I joined Twitter almost a decade ago and it’s changed a lot over the years. In the beginning, you’d see the fail whale more than you should, they added official support for retweets, likes, and offended all 3rd party developers multiple times.
One of the worst moves for me was where they added the, “you may have missed” section at the top of the feed. In fact, this alone annoyed me enough to stay with Tweetbot.
I’ve been adamant that a chronological feed is the right answer and everyone should embrace it, but this year I made a change in how I use Twitter and I started following more people. Previously I kept my total following count to around 150, and if I followed someone that posted a bunch I would unfollow or mute. Now I’m currently at 326 and the feed is unusable. Every time I go back to check it says I have 100’s of unread and I don’t have time for that, so I just scroll to the top, read around ten, then close it and go on about my business.
Unless everyone decides to follow a very select 50 to 100 people the stream is unusable and it just can’t adapt to a constant flow of 300+ people. So the ranked and weighted feed is the only way to show you highlights and keep you sane.
This week my kids are on spring break and I took the week off so we could all hang out as a family with no worries. Today was arts and crafts day and one of the few times I actually tried to paint something.
When I finished making a few different pieces of art, my first thought was to take photos and share them. That made me realize how I’m such a beginner that I don’t care if it’s bad, compared to say sharing code where I’m self-conscious that I’m only sharing my best work or something unique.
As we mature in our niches we have a tendency to only show our green grass and keep our flaws hidden and I believe that is bad for the world.
So without further ado here is my finished art pieces:
I’m not particularly proud of any of them and don’t worry, I’m not quitting my day job. It was a fun project to get away from the computer screen and to get to spend some quality time with the kids, A win-win.
I know most people do not create open source projects to make money or to even get reimbursed for their time, but as a project gains success more than likely it will incur some expenses. It would be nice to have some sort of revenue attached to the project so you can cover those.
I’ve seen two basic ways of generating revenue in open source, the first is donations, and the second is by selling something, a commercial license, priority support or something else.
What is funny is how people look at the two vastly different. For example, if you say here is a way to buy something for $20 then people will either buy it or move on. It’s a simple business transaction.
On the other hand, if you say donate $20, the average person goes into a completely different mindset and they want to know what you are going to do with the money, are you going to be frugal, is it required, and on and on.
It’s interesting how people are happy buying things even when a company might be failing and could go out of business tomorrow, but when it switches to a donation they want to see a P&L, balance sheet, and ensure their money is going to be spent well.
Finally, the article share extensions which I use with a combination of Instapaper and Pocket.
Feedbin is commercial and the price is $5 a month and I’m happy that I can pay and support the creators and the developers that work on it.
The one thing I have found lacking with the move back to RSS is finding sources to subscribe too. I did find this PHP RSS OPML list by Freek Murze which helped seed my feed, but so many of my friends stopped blogging and the only way to keep up with them is through social media.
I miss the days when people would have their own site and either write their own thoughts or share resources through link blogging. I’ve tried to work around this by using Nuzzel which collects all the links your friends are sharing on social media and emails you a daily archive. The downside is you lose any commentary on the link, but at least you can see what your friends think is interesting.
I guess at the end of the day I’m feeling nostalgic, but honestly, I’m just tired of the social media hot takes that are meant to outrage. Jason Fried summed it up perfectly:
Twitter is beginning to feel like secondhand smoke. The amount of anger and anxiety you walk into just browsing your timeline is like walking into a cloud of cigarette smoke from the smoker in front of you.