Two years ago, I made an attempt to distance myself from CMS Report. The ability to shutdown ten years of work proved more difficult than I thought so I eventually compromised by rebranding the site to socPub. Since then, I've been working on a number of additional side projects. I'm still trying to throw new ideas against the wall and see which ones stick.
For those curious, these are the personal projects I'm working on for 2018:
More Thoughtful Posts
Beginning this year, I wanted to challenge myself to write one thoughtful article a week. While I could have done this at socpub.com or bryanruby.com, I find both sites have too much baggage to allow me to write as freely as I want. That's where Fifty-Two Posts a Year comes into the picture. So far, I've enjoyed writing articles there and have been pleased with the response to the articles I've written. In order for the writing to remain fun and not a burden, I'm using the site's theme of one article a week as a guideline and not a rule.
Bonus: The website is also using WordPress for its content management system which is also forcing me outside of my Drupal comfort zone.
A One Year Evaluation for socPub
The month of April will mark the one year anniversary of rebranding CMS Report to socPub. For all the work I've done with the website, the number of visitors to the site are no more than I had in the final year of CMS Report. I need to take an honest look at the numbers and determine if my current vision of expanding the site beyond its content management niche has been a good move or not. Currently, I feel the website is just surviving on its past legacy and isn't exciting a new generation of regular site visitors. Something is still missing with the site and additional work needs to be done.
Powered by Battery
Last year, my teenage son and I talked about building a website focused on battery powered tools and devices. We're still working on the concept, but limited time has prevented us from implementing this father-son project. I'm really fascinated with the electrification of tools and vehicles that have traditionally been powered by gas. One of my goals for 2018 is to get Powered by Battery off the ground with the appropriate articles and product reviews.
Less Time Spent on Social Media
For the past year, I've recognized that the more time I spend on social media, the less time I spend doing more creative things. While I enjoy the connectivity that social media allows, I'm not sure it's the best use of my time. Instead of trying to abandon social networks such as Facebook or Twitter alltogether, I've decided a better approach would be to become more efficient in how I interact on social media.
Currently, my plan is to use my websites' RSS syndication to post articles and fan them out to the social networks through the use of dlvr.it. I've been using the free subscription for a number of years, but decided to go "pro" so I could post to more than three social accounts. My idea isn't a unique one as there is a POSSE movement that has adopted a content publishing model where you "Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere". There are POSSE purists that will only push content out via their website but I'm not one of them. If it's simpler to just go ahead and post something directly on a social network than via a blog post, I'm definitely going to do just that.
Challenge: As I mentioned on Dries Buytaert's blog, I'm finding it is a tough balance and a lot of work to figure out just how much to rely on automation for reaching out to social networks. While the goal is to focus on the blog and let software worry about social media, I'm finding I'm still doing a lot of policing of social media than I'd like. Plus, I haven't quite figured out the best way to manage and respond to comments and other feedback found only on social networks in response to my articles.
My wife's photography website is in need of a refresh. It's been awhile since I've worked on her website beyond a few tweaks here and there. Her focus in photography as a business has also changed so I'd like to redesign the website to reflect her more current goals with her business/hobby.
So this is where I sit during these cold and snowy months of February. These are the projects things I'm currently working on or I'd like to work on in 2018. We'll see just how distracting the warm more inviting days of a South Dakota summer will allow me to complete these projects. If I decide to go for a bicycle ride instead of spending time in front of a computer, I'm fine with that. There is always next winter go get these projects done.