A different approach

A different approach
Photo by Ugne Vasyliute / Unsplash

I'm not sure anyone ever reads the first post of a blog, but at least it gets the whole thing out the way so you can start writing about more important things. So here goes; the why and how of what I'm up to on this new platform.

Why do this?

I've wanted to do more writing and recording for a long while. Until now it just hasn't felt right; because I didn't have the right place to share what I wanted, because I felt like I should be doing something else, and because without some context and structure around them the things I wanted to share wouldn't really make sense.

This space is an attempt to address these issues. Somewhere to share ideas away from the demands of social media platforms and their limited ways of framing things. Somewhere to invite conversation, contribution, and support for my work. A place where people can make their own way through as much, or as little, of all of the different things I'm interested in, and in their own way at their own pace.

What does that look like?

One thing that creating my own space means is that I can work out loud. I can explore and share progress as I go, turning at least some of the frustration into useful information for others. If you can't be a good example...

There's something more self-interested, too. In sharing what I'm doing with others, I know my ideas will be adapted and improved by people with skills and knowledge I don't have. So I stand to benefit too.

In the longer term, I'm migrating my website, and as much of my work as I can, to this one place. Starting with consolodating what's already there, that means:

  • Setting up this website
  • Moving over the existing stuff; info pages, mailing list members, podcast episodes and video
  • Hosting the podcast from here
  • Developing and adding new stuff from there...

If you're interested in some more of the technical details I'm tracking all of the individual steps on my Github project page.

Why do it this way?

This isn't the standard way of running a business, a podcast, or anything like that. That makes sense; I think about things differently, so I do things differently. Finding tools that support this way of doing things isn't always easy, though.

I'm using two Open Source tools to do most of the heavy lifting. At the front, providing the website your're reading, tracking members and sending emails, is the blogging platform Ghost. Hidden in the back, but providing me with the structure and organisation I need to make things flow smoothly, is the data platform Directus.

I chose both of these because they're flexible enough to let me work in the ways I want to work, and because their business models aren't about trapping everyone in their platform. That's not just a long-term concern, either. Because of my different ways of doing things, I often need to hook up a range of different tools to get what I want. Tools that want to lock everything away mean I can't do that.

Starting from here, there's the potential to change the way we create and share our work. To connect up, collaborate, and work across different groups, on our own terms.

Now what?

My next step is a difficult one. Not technically, but personally. One feature that Ghost offers is to invite readers to financially support their work. That's not something I've done before, largely because I don't want people who need information to be prevented from getting it because they don't have the money to do so. And partly because it simply feels awkward to ask.

So I'm doing this differently, too. I plan to make everything I publish available to everyone. That's not to say supporters won't get anything extra - and more details on that in a subsequent post - but that it won't be the normal restricted content that many others offer.

So join me on this journey - sign up to get regular updates, try stuff out, and get involved!