Day One Web Pages

A diary means yes indeed. — Gertrude Stein

The diary is shifting from private to open because of the rise of social networks. People are more inclined to share what’s on their mind today in in order to prompt a response (comment, like, share) from their followers.

Day One makes the shift from private to public even more noticeable, allowing its users to set up profiles to share selected posts online. Day One wants to blur the lines of private and public like Twitter and Facebook have already done. Here’s a sample from my diary.

It’s not a bad thing for people to speak their minds. The reason I blog so openly like James Altucher and Seth Godin is to show people that I’m not afraid to think differently about things and provoke people to do the same. Honesty is the at the core of building up a dedicated fan base. You want to be proven wrong.

But you shouldn’t share everything. Some pieces must remain private. As Jon Mitchell writes on his own Day One page:

A perspective is only legible in the context of its native person. I moved the vast majority of my journaling back into private, and everything made sense again. I didn’t have to censor myself. The references no longer dangled. The meaning of each noun and verb still reverberated from the last time I used it. I was back on the road toward understanding anything. I figured that journaling had to be a private process to mean anything to me, and that the products of journaling, any insights or key turns of phrase I had, could be extracted and put into service to help others.

Writing is at first private, and then public. You write in private in order to liberate thoughts and opinions, and you share certain thoughts publicly to help others or to generate conversation. This is how lyrics from music artists establish intimacy with their fans.

I’m going to share these from time to time. When I do, I give these pages to the web. If you found this observation, or if you find a future one, I hope it means something to you. I hope it feels like an interaction with someone reading the same world story as you are.

Whoever said a diary had to remain private? As is everything in life, there’s a proper balance between a closed notebook and an open one.

“we can only connect the dots that we collect.” — Amanda Palmer


Narrowing the Publishing/Sharing Strategy

I remember a few years ago as social networks and self-publishing were taking off that the popular theory was to publish everywhere: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.

That may have been a good strategy for then as consumers were still sporadic in their social and reading habits. But the Internet has quickly matured.

For me, cross-posting and cross-publishing is a waste of time when 80% of my social activity comes from Twitter and all my book sales come from Amazon. Indeed, FB is a huge referral driver but it’s much harder to get going if you’re a smaller brand page with no advertising dollars.  It’s also worth noting that the Amazon Kindle and Kindle app have crushed Barnes and Noble e-products.

As creators and self-marketers, time may be better spent publishing to a select number of distributors while you let the crowds spread your content elsewhere. Of course, I’d like to explore Reddit more and possibly be more aggressive on Quora to flex my expertise. But those too come at the cost of time.

I now know that promoting content everywhere is a strategy that calls for inevitable burnout. Share to Google+?  No way, I’m good.  If I had it my way, everything would just emerge from this blog and my Twitter account would be vacant, but I just don’t have the audience yet.


To publish: to make public what one believes in.  (via Casco)
To publish: to make public what one believes in.  (via Casco)


Ev Williams’ Medium is Blogging for the 9%

“Medium occupies the space in-between WordPress and Tumblr.”

Medium is a great publishing platform for the occasional blogger. I actually enjoy writing in its minimalist environment more than I do publishing on it.

But I feel the same way about Medium as I did when I first started Twitter. I get it and I don’t get it at the same time.  That intuitive nature is what makes it feel obvious.  

“Here’s the formula if you want to build a billion-dollar internet company…Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time…Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.” CEO Ev Williams, Medium

Medium is just another platform hosting what people already enjoy, i.e. expressing themselves in more than 140 characters but not as a long as a book or Long Read.

The main reason I like writing on Tumblr is that it’s a creative platform for blogging original content, and curating and consuming stuff you like. Meanwhile, Medium is Tumblr with a focus on original text.  

Online writing platform succeed because people want to express themselves.  And at the end of the day, people want to share where users already are.


“Don’t forget to do it for fun.”

That’s the advice my wife gave me last night when I found myself complaining about writing.

She’s right. I don’t need to write; no one but myself is forcing me to do this. I could stop right now and save myself a lot of grief.

But if I’m quitting to avoid the pain of writing I’ve lost the plot. Writing is a difficult process but it’s also supposed to be fun. It’s one of the few ways to sit back and make sense of the world.

And when you add the thrill of Internet distribution to your writing, it’s even more exciting. When you blog, you risk putting yourself out there. You become accountable for anything you say.

Criticism is part of online publishing. Some people disable comments; I keep them. A good debate is part of the writing process. Stimulating a response means you’re doing something right.

Writing has to be fun and risky or it’s not worth posting every day.


The Economist rethinks ‘lean forward, lean back’ model

Readers should not remember the particular device on which they read an article or saw an ad, whether in print, on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.

“If we execute this correctly, all devices should fall away and leave nothing but the content,” he said.

In other words, the goal is to make content agnostic to the inevitability of format shifting.


Writing into a Wall

Ideas can be sticky. Too sticky. The last few months I’ve been working on a book called Train Diaries, based off a series of posts on Medium.

After rereading the first draft last night, I immediately felt agitated. I felt like I was forcing myself to publish a book on an idea just because I did months of work.

Sometimes, you can’t see the whole product until you put the pieces together.

Don’t get me wrong: I still think using the train as a metaphor to predict the evolution of technology and social media makes sense. A lot of the things that happen on the train eventually happen at large.

But quitting can be an absolute relief, especially since I’m not even sold on the book. I’m actually just going to let this concept sit. It may just be a chapter of another book. I always go back to Seth Godin’s advice:

“Don’t publish everything you write, but the more you write, the more you have to choose from.”

My first draft is shit. I’m not going to force oil under a rock for a book that has already has a small digital shelf life.

Books are like my little startups. And just like that , I’m moving on to the next one.


Don’t publish everything you write, but the more you write, the more you have to choose from.

Seth Godin