Jared White Photo of Jared

Expressively publishing on the open web since 1996.
Entranced by Portland, Oregon since 2017.

Issue #16: 🌐 Second Look at Web 1.0?

Creator Class

The challenges and rewards of being an indie content creator building an audience one connection at a time.

📈 I've never been as popular on Twitter as I am right now. It's literally making money for me in the form of organic advertising for my services and products. This is the stuff of creators' dreams, right?

Simultaneously, I've never been as nervous about social media self-destructing and taking us all down with it as I am right now. 🥺

The absolute bonkers looniness swirling around Elon Musk's yes-no-yes-no-yes? takeover attempt of Twitter shows no signs of slowing.

Meta is a dumpster fire. I can literally pull up satellite images of Menlo Park and see the smoke rising. (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration…)

TikTok is at the height of its popularity right now with room to grow, but serious questions about its use of user data, OS-level privacy, long-term effects on mental health (like Instagram), and connection to bad actors on the global stage remain troublesome. (I personally find the product abhorant and will never use it.)

YouTube remains sort-of-OK-not-too-horrible mainly by sticking to its tried-and-true formula. Other than Shorts which I completely ignore, the YouTube viewing / uploading experience seems much the same as it was years ago. Even CaseyNeistat is back and vlogging in NYC, and everyone is feeling that blessed wave of nostalgia. In today's fractious media landscape, I find it somewhat refreshing.

🤪 All this to say, I am done expecting social media to clean house any time soon. It's a f****** mess.

😃 Thankfully, there are other technologies you can use to publish your own content which remain as useful and relevant today as they were 20 years ago. I'm talking about:

  • Blogs. If you don't have one yet, what are you waiting for? The best time to start a blog was yesterday. The next best time is now.
  • Podcasts. Oddly enough, the open format of the podcast remains as viable now as its ever been, and attempts by certain companies with ill-intent (*cough* Spotify *cough*) don't seem to have had much of an effect—at least not in any circles I swim in. If you have something to say, say it on a podcast.
  • Newsletters. I actually have a bit of a bone to pick with the state of newsletters right now—particularly the community of Substack. It feels like every time I see a link to a Substack newsletter, I end up wading through a massive screed that will take me an hour to finish. I simply don't have that kind of time! 😂 So here's my hot take: newsletters should be SHORT, EASILY READABLE, and largely link to EXISTING BLOG CONTENT. I'm just not going to read your lengthy newsletter in my email app. But if it's concise, to the point, and contains interesting links to elsewhere on the web? Absolutely.

I'll also mention—if you're into photography—that I'm very bullish on Glass. (And I am indeed on Glass!) Yes, it's a proprietary platform. Yes, you have to pay for it. But that's actually a good thing. It's far-ar-ar better to be a legitimate customer of a proprietary platform (I include Discord in this category as well, plus YouTube if you're a Premium subscriber) than use "free" ad-supported stuff, because then the incentives are actually aligned. Glass, Discord, etc. have one goal: make you happy so you keep paying for the product. Twitter, Facebook, etc. have one goal: make advertisers happy so they keep paying for the product (your eyeballs).

My new workflow is to post photos on Glass (through their excellent iPhone app), then import them into my own blog. Yes, it's a manual technical process at the moment (scraping their HTML essentially), but hopefully they release an official API soon.

📣 In summary, while I continue to publish content on "Big Social" and grow my subscriber bases there, I am by no means under the illusion they care about my audience or my values as a creator. They use me to make them money, I use them to reach people. That's really the end of it. Otherwise: I'll use tools on the open web that directly benefit my publishing goals whether they be open source or propretiary but customer-focused. Own Your Own Content (OYOC). That's the web I love.

🔗 Some stuff I've posted lately on the blog:

  • The Blog as Publishing Hub. Touches on some of the points mentioned above and describes the IndieWeb differences between POSSE and PESOS. (I'm more of a PESOS man myself.)
  • Recent photos I've uploaded here, here, and here. Like:

Catch you on the next issue! Peace ✌️

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