Supporting Content Creators

You know one thing that really makes me feel good? Supporting content creators.

We all consume some form of free content online—articles, podcasts, newsletters, but even songs, short movies, etc. Sometimes they’re teasers to sell you a complete package, a product, or a subscription, but in so many instances they’re more like side projects whose goals don’t include generating profits.

So how do I support them?

Likes, subscribing and sharing are the classic ways—but what if you wanted to give them something more?

Some use PayPal donation buttons, or other services—I support my content creator of choice on Patreon and I really like it.

Patreon seems to be the standard these days actually. If the content creator has set up their account there, you can send them money on a recurring basis—for example every time they release something.

You can also set up a limit per month, in case you don’t want to end up sending them more than makes sense to you.

How do I decide who to send money to?

It can be a musician, a YouTuber, or someone who manages a newsletter, a blog or a podcast that really gave you something. These days there’s no limit to the kind of content that is shared online.

I chose Kevin Moore, keyboardist for Dream Theater, Fates Warning, OSI, and a bunch of other projects, whose music in his Dream Theater days meant a lot to me in my teenage years. He’s still making excellent music, albeit stylistically quite far from what his previous coworkers do.

Ok, but how much should I send them?

Whilst I believe any amount would make the difference for the content creator, my personal rule is: it should be a fair chunk of money I think they deserve (so probably not a stupid $0.20/month or something), that is still somewhat insignificant to me.

How do you determine what insignificant means, in the context of money? Ask yourself, What’s the thing I buy regularly that’s not essential? I like me a cocktail in a bar from time to time. There you go. $12/song for you, Kevin. The average price of a cocktail where I live, and coincidentally the upper tier of support for him (Collaborator, $10 + $2 VAT).

5 awesome Instagram accounts to follow

If you follow me on the web, you know I’m a huge fan of Instagram.

I was a bit disappointed when they started stealing every possible feature from Snapchat, but I’ve kept using it on a daily basis, just like millions of other people. Uploading my own photos, liking/commenting other Instagram users, and messing around with Stories.

Here are 5 Instagram accounts I’m loving these days.
Continue reading “5 awesome Instagram accounts to follow”

Remote Work & Digital Nomadism: My interview on Merita Podcast

I’ve recently had the pleasure to be interviewed on one of my favourite podcasts, Merita. Giorgio Minguzzi, the host, is a true professional when it comes to using the Internet to grow a business, so I think you’ll enjoy the conversation—as long as you understand Italian.

We chatted about remote work and digital nomadism, particularly focusing on the challenges and dark sides typically connected to them.

Listen here ⬇️, or on iTunes. If you speak Italian and are on the lookout for great growth and marketing advice I’d recommend you subscribe to the podcast.

Another type of digital nomad: the independent musician

There’s no shortage of content about the digital nomad movement out there. But the vast majority of blog posts focuses entirely on people who can afford to travel light, according to the one-size-fits-all claim that “you only need a laptop and an Internet connection to get stuff done.”

I’ve been following Janek Gwizdala for years. He’s not just a terrific bass player: he runs a successful membership site for bass guitar lessons, vlogs pretty much every day, uses social media probably better than most pros. He definitely qualifies as digital nomad. as he never stops to manage his business while touring the world. Performance after performance, flight after flight.

Janek can’t travel with just a carry on. Bass guitars, amps, pedalboards, they’re all heavy, expensive pieces of equipment he must bring with him.

In these three episodes from his vlog Janek discussed about traveling with his bass guitars. Tips & recommendations from one of the leading figures in the independent music industry. Enjoy!

7 Tips to use Slack effectively

Both Human Made and the WordPress community use Slack as their real-time communication platform. As a result, I basically live on Slack.

Italia WP Community on Slack
Italia WP Community on Slack

There’s more to Slack than just “chat”, but you have to know how to own it as opposed to being owned by it.

Here’s how I got there.

1. Understand the difference between teams and channels

First of all, to use Slack properly, you need to understand the distinction between teams and channels.

Teams

Think of a team as a community. You can be logged in to multiple teams at the same time (i.e. your company, the WordPress community, the WordPress UK community, etc.), and join different teams with the same email address / username.

The question “Are you on Slack?” doesn’t make any sense unless the Slack team is implicit (different from i.e. “Are you on Skype?”).

Channels

Each Slack team has usually more than one channel, for different departments etc. This allows Slack users to read only the chats that are relevant to them.

Slack doesn’t allow channel arrangement in the left sidebar yet, but you can create your own hierarchical system (sort of). From the most important: starred channels & chats (for projects I’m actively working on, they appear on the top of the left sidebar); regular channels (I receive all the notifications for those); channels where @channel and @here are suppressed (don’t want to mute them, but still don’t want to be pinged for general announcements); muted channels (all the channels that are not strictly required for the work I’m doing).

2. Slack is not the right place for important discussions

Because of its real-time nature, any important conversation or write-up should happen or be recapped elsewhere, for example in internal websites that have a WordPress theme called P2. Websites with the P2 theme have a posting form right on the homepage, inline editing of posts and comments, real-time updates, and much more.

WordPress theme P2
WordPress theme P2

3. Use Slack asynchronously

Slack is often hailed as the saviour of internal communication as well as the destroyer of emails. Thanks to Slack, we don’t overfill our inboxes with countless internal emails, so we don’t have to keep up with different threads, mess with addresses in cc, etc.

In traditional communication, whilst emails are among the most effective asynchronous communication tools out there, chat, texts, etc. represent its synchronous variety. A team that works across multiple time zones can’t chat synchronously all the time, and as emails are out of the question, we need to adapt the chat and transform it into an asynchronous communication tool.

Do Not Disturb is the king

Slack allows users to set them on Do Not Disturb mode (automatically or manually). When someone is on Do Not Disturb, they won’t be notified in case of ping, but the system can be forced if the matter is urgent.

Do Not Disturb settings
Do Not Disturb settings

Generally speaking, it’s important that people can talk to each other even when the recipient is not around. If you understand you’re responsible for your own down time (setting yourself up on Do Not Disturb when you’re offline, not working, or in-the-zone), you’re giving others the freedom to get in touch with you anytime. It’s your responsibility then to deal with the message when you’re ready.

4. Always prefer public channels over private and 1–1 communication

When in doubt, always post a message where everyone can read it. Keep everyone updated on stuff that is not secret or private!

5. Do a routine decluttering

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been there: you’re in several channels, and some of them either ended up dead or lost relevancy to you and your job. Leaving channels when you’re not interested in them anymore means you have less stuff to catch up with.

6. Kill Slack when you need to focus

Which doesn’t necessarily mean quitting it. You can set yourself away, or activate Do Not Disturb, when you want to focus on something without being bothered.

7. Use Slack themes

Slack allows to customise the colour scheme of the left sidebar. Just head over to Preferences → Sidebar Theme and select an available theme, or enter your custom colour combination.

For example, this is a colour combination for WordPress:

#23282d,#191E23,#0073AA,#FFFFFF,#191E23,#FFFFFF,#46B450,#00A0D2

Bonus: is there a night mode?

Slack doesn’t have a night mode yet, but there’s a nice workaround for the in-browser version. Install Stylish for your browser (an extension available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari), and follow the instructions here.

External resources

WordPress communities on Slack – A collection of Slack teams related to WordPress (both country-level and non-local teams)

Slack on Product Hunt – Slack-related apps, add ons & collections.

Slack Themes – A collection of themes for the left sidebar.

11 Useful Tips for Getting the Most out of Slack, by the Slack team

An Incomplete List of Communities on Slack, by Angela Cois

My Social Media Wishlist for 2016

2015 has been a big year for social media. Periscope and Snapchat exploded, Instagram became incredibly valuable for products and Twitter have been struggling to grow its user base.

In 2016 the industry will keep evolving and renovating itself with its usual speed: predicting what’s next in the industry is, at best, problematic. That’s why I’m sharing a wish list for 2016 – trends, practices and features – rather than predictions. There’s a lot to be excited about, so let’s dive in.

Tweople: More personal stuff!

When you tweet something out, don’t be afraid to add your personal touch, whether it’s yours or other people’s content. A comment, a quote from the tweet, an image that reflects what you’re sharing. Here’s what I believe is a good example:

If I tweeted only a post title, link and hashtag, it would have been just another tweet in the stream. Instead, I’ve sacrificed the post title, added a quote from the post, highlighted the real meaning of the post (the author’s view on a topic), and inserted an image – taken from the post itself – that echoes the topic.

I also wish people sent out less thank-you tweets to multiple handles. Simply put, when you thank people in bulk, what you’re saying is I don’t have time to tell you something meaningful. It might work from a quantity point of view – new followers, new notifications, Klout score going up and other vanity metrics – but doesn’t really add anything relevant. There’s a lot of things you can do instead, i.e. connecting with less people but starting real conversations, intro’ing them to other people that can be interested in their content, and so on.

Less #latergram and #throwback on Instagram

From a product marketing point of view, Instagram has the attention of a pretty good number of people, so the strategies that brands are using to connect with their prospects must include a wide array of visual content.

When it comes to people, I like thinking of Instagram as a real-time tool. People, in fact, are still brands: if I follow them, they have my attention. That’s why I like to learn what they are doing now, not what they used to look like when they were 16.

Less cliché pics

Laptop and coffee. Chicken with avocado. A cat with big, beautiful eyes. We got it, you are a coffee drinker that works remotely, eats healthy food and enjoys the company of a lovely pet.

As working from coffee shops and eating less sugar become more mainstream, there’s nothing unique or inspiring in those pictures anymore.

When I see someone showing off the lack of grey office walls in their life, I’d love to know what they’re actually doing, what tool they’re using and why, how they’re solving problems. Every time I stumble upon the picture of a salad I want to know what’s inside. The social media game shouldn’t be about you, it’s about the audience.

Less motivational crap

motivational

The brutal truth about these “motivational” quotes is that they’re created and posted because they’re excellent at capturing likes and followers. That’s it. Nothing more.

You don’t need those cheap, cheesy and one-size-fits-all posts. Whatever you’re trying to do with your life. In a bad mood? Feeling a lack of motivation? Look for real stories. Luckily for us the Internet offers so many places to share success stories and things that work (looking at you, Medium.com).

More television-like experiences on YouTube

As both smart TVs and Chromecasts (or the Apple TVs for that matter) become more popular, YouTube offers a remarkable opportunity to all those media producers, podcasters and film-makers out there to host their shows, publish their documentaries and distribute short movies, episodic shows and even independent, full-length films.

YouTube is full of talented people, but sometimes it’s hard to know where and how to find them. I really wish to see a significant improvement both in the YouTube homepage and in the YouTube iOS app that makes it easy for everyone to discover new content.

Special mention to 360° videos, which I’d love to see more often during 2016.

Instagram: let us switch between multiple accounts!

For many social media managers, having the ability to switch from their personal to their professional / business account would save so much time. Apparently Instagram is testing this feature on Android, so there’s a big chance to see this happening within the next 12 months. Personally, I can’t wait.

 

What are you looking forward to seeing on social media in 2016?