a piece of content there are three things you can do with it to drive optimal results: reshare it, repost it or remix it. Each of these techniques should make up a portion of your distribution engine for every asset you create.”

Content distribution processes (Ross Simmonds)

Emphasis mine. And I agree.

We spend so much time creating the original “thing” — the blog post, the video, the newsletter, the book, the podcast, the presentation, the workshop — and we just let it languish.

So, what if, instead of creating another thing, we do more with what we have?

I’ve talked about this before. I even did a talk on it at PodCamp Toronto this year. Pulling from that, the idea was to get five unique pieces of content out of a single blog post:

  • A written post
  • Visuals
  • Presentation
  • Video
  • Podcast 

Yet, despite riffing on this idea way back in February, I haven’t really put it into practice this year. I’m still chasing new content and new topics.

Guess that’s something else to add to my goals for 2020. 🙂

FriendDA

WHEREAS I possess a bright idea that I am choosing to disclose to you, The Advisor, with the mutual understanding that you are my friend and that you will not screw me.

Termination of this FriendDA can be executed by either party, but don’t be a douche.”

FriendDA

Hat tip to my colleague Chris Carfi for sharing something that came with the FriendDA attached. First I’ve heard of it. And I love it.