The last pre-web generation

“I am both part and not part of this new generation. I was born in 1988, two years before the development of HTML. I didn’t have a computer at home until middle school, didn’t have a cell phone until I was eighteen. I remember the pained beeping of a dial-up connection, if only faintly. Facebook launched as I finished up high school, and Twitter as I entered college. The golden hours of my childhood aligned perfectly with the fading light of a pre-internet world; I know intimately that such a world existed, and had its advantages.”

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction (Paris Review)

I feel this. I was also born in 1988. We didn’t get online until the late 90’s.

Local news is a public service

“Deep local coverage is as essential as any other public service that local governments provide. Local journalists hold wrongdoers accountable, as police do; they respond in emergencies as surely as the fire department does; they let people know where and when to gather, just like the parks department; and they provide context and knowledge as certainly as the local library does.”

Why taxpayers should pay for local news (Zocalo)

Having moved from Toronto to Durham Region, I’m really missing the depth of local news coverage. The local news site,, is paywalled by Metroland Media.

Alone in the woods, unplugged

Alone in the woods, I did not ache for my phone, did not yearn to be online. Given the freedom to wander, a stack of novels to read and the explicit permission to ignore the news cycle, I read for hours without stopping. My only real distractions were hunger and cold. My heat came from a small wood-burning stove, and keeping the tiny house at the right temperature, it turned out, required the same kind of constant low-level attention as my Twitter feed.

Unplugged: what I learned by logging off and reading 12 books in a week (The Guardian)

I had similar feelings in June during our vacation to Italy. Even though I had my phone, I was disconnected — I only used it as a GPS and as a camera. No email, no social media, no Slack.

Poverty is exhausting

Poverty can be unrelenting, shame-inducing and exhausting. When people live so close to the bone, a small setback can quickly spiral into a major trauma. Being a few days behind on the rent can trigger a hefty late fee, which can lead to an eviction and homelessness. An unpaid traffic ticket can lead to a suspended license, which can cause people to lose their only means of transportation to work.

The $15 Minimum Wage Doesn’t Just Improve Lives. It Saves Them. (The New York Times

I missed out on a lot of hallmark experiences as a kid, like the Grade 8 field trip to Quebec City that everyone took. We couldn’t afford it.

There were similar excursions in high school, but because we didn’t have the money, and the school was responsible for us during the day, we were effectively kept in detention — cafeteria, monitored, not allowed to leave without an escort.

I remember moments where we thought we’d end up homeless because we couldn’t make rent. Our holiday meals came in Christmas Hampers from the local food bank.

Read more…Poverty is exhausting

Endless blog post ideas

Pulling from BuzzSumo’s post on generating blog post ideas:

  • Amazon’s book previews: Look at chapter titles
  • Google Trends: Use the explore option for your subject area
  • Look for variations of your topic areas in hashtag form
  • Conference agendas: Look at the titles of keynote speeches and workshops
  • Google’s “searches related to”: Located at the bottom of each search page
  • Pinterest’s auto suggest: Look at the topics suggested at the top of search results

I like these lists because they get us thinking about other topic sources beyond straight-up keyword research.

Also try searching for questions on Q&A sites like Quora or Alignable (for SMB) that you can answer through blog posts.