It's no secret that I write a lot about blogging on Rocket Panda. I have a thing with going meta, I even used to host a podcast about podcasting before Rocket Panda even existed. That said, sometimes it can be fun to go down memory lane.
Yesterday I was migrating my website over to micro.blog and I noticed something about my writing style over the last two years. There's been a stark contrast in my older posts and the ones I write now, and I wanted to talk about it.
My older posts were me trying to imitate and mimic tech journalists like that of 9to5Mac and TechCrunch. I was trying to be more journalistic and matter-of-fact without adding anything personal to them. I even tried to make myself sound like and Apple expert, but if I am being honest with myself I know little about the history of Apple and the impact they made before 2008, which was when I jumped into the Apple ecosystem.
Once I realized that wasn't working out for me, I moved to doing things like listicles and have my Top 10 iPad Life Hacks and The 9 Things I Learned Going iPad Only. I look back at both of these kinds of writing and cringe, because desperation has a foul and pungent scent and I reeked of it. After I got over how much of a try-hard I must have looked like I realized that had I not done those things and looked in the mirror afterwards I wouldn't have come to the conclusion I have today about what it is I want to write about the things that I'm passionate about.
If you look at my more recent pieces, I am writing more personal pieces about the things that I can add personal input on. I have written things like Why iOS 13 Made the iPad Home Screen Fun Again and my TouchType Pro Review. These things are comments on the news from Apple and the companies that cater to those users, but I center it on myself and my feelings on it instead of trying to make this an article for TechCrunch or something similar.
It is much more satisfying for me to comment on the smaller things that I'm comfortable speaking on instead of trying to get my share of the pie with what the rest of the big Apple blogs are commenting on. There are times where I may add my feelings and opinions on something but only when it is something that I am comfortable with. Gone are the days where I try and do some quick research and reading up on something that I know nothing about just so that I can be with the rest of the Apple News cycle. It is great if you enjoy that but I found it to be extraordinarily draining both mentally and emotionally. Chasing that forever-spinning wheel of tech news is not something for me.
If I am still staying honest, it's hard to make a blog about the Apple news as a single independent writer. That faucet is broken and it is just a firehose of information shooting out at you with an unlimited supply of water. I have tried being a part of the firehose and it's simply not for me. I would rather be a trickle of water by myself for a small amount of people to drink from. Which brings me to why I have moved my site to micro.blog.
Why I Moved to Micro.blog
The reason for this is two-fold:
- I am not a Pro Blogger, and I need to stop acting like one
- The atmosphere at micro.blog isn't as formal as something like WordPress for me, and I like that
When I say I am not a Pro Blogger I mean that I don't have hundreds of thousands of readers, and I don't think I necessarily want that. It isn't a goal in my life to make Rocket Panda anything other than a way for me to express myself creatively. I don't look at stats, I don't see what posts are getting the most clicks, and I definitely don't want to make my site a digital billboard with ads everywhere and videos playing automatically. That wasn't the case when I first started though, I wanted to make Rocket Panda my full time job so badly. So much so I was willing to throw a piece together I thought would get lots of clicks and subscribers instead of writing something that I was happy with.
What I want when it comes to this blog is that I own every pixel top to bottom and that I can say what I want, when I want without worrying about upsetting anyone that has control over my livelihood.
As for the second point, micro.blog is a place for me I consider a much friendlier atmosphere than that of Twitter or Instagram. There's nothing about this service that makes me upset or feel inadequate about myself. It is just writers and bloggers sharing their lives, thoughts, ideas, and photos with others. As someone that doesn't have a staff of writers it can be lonely at times writing, and having the ability to be a part of a community that isn't culturally toxic and genuinely delightful helps fill that void for me.
I could have kept my blog on WordPress and linked it to micro.blog, but for me it made more sense to just put all of my chips in this service and embrace the limitations it comes with. I am happy with my setup and I hope to see it stick, and I think that this time it will.
After some tinkering and playing around I finally figure out how to fix my biggest gripe with the service, which was differentiating the micro posts (the things I would post on Twitter) to the articles (like this one). Because of the addition to categories and the support for Hugo I managed to figure out how to add parameters to my site to hide my micro posts from the website but still have them post to micro.blog for those who follow me there. For those interested, I found the answer to that from the Hugo Discourse which is a group of helpful individuals.
This isn't me saying that you should move to micro.blog, that is for you to decide. That said, I do think that more bloggers should look I the mirror and answer the tough questions about what they are writing about and what they want to share, because it took me way longer than it should have to listen to the people who told me to write more personal posts over the bland lists and news articles I was writing.