Can you believe we’ve had a week of 2014 already? Each Tuesday this year, I’m going to share some of the things I’ve been reading which I have been inspired by or learnt from.

I loved reading this encouraging post on blogging from Carolyn Elliot on Medium entitled “Baby, I make my living from my blog. And you can, too”:

“I want you to know that it’s possible. Because when I was first starting out, I really, really needed people to just keep telling me that it was possible… It’s possible, my dear. You can do it.

I don’t recommend the life of online self-employment to all and sundry. But I do recommend it to folks who love to write and play on social media and who have something they want to offer forth to the world, even if they don’t quite precisely yet know what it is…

I put off getting started just because I didn’t know what I had to say. Pffffffffffffffffffffffffft. That’s the lousiest reason in the world. What I didn’t realize then is that you only discover what you have to say by beginning to say it and being completely willing to sound like a jack-ass along the way.

I like blogging as a means towards figuring out exactly what your creative entrepreneurial offering is because what really is a blog but a collection of essays? And the verb “essay” means just “to try.” An essay is a piece of writing that works towards discovering something not already known. So get started with your essaying. And let me know how it goes.”

I’m regularly encouraging friends and people I come across to just start a blog about their passions – don’t wait until you think you’re ready, just start writing.

Jeremy Keith has a wonderful summary of thoughtful responses to Jason Kottke’s article The blog is dead, long live the blog – and the importance of owning one’s own content:

“On today’s web of monolithic roach-motel silos like Facebook and Twitter, I can’t imagine a more disruptive act than choosing to publish on your own website.

In all likelihood, the independent web will never be able to match the power and reach of the silos. But that won’t stop me (and others) from owning our own words. If nothing else, we can at least demonstrate that the independent path is an option—even if that option requires more effort.

I’m going to continue to publish here on my own website, journal, blog, or whatever you want to call it. It’s still possible that I might lose everything but I’d rather take the responsibility for that, rather than placing my trust in ”the cloud” someone else’s server. I’m owning my own words.”

Seth Godin always has good things to say, including this reflection on the hard work of understanding:

“Sometimes, we’re so eager to have an opinion that we skip the step of working to understand. Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe?

We skip reading the whole thing, because it’s easier to jump to what we assume the writer meant.

We better hurry, because the firstest, loudest, angriest opinion might sway the crowd.

And of course, it’s so much easier now, because we all own our own media companies.”

The Year We Broke the Internet is a long but interesting read – I just wish the article went on even longer to develop the idea further:

“The media has long had its struggles with the truth—that’s nothing new. What is new is that we’re barely even apologizing for increasingly considering the truth optional. In fact, the mistakes, and the falsehoods, and the hoaxes are a big part of a business plan driven by the belief that big traffic absolves all sins, that success is a primary virtue. Haste and confusion aren’t bugs in the coding anymore, they’re features.

At the risk of sounding like the boy who cried click-bait, I’m warning you: One of these days a viral hoax is going to come along that we really should pay attention to, and our guards will be down because we’ve become conditioned to lump all information together into the LOL and #feelings files. And one of these days a fake news story is going to have some serious real world consequences too…”

I’m trying an experiment this year: to not go to news sites (such as the NZ Herald and Stuff) just to see what’s the latest news. If someone sends me a link or I see a link of interest on Twitter/Facebook or elsewhere, I’ll click through but I’m choosing to not browse the sites as a matter of habit. I’ll tell you more about this in another post.

And, let’s finish with a geek-joke: a non-coder discovers the web inspector while on Facebook…

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