Ya know, me and this blog have a weird relationship. We don’t see each other for months, and then suddenly I think “I should write everything down” and I come back and start writing again. And there’s another blog post which is me proclaiming that this time, I’m back and so on…
Part of the reason this happens is I never actually manage to figure out what I want to do with this place. I love having a blog, I love the domain name, but yet I find it difficult to keep up. Why? Millions of little things that pop up, demanding attention. One of them is social media, and ironically I read an Atlantic article on it that got me thinking about how maybe reading social media isn’t the best thing for me to be doing.
It’s weird how Facebook and Twitter have wired themselves into our lives. It’s near algorithmic – the “I have free time” flag is set in my mind, and there’s a redirect of my attention to Facebook, to scroll through a load of stuff and see what everyone’s up to. Which is great, as I love keeping up with what everyone I know is doing… but once I’ve scrolled through the photos and posts I keep on scrolling, and scrolling, and… before I know it, the day is gone, and I’m just wondering where it all went.
After reading the Atlantic article, today I had this moment where I just wondered what exactly I was looking for on Facebook. I wasn’t finding any satisfaction, I was just there… after seeing all the stuff I was interested in, carrying on scrolling through increasingly trashy things. I guess that’s why Facebook is so successful, as you get addicted to the little dopamine hits your brain gets from seeing something new, even if it is just “10 Pictures of Cats in Completely Unbelievable Places!”. It’s just like Pavlov’s Dog – occasionally once you see something satisfying scrolling, so you come to associate browsing Facebook with satisfaction, even thought that may only occasionally come.
And in that moment, I realised that scrolling through Facebook and Twitter feeds in my spare time wasn’t doing much for me. I could be out doing things, I could be coding up interesting stuff (which I have been doing recently, trying to learn the ins and outs of the Go programming language), or just all sorts of things which could improve my life over looking at the dregs of a social media feed from which I soon attract more interest.
Which brings us back to this blog… I want it to be so much more. I want to develop it into something that people will like to read, and find interesting. I want to turn it into a project that interests me. It’s going to take effort, but I’ve decided I’m going to set myself a target of writing at least one post a week on code, or cheesy movies, or just general philosophical thoughts about life I’m having. Not politics… tried that when I was a student, and it became whiny garbage I deleted out of disgust a few years back. But when I’m looking around on the net, I see interesting stuff about code, or I watch a movie, or something like that, and I just file my thoughts away, and never really do anything with them.
What I should be doing is putting them here. I want to get a lot better at blogging. I’ve read some absolutely brilliant blogs on software development, such as Scott Hanselman’s blog, or John Sonmez’s Simple Programmer, and I always admire how far those guys have come. There’s a lot of effort and achievement there, and part of that is the fact that they’ve managed to make their site into something people want to see. So that’s my new project: trying to get theanswers42.com into something I’m proud of. Easier said than done… but I’m intending to double down on the “done” part. I live a pretty interesting life, I’ve done some pretty interesting stuff… it’s time to actually get that out there.
So see you next week (or possibly sooner) for… something. Don’t quite know yet, maybe it’ll be about how I intend to come up with a steady pipeline of articles, maybe it’s about something I’ve just seen that day… but we’ll get there. Keep your eyes on the screen, stuff is a-coming!