Two things were big for me last week, one was the Substack backlash from not removing Nazi content, or demonitizing those accounts. The other was taking the time to finish up preparing a content flow for most of my work.
Of course the community was fast in responding with lists of alternatives.
And I am not joking, I saw this unfold about an hour after suggesting Substack to one of our clients at the Lisbon Collective.
It would be easy to fix if this was just a matter of changing software and migrating subscriptions. Substack comes with a series of ways to help discovery of your content, from their webview to the recommendation engine.
This is also the company that in the begining of 2023 gave users a chance to own part of the company, in what some call a sign that they need funding. It didn’t surprise me much that a company with so many people running on the free tier would be reticent to cut down on a revenue stream. I agree with the morals os blocking hate speech and Nazi publications but I see that there is more to the subject than just that.
Besides, the Substack format is a pleasant mix of blogging and newsletter. It comes with RSS feeds included for public content of every newsletter.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, RSS Feeds are a way of subscribing to content from a website and require a Feed Reader app of sorts to subscribe. It started to go underground when Google Reader was shut down.
Currently, the AT Protocol (promoted and used by BlueSky) and ActivityPub (used by Mastodon and Threads) are step forward from RSS. This tech trend will eventually shape how we can use the internet and manage content. If you’ve heard the term Fediverse, this is it, a decentralized way of posting and reading content.
Adding method to madness for 2024
Curating content for personal or corporate use is simple on paper but hard in practice. Collect, Organise, Adapt, Distribute.
I started a clean slate, removing all subscriptions to newsletters, and rss feeds, moving some substacks to my feed reader in the process. And I have put Johnny Five assisting me in the menial tasks.
Johnny Five is the character for the movie Short Circuit (1986), a sentient robot. It is also the name of the Home Server I have setup in my apartment.
First step was to install FreshRSS on the home server, gathering only feeds that I think will prove useful.
It’s not easy to have a unified inbox because good content can come from more than just RSS feeds. If something is interesting enough I will add it to another app on Johnny Five, a bookmarks manager called Shiori.
Tags are still my favourite way to organise links and notes. After a while I go to Shiori and assign tags with specific meanings, some to read later and others to indicate it’s content worth sharing on Blue Sky or Mastodon.
If a bookmark is relevant for something that I am working on, it will be added to a note on Obsidian.
If this is something that is important for the company, it will be added to our Notion dashboard.
Content in Obsidian notes is meant to be a working process. A report or a more extended blog post. Same goes for what is added to Notion, it will follow a pipeline and be added to the relevant client or internal project. The difference between Obsidian and Notion is that the first one I am using for solitary work.
I am also planning to one day setup a website with all the links I save, in case others might find them useful.
I am still a big fan of Buffer for the simplicity of adding posts to a queue. But I don’t think I would benefit much from upgrading to a paid tier. Instead, Johnny Five is now running a flow that will check Shiori for posts tagged for Blue Sky or Mastodon, and publish them at irregular intervals. This is through Node-RED.
One size does not fit all
This is what seems to be working for me, others won’t be thrilled by setting up a Home Server and Node-RED flows, or will prefer to use Notion for both solitary and group work. If you’re setting up your own method and need to bounce ideas around, let me know. I’ll happily have a chat about it.
Your AI tools for this week
In 2024 I want you to have more time for yourself and less meetings. And I know that most Video Conference services now have an AI summary, but it is always better not to put all your eggs in one basket.
https://fireflies.ai/, recaps your meetings and generates a page that you can easily share with your coworkers.
https://tldv.io/, does the same but comes with a bonus. Their TikTok channel is very good source of content to learn how a software team divides and coordinates work, as well as the grievances every character will feel. https://email@example.com
https://www.bluedothq.com/, is an AI recorder for Google Meet.valentin petkov