Septemberful

I failed on that Facebook hiatus. Damn that thing’s addictive! It proved useful though; which scares me. I see why people rationalise their way into justifying Facebook’s existence: It’s great for outreach.

I reached out this month, and widened the audience of the Hay Opening Hours web site I’m still developing. You can see how the stats have changed, from 100 weekly visitors, to 100 daily. Roughly, that is. I reckon it’ll still climb.

Can I continue without Facebook though, using Twitter as an alternative outreach tool? The stats show no referrers from Twitter, despite there being links on there. I tried pinging a few local Twitter accounts, who have 1000 or more followers, to see if they’d retweet my initial promo tweet of the site. It seems Hay Twitter is dead bar a few footie rants, politics rants and check-ins at various bookshops. Stay cool bookworms, I like you. I’m getting this data from personal memory of browsing the Nearby Tweets feature of Tweetbot (an iOS Twitter client). It appears Twitter no longer let just anyone search by location on the web site. You gotta be a developer to do that, or use an app. Anyway, Twitter isn’t the place to talk about Hay, it appears.

The target audience seems to be the Hay-on-Wye Community Notice Board Facebook Group; herein referred to as The Hay Board. The Hay Board, if you haven’t seen it, is a busy forum for Hay residents, businesses and visitors to use to discuss and promote their ideas and services so long as they’re relevant to the town. It’s just like Hay itself: the content is quaint, hard to navigate, sometimes salty and, if you browse long enough, full of regular patterns of discussion, both factual and fictional. It’s also public. I’m currently using it to update people on updates to the opening hours site, and that works quite pleasantly: I get input almost instantly from people I hadn’t considered asking for feedback.

Hay is non-technical. It’s a book town. Hay is non-technical to the point of having many proud, self-proclaimed Luddites in its populous. Twitter, as it appears to the layman, is technical. Facebook is technical too but, I suppose, the weight of having so many people on it and it — apparently — being private by default, makes it accessible to non-technical people. Those are the people I need the opening hours web site to serve.

Anyway, this post is for a catch up for September; so what have I achieved this month, besides actually launching a personal project? Here we go:

  • I got into and out of psychotherapy. That went pretty quickly. I had about 4 sessions which I used too tackle various aspects of my anxiety condition.
  • I bought a desk and chair to work at. For 5 years I’d been using soft furnishings as my home office. I’m glad to be able to separate my lifestyle out between consumption and production. This has been quite the breakthrough and comes at a time when I’m needed at my keyboard a lot more than before.
  • I fixed my home HiFi speakers. Turns out the bi-wire wasn’t quite tightened at the bass connections. Oh boy do they sound so much better now they’re set up properly.
  • I received an email telling me that another project has come out of dormancy. This is filling a lot of my time now and I wish I could tell you more but I’m sworn to secrecy until I’m given permission to share publicly.

I didn’t beat the Facebook addiction but at least I didn’t waste all of my time using it.

I haven’t done much mixing this month but I have enjoyed switching from Spotify to YouTube Premium for music listening. It makes sense: There’s a wider selection of music on YouTube; I already used it more for discovery than Spotify, on my laptop; I can now listen to those playlists I made on my phone without having to keep the app open. I only miss the remote control feature of Spotify, where you control the desktop app from the mobile app.

Lastly, I’m building a dirt jump bike for myself to practice jumping off dirt. I’m having my local bike shop do a bit, that I can’t without expensive tools I’d only use once: the sprocket needs to be attached to the hub, and the crown race needs swapping from one fork to another. Apart from the part to convert the DMR Omen frame to a single speeder, and the seat post clamp, all the parts going into the bike are parts I’ve had lying around from upgrading my cross country bike. I’m pretty excited about this, and I think I’ll do a photo journal of it. Follow along on this blog if you want to get the gritty details as I build.

Pressing Words for September

I’ve got accounts all over the web. The one I use most is Facebook. I wish I didn’t, so I’m going on hiatus there during September. Sort of my way of implementing a small, reverse Eternal September. You can google that, it’s well known enough. ByeByeFacebook got me thinking about it again. I needn’t write any of the reasons listed there as they all resonate with me strongly.

If you want to follow my actions and can afford £4.50 a month for the hosting and aren’t picky about how your site looks, get in touch and I’ll host one just like mine for you. I’ll even educate you on its use for a nominal fee you can afford.