your internet home

do you really need a website? do you really need a twitter account?

it really depends.

we all know that the internet allows you to reach a worldwide audience. what’s funny is that not everyone needs a worldwide audience (for example, talented designers). all you need is to be able to reach the people who need to hear from you. if you’re an artist, fame and notoriety helps, along with ease of access. once you get into finance, design, and certain other fields, sometimes the harder you are to find, the better.

a week ago i met a person who makes a living building out websites for clients. they didn’t have any kind of social media presence. “how do you get clients?” i asked. all through word of mouth, they told me.

this was frustrating, because at times it feels like i am running a media company – i update my twitter, i write on my blog, and i share interviews on my youtube channel and via podcast. it’s full time work, and my hope is that one day it will get me more clients. but here is someone who reduced the amount of work they had to do – they are credible in their circles and gain employment from those spheres.

there are no hard and fast rules. finding the people you want to work with is an art form. every platform offers its opportunities, as do your real world experiences. but, it is helpful to remember that twitter, facebook, squarespace and (shudder) wix are not necessary for success if your audience doesn’t need to find you there.

recap: registration day at xoxo

ahoy there.

good morning. yesterday (thursday, september 5th, 2019) i arrived in portland for xoxo. i am staying with my friend josh and melissa, who have a son who is in fourth grade and cat who is two years old.

this is nimbus and i love him.

josh (@stickwithjosh on twitter) is a programmer-turned-videographer whose ultimate goal is to shoot feature films out of his backpack. he may have been the first people to get me interested in programming as well. as a computer-y person, he also was instrumental in introducing me to xoxo. when i was on the fence about buying my ticket earlier this year, josh told me that the online message board alone was worth the price of admission. and lo, here we are today.

my badge for the festival!

yesterday i got all registered for the weekend. swag included the badge pictured above, a t-shirt (extra small for moi), a calendar of events, notebooks, and pronoun pins to let others know my preferred identifiers (he/him). once i checked in, i spent the rest of the day doing portland-y things (hanging out in cafes, going to powell’s, etc.). it is so nice here! i texted cheyenne throughout the day to let her know that i was having a consistently good time and that i was very, very relaxed. vacation = two thumbs up.

then, in the evening was the opening party, a late-night mixer with drinks and food. i met a bunch of folks and it feels a bit exhausting to recap the interactions with all of them. this weekend will be filled with a lot of meeting new people, and once i get my bearings you will definitely hear more about it. [sips coffee] oof, yeah, the caffeine hasn’t kicked in yet.

today is a “social day” so there are many different meetups happening around the main venue, revolution hall. i’m definitely going to the glitch “appy hour”, i’m going to try and attend a mixer with volunteer lawyers to discuss copyright law, and if time allows i’ll also make it to two other meetups, about patreon and twitter bots respectively.

that’s all i have in me for now – coffee (read more coffee) and breakfast are my current short-term goals, and i’ll be posting on instagram and twitter if ya’ll wanna see more of the festivities. onwards, upwards.

heading to portland tomorrow for xoxo fest

xoxo fest (link) is a conference for people who work and live online. a handful of people i follow on twitter went in 2018, which sparked my interest in going this year. i am very excited to be surrounded by artists and web developers that generally inspire me.

i often try to think about how we can use computers for good, as in creating positive change for individuals and communities. we know the risks (as showed to us in fictions like “black mirror”) but now we are trying to prevent a dystopian future by creating an open, accessible, and inclusive internet.

for me, i want to know what the future of work looks like. i am sick of 9-5, i am sick of navigating a broken healthcare system, and i am sick of the gaps in public knowledge when it comes to technology and its capabilities. my attendance at xoxo is a step towards a future that i would like to live in, under the banner of tabletop games, youtube videos, and coffee.

twitch hypothesis

i recently started streaming on twitch. this is a messy platform that reminds me of myspace, since it has a lot of room for interactive customization. in reading about twitch, i learned that there is a quieter side to the platform that is not entirely focused on gaming. some folks knit. others read. some draw. me? i’m seeing if i can collaboratively write a tv script via livestream.

it’s an experiment, and i don’t know how it’s going to pan out. i know i need my schedule to be consistent, and i know i have to work out some logistical problems with sharing what’s on my screen, but i love working on platforms that are still growing and figuring out what they are. because in a sense, so am i.

my mission is to define the future of work

we all know 9-5 does not make sense, and my question is where we are headed next. what’s wild about companies like lyft is that it operates on its own schedule. artists, filmmakers, web developers, and more have the opportunity to work on their own schedules and don’t have to be tied down to a specific place or schedule. not only is this exciting, but it also is collectively powerful since it gives our workforce considerable agility.

as i interview young people who make a living online, it becomes clear to me that there are common challenges: time management, motivation, marketing, health care, etc. while an employer usually took care of some of the more managerial tasks for us, we now are burdened to make these structures for ourselves. my job, at least for the time being, is to help my peers figure out how to be their own boss.

the things i care about

writing has been difficult because i’ve been trying to make money instead of thinking about the quality of my content. as a result, i often feel stuck and don’t know what to create, because the question i am asking myself if “what will get me paid” as opposed to “what do i want to write”. getting around this is a form of practice, and gaining momentum and confidence in the fact that i do have interesting things to say, independent of the monetary reward.

this relates to the work i do with creatives. online artists sell their work online, and sometimes it can get difficult when one is making art to sell rather than making art for the joy of it. this sounds childish, but it is not. the thing that makes a lot of art good is from the artist’s intent. and we, the people of the internet, have a strong radar for content that is fake and aimed at selling us a product rather than enriching our lives.

i wonder if i can find my home again on the internet, and start writing things that are more grounded in my interests. as a business-minded person, i sometimes forget the things i like because i am limiting myself to creating things that are profitable. This doesn’t work, and ultimately makes me unhappy. so, here, i hope to rebel against this trend in the best way possible, by practice and continuously refining the process.