After nearly eight years of being a Google+ user, the time to say goodbye to the social network is almost here. For those of you that never saw the value of Google+, I don't expect you to fully understand what hardcore users (I'm one of them) will be missing when the platform is no more. I think Mike Elgan's article probably describes Google+ best when he explains it as a place "where smart people gather for long, detailed and interesting conversations" without the streams being "algorithmically filtered" like most social networks. For me personally, I was able to meet a lot of people on Google+ that I wouldn't have known otherwise on "hit and run" sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
At this point and time, many of the Google+ refugees are scattering and fleeing to any number of social networks (many I never heard of until recently). Instead of following these former Google+ users to their social network of choice, I've decided to follow them via their blogs. I've spent the past week looking up the profiles of every G+ user I followed and note if they maintain a blog or personal website. I'm not sure how much value this effort will have to others, but in the end I did this for me. This is simply my way of saying goodbye to Google+ and recognizing my desire to stay connected with the G+ community through their blogs.
Attached below is a list of people I followed on Google+ that currently maintain a blog or personal website.
Following the footsteps of people bigger than me, like Mike Elgen and Dries Buytaert, I've decided to focus this year on my personal blog and spend less time on my other websites and social media networks. This has been a long time coming but probably the straw that broke the camel's back was Google's decision to shutdown my favorite social network, Google+.
Out of all the social networks I've participated on, Google+ was the only social network where the people followed you to not only be heard themselves but also to actually listen to what you had to say. Maybe G+ being a "ghost town" is what helped make it so successful those those that actively used the social network. Without family and close friends there, I never had to worry about boring my family and closest friends about computers, software, science, and my obsessed journey to be more interesting tomorrow than I am today. Google+ will be missed by me and I decided with G+'s absence it is time for me to return to blogging like it's 2001 all over again.
Earlier this year, I started a new blog in hopes of me getting back to dedicating more time for my writing. The goal was to write one article a week as I had finally broken free of my burnout from blogging. In the first few months of the blog, I wrote about half a dozen posts but by Spring new articles were no longer being published at Fifty-Two Posts a Year. I once again found the demands of work, family, outdoor hobbies, and managing my other websites were of higher importance. So, time marched on and I now find myself with one more website that started with good intentions but now resembles a ghost town with too few visitors and too little new content.
Given that I no longer accept advertisement at socPub (formerly CMS Report), it's been a strange year for me to acknowledge that I spend so much of my "free time" managing and maintaining a website that gives back so little in return. The time I spend working on socPub comes at a cost to the other projects I've wanted to start or complete. You see, I have a problem. I'm a hoarder of websites and social media accounts and like any hoarder of things...there is too much of a mess in my house to see any value in any of what I already possess. It's time to clean house and I'm going to do so by focusing my cleaning on one room (one website) at a time.
I'm late, so you think. I promised you a weekly post this year and I've already neglected to provide you last week's story. Last weekend was a busy traveling hockey weekend for my son and me, but nevertheless you think that's no excuse for having failed you. The old me would have agreed with you. The new me says, that's bull.
By my nature, I'm a very task oriented person. I don't let go until the job is done. Several years ago, I started a 365 Photo Project with the goal of publishing a new photo each day of the year. By March, my joy in taking photographs turned into a miserable experience. With only eight miles between home and work, there just wasn't enough interesting and inspiring photos to take on my daily commute. The year-long project I had envisioned only lasted for three months. I still can't crack a smile when I look at the photos I took during that project. I labeled that year's resolution a failure and to this day I still feel I owe somebody a couple hundred more photographs.
I don't think I want to do this anymore...
After three or four decades of being immersed in the digital lifestyle and blogging on a continual basis for 15 years, I found myself puking at the idea of spending more time in front of the computer outside of work. It's not that I don't still like technology and content management, but I didn't recognize until it was too late that the lack of topic diversity would eventually lead me to digital burnout. To fix this, I seriously tried not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In the end that's exactly what I did.
Having walked away from CMS Report earlier this year, it's taken me months to recognize that the problem wasn't being bored with content management systems. The problem is I didn't do it in moderation. Between my day job working in information technology and the evenings spent blogging and running personal websites, there were days I spent close to 16 hours in front of a computer screen. For someone like me that can be over enthusiastic in pursuing my interests and activities, I never considered my computer time as work. As odd as it sounds, it became a great shock to me that my body both physically and mentally still perceived it as work.
A few months ago, I had a problem. After eight years of non-stop writing, I found myself exhausted of all enthusiasm to blog. Let me tell you, it's a sad day in Web City when an advocate for content management systems has no real desire to author new content. I was also questioning in this age of "always on" social media whether the traditional blog had lost value not only to me but my readers. If content is no longer king, why should I spend so much effort creating new content? So as summer approached, I decided to take a break from blogging.
At the beginning of my sabbatical I made a secret promise to myself. If at the end of three months I found no value in blogging, I would call Agility to say it's time to shutdown CMS Report. I was prepared to resign myself to writing only an occasional post on Google+ (which "experts" claim no one reads) or on my personal blog (which I know nobody reads). If I did this, would I really miss CMS Report? Would the readers miss me if I was no longer blogging? On more practical terms, do I really need to blog in an era where Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter is available to me?
Honestly, three months ago I had hoped to find that blogging no longer has value. It would have been a revolutionary moment and raise the eyebrows of my peers. I was hoping to shock the world on my "discovery" that blogging didn't matter. Alas, after three months of not blogging, I've found that I will be given absolutely no opportunity to shock and awe. To my surprise, I've found that blogging still matters. Here is what I discovered...