Online is the new normal.

Happy (Easter) Monday.

To steal a line from Torchwood: The 21st century is when everything changes.

We’re going to come out of these Covid-19 lockdowns with a redefined sense of what’s normal.

My hope is that we’ll see support for some form of universal basic income; internet access treated as an essential utility; an uptick in domestic industry; and a renewed appreciation for public healthcare.

My expectation is that small businesses will treat their online presence as a must-have asset rather than a nice-to-have luxury, even if they’re only serving local customers. Retailers will scramble to get their eCommerce storefronts up and running, and restaurants will hunt for affordable solutions to handle deliveries.

A number of larger companies will scale back on office leases as their employees continue to work from home. Remote work and distributed teams will be more commonplace – either as the default, or as a supported option for all new hires.

Remote work isn’t for everyone.

People are singing praises on Twitter to the new WFH normalcy. I was one of them at first, but I’ve come around to acknowledging that spending all day, every day in the same space doesn’t work for everyone.

I had a nasty case of cabin fever for the first couple years of working remotely. We lived downtown in a south-facing high rise condo with an HVAC system that was as old as our building.

The summers were brutal and I hated working from home. I spent an uncomfortable amount of time hopping between coffee shops to escape the heat and claustrophobia. (Shout-out to Jimmy’s Coffee and Krispy Kreme on McCaul.)

Things improved dramatically once we left the city core. From then on I had a dedicated office space, which helped me cleave a gap between work and home.

Things are even better now that we have a house. We’re in a quiet neighbourhood in a suburban town just east of Toronto. I see trees and birds outside my office window instead of a parking lot or office towers.

Work from home only works if your home works for you.

So yes, I can sing praises to remote work, but only because I have the space that allows for it. But it took four years to get here. If we were still stuck in a downtown condo I’d be far less enthused about working from home every day.

Also: We don’t have kids yet, so I’m not hopping in and out of parent mode throughout the day. I have no doubt that this makes a world of difference, no matter how much space you have.

***

New title, who dis?

I updated my Twitter and LinkedIn profiles last week to say “Senior Community Manager” instead of “Content + Community”.

My work hasn’t changed and I’m still a Senior Marketing Manager — specifically a Technical Marketing Manager — but I’m calling out that I’m deep on community marketing.

A community is a connected group of people with something in common. So when I talk about community marketing, I’m talking about participating in, contributing to, and leading those groups.

As with content marketing, success doesn’t come overnight. It’s earned, its’ organic, and there are variables beyond your control. But with the right direction, a sound plan, and a heaping dose of flexibility, the odds tip in your favour.

***

So. Many. Webinars.

I dig that so many community events are pivoting to virtual venues. Heck, I recently wrote a blog post to help folks make the leap. But the bulk of these virtual events are only solving for the presentation component, at least from what I’ve seen in my feeds.

A Zoom meeting by any other name is still a Zoom meeting.

Part of the joy that comes from an in-person conference is having the freedom to participate in other activities that aren’t presentations.

For example: I’m a fan of hands-on workshops and spontaneous hallway chats. I like perusing the trade floor and seeing demos from sponsors and vendors.

We haven’t figured those bits out yet in a professional capacity, at least as far as I have seen. Yet we have Zoom college parties, Zoom game nights, and Zoom Seder. All with a distinct lack of PowerPoint.

Can we start doing professional events that aren’t another webinar?

***

Diving head first into eCommerce.

Most of my experience as a web developer has been with B2B websites. With those sites I focused on building content libraries to demonstrate expertise & credibility; routing potential customers to an intake form; and hooking up some kind of marketing automation software (Marketo, Pardot, HubSpot, et al) to score the new leads.

eCommerce is a completely different beast. I’ve dabbled in a few simple builds using Ecwid and WooCommerce, but I’ve never gone deep on an end-to-end build.

If there was ever a time to brush up on eCommerce, this is it.

I’m also light on first-hand experience with performance marketing. I’ve usually worked alongside someone else who manages ad campaigns. But I want to get that under my belt to better flesh out my marketer skillset.

So I’m on the hunt for ideas on how to brush up on eCommerce builds + performance marketing, all on a tight schedule (my days are full as it is) with minimal fuss (I don’t want to deal with fulfillment & logistics). Any recommendations? Let me know.

***

At home: Kettlebells and broken fences.

Work stuff aside…

A kettlebell was one of our first post-lockdown purchases. I’m falling in love with it. The standard Russian swing, with enough momentum and speed, packs a full-body wallop with a nice blend of cardio.

Now I’m starting to slide down a rabbit hole of kettlebell exercise videos on YouTube. There’s so much you can do with a single kettlebell. I’m starting to understand why Joe Rogan hypes them so much.

We also have an old cedar fence that’s slowly coming apart. At first I was convinced that the whole thing needed replacing. Then I started thinking about reinforcing the existing fence instead.

The price difference? Significant. Some small sense of accomplishment for doing it on my own? Priceless.

Now I just need to wait for those damn gnat clouds to go away so I can do the work without getting swarmed.

Have a great week.

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