Starve them and they curl up and shrink

Think about all the political anger and outrage that we direct at a politician. What if we focused all that energy on electing someone better.

Imagine if all the @replies, retweets, shares and Facebook comments about the faux outrage of the day were redirected to amplifying good works and inspiring leaders.

Trolls feed off outrage. Their battery packs are recharged with anger and vitriol. Imagine these monsters standing on the top of a mountain in the middle of raging storm and holding a lightning conductor. The more lightning strikes they get hit with, the more powerful they become.

Starve these the trolls, and they curl up and shrink. They can stand on top of the mountain all day on a beautiful sunny day and won’t get one lightning strike. Next time you feel anger boiling up inside of you. Don’t engage. Redirect that energy into something constructive. You’ll starve the nasty beasts and build something great.

Control your platform

A couple of people have asked me why I haven’t switched to Medium as a publishing platform. Medium is beautiful and elegant, and I value the highlight function. I also think that Ev Williams has zeroed in the problem with traditional media and how its livelihood is tethered to the advertising model, clickbait and page views. The popularity of a piece doesn’t correlate to the journalistic quality; hence something salacious generates more revenue than a well researched long-form article on Climate Change or political corruption. I think the Medium team has the brainpower and dry powder to make a dent and help solve the problem, but it’s hard to ask writers to go along for the ride when their livelihood or lifework depends on it.

Until the publishing revenue model is fixed, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Medium will continue to morph, experiment and adapt to survive. They’ll do what’s in the best interests of their shareholders, their advertisers and their employees.

I’ve been on WordPress for years and won’t be changing. My rational years ago and today are the same. Writers have to own their domain. It needs to be portable and backed up, and if the underlying platform changes then they can set up shop somewhere else.

Sometimes function trumps form.

Filter your feed

If you are overwhelmed by the Twitter outrage machine or the Facebook Feed, then I have a few tips.

Filter your feed. An unfiltered feed is overwhelming and will dunk and drown you with noise and information. Building a personalized and positive flow of information on Twitter is a little bit of scratch and peck – it can take years to curate the people you follow. Be patient. Explore new users. If there’s someone you admire, do some digging to see if she has a Twitter feed.

Don’t use the number of followers person has as a sign of quality. Popularity doesn’t equate to quality.

I’ve found that some people don’t tweet a lot, but they are prolific retweeters of fantastic content. Following quality content creators and quality content retweeters. They sometimes aren’t the same people.

Unfollow negative people. If reading someone’s tweets consistently makes you feel shitty then drop them.

Learn how to mute keywords from the feed. You won’t miss out on breaking news. The important news will always find you whether via word of mouth or a quick phone call.

Remove the Twitter app from your home screen. Out of sight and out of mind. You’ll check the feed less, and when you do check in, you’ll appreciate the moment.

Follow positive people and people you can learn from. Good community members on Twitter favorite and retweet other people. They contribute to the community and have constructive conversations. One way traffic and zero interactions with no favorites, retweets and replies is a red flag.

Report the trolls. If everyone does their bit, then Twitter gets better overall. Be a good Twitter citizen.

Don’t engage with trolls or bullies. Learn to mute and block.

Goodbye negativity, hello uplifting news feed.

Communication vs. connecting

There’s no social media version for a face to face conversation with a friend. With everyone spread out across the globe these days the next best thing is a conversation over the phone. The best version of this is a video chat. Texting via Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, Snapchat are essential communication tools – they help you communicate, but they don’t connect you with people on a deeper level.

Even though our smartphones have the word phone in them, we use them more for other things like email, social media, work and entertainment.

To stay in touch, you’ve got to make the time to be there in the moment. Video chat, phone and face to face is the best way to connect.

9 exercise, dieting and sanity tips – Part 2

I received a lot of feedback on my 9 exercise, dieting and sanity tips, so I decided to pontificate some more on the topic. I’m planning on turning these daily musings into a book, so this will be in the Mind / Body / Spirit section…which is basically the whole book! 😛

Here goes:

Eat slow cooked oats in the morning – prep them the night before in a slow cooker. The downside is that you have to clean the pot every day, but they are way tastier than instant oats…so you’ll keep doing it. Oats is a blood sugar stabilizing way to start your day and a full portion will see you through to lunch.

Write down positive mantras, be specific and say them out aloud daily. Use the notes app on your phone as a way for easy access. Keep tweaking them – it’s a fun dream boarding exercise and the list will hold you accountable. If you are brave then share them with your close friends and family – they will also hold you accountable.

Unfollow complainers, negative people and cynical people on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Only follow people on Facebook who are proximate. It’s not normal to be reading about someone you went to school with and haven’t talked to in over a decade.

Twitter is like the Ring of Sauron. If you get too close and don’t treat it with respect then it’ll consume you. Twitter is a powerful source of knowledge and wisdom, but it’s also filled with hate and darkness. Handle with care, choose wisely who to follow and mute the negativity. Don’t get sucked into the manufactured outrage and hot takes…Twitter can turn into a Kangaroo court very quickly which is unfair and cruel.

Don’t watch cable news…ever. It’s not news, it’s unhealthy entertainment masquerading as news. Breaking news is commoditized, it’ll find you if it’s important enough. If you have a healthy, hand picked list of people you follow on Twitter then you’ll get the knowledge you need versus the unhealthy news firehose.

Build up a rainy day fund of credibility with people you work with…so when the shit hits the fan or you drop the ball on something – you have a credibility cushion. If you are running hard and moving fast then the shit will hit the fan and you will drop the ball at some point.

Listen more, talk less and pause before you respond to a question.

The Nutribullet is the best and only juice blender you should use. People give up on juicing because the set up and washing up is such a hack. The Nutribullet makes it super easy to throw in some fresh fruit, veggies and water and get it done in under 5 minutes. I drink the juice from the same blending cup and the blades are safe and easy to clean. No fuss, no mess. Set it up at night before you go to bed so the morning is a like a well oiled machine.









Keep showing up 

Persistence is the secret ingredient to long term growth. I’ll use writing as an example. Check out non celebrity writers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or WordPress. They write something most days (normally multiple things) and their followers start to expect a post on a daily basis. Some posts will be good, some brilliant and some forgettable – the point is that it’s dependable and persistent. Over time their readers see the musings and writings of the author as companion pieces to the day – like a morning coffee.

There’s the January gym crowd who start off with a bang and putter out around February, then there are the lifers who show up every morning and slowly get fit and stay fit. Lifers don’t have New Year’s resolutions because they have a standing daily exercise appointment that they don’t miss. It’s the same with writing. Never miss the appointment.

Persistence is underrated and underused because people think it’s obvious and table stakes for success. The reality is that most people give up early, so it normally does come down to the last person standing who gets the prize.

Show up every day. Persist

“Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.” – Raymond Joseph Teller

Be in touch

Staying in touch is different than friending, following or subscribing to someone on a social network. Facebook is a community of digital contacts and it’s an awesome vehicle to communicate, but don’t confuse digital connections and digital browsing with seeing someone in the flesh. I know there’s a diaspora of people across the world and that’s what makes social networks so great, but I’m talking about being physically proximate with your community, neighbors and friends.

If you stopped using Facebook tomorrow, how many people would notice? I mean really notice. How many people would be knocking on your door, walking around to the back door, peering in a window or phoning to check in? Compare that to the reaction from friends, family and co-workers who are in physical contact with on a regular basis. I’m talking about a morning run together, popping in for tea, walk and talks at lunch time, kid’s play dates, weekend coffee meetups…that’s what “being in touch” means. It’s not scrolling down a digital news feed and flicking through photos for a quickie endorphin hit.

Networks like Facebook and Twitter are a means to communicate and organize. Check out the Women’s Marches that were organized across the country…and it all started with a small group on Facebook. What’s even more awesome is that the Facebook group manifested into a physical march for millions of people. What gave it power was the physical manifestation. Physical contact nurtures the soul and makes the connection real.

Be proximate with your community and be in touch. It’s good for the community and it’s good for you.

p.s. thanks to Stephen Bartels for inspiring this post and Lindsay Bartels for the edits

img_2109’s fatal flaw

What a pity that Instagram removed the ability to view photos within the Twitter feed. In doing so they turned the ability to quickly review a potentially crappy photo into a full blown time waster. Not every photo is relevant to me, so in a way a photo is just like a tweet … it needs to be easy to skim like 140 characters. I can then choose to engage or move on.

I view the majority of my photos via Twitter (I use Twitter way more than I use FB) and it’s a schlepp to click through into Instagram site and I’d rather not. The new Twitter photo app is painful but I’ll learn and the UI will get better. In the interim I’m using the Flickr App and might stick with it.

Hubris may end up being Instagram’s fatal flaw. My hunch is they’ve overestimated user loyalty and underestimated the power of the Twitter platform. I for one will stick with Twitter and continue to share photos that can be quickly accessed within the feed. I’m already filtering out pic links, in favor of Twitter pics and Flickr

I get it that FB and Twitter are competing for people’s time and that Instagram is trying to become the next Twitter, but this move has inconvenienced me and pushed me away. Instagram may have miscalculated here … it’s very slick photo sharing app that hit the market at the perfect time, but it might find out that convenience trumps fancy filters.




UPDATE: Today Instagram released a new terms of service that has alienated its loyal users. Instagram can now sell your photos to third parties for advertising without telling you. Here’s the link