I’ve been thinking lately about what I want the Ben Content Machine to be like.
I know that’s a bit crass and self-important, but it’s an interesting thing for me to think about especially since I’ve started writing every day on this blog. I’m sorry for how it sounds.
I think I’ve got essentially three things that I could output content (bleh) to:
- An email newsletter (which does not exist at the moment)
Twitter is where I post screenshots and videos of coding stuff I’m working on. I don’t have a ton of followers (271 as of this writing), but it’s the most valuable “audience” that I own.
Essentially every programming work opportunity has come from people who follow me on Twitter because I post tidbits of my work. I am immensely grateful for that and don’t want to lose that outlet.
benborgers.com is this website that you’re currently reading this blog post on. 2½ years ago I started posting blog posts on programming topics, with the goal that people would find them through Google search. I didn’t know what I’d do with a website that got search traffic (and still do not), but I thought it’d be cool (and still do).
Then in January of this year, I started writing personal blog posts on another domain, and eventually migrated them here to benborgers.com.
I’ve really enjoyed the consistency of writing every day. I hope that it makes me a better writer, and I know that it’s interesting to have a large pile of thoughts preserved. I don’t know whether daily blog posts will go on forever, but for now I really enjoy it and am too stubborn to give it up.
I also want to make my website have more stuff on it, like notes from classes I’m taking. I think it’d be an interesting archive to look back on.
An email newsletter is an idea that I’ve been kicking around for the past couple of days.
Let’s take a step back. I write stuff on the internet for two reasons:
- I like to have a record of my thinking from the past, and it makes me a better writer. (This is the reason that you tell people.)
- I like attention. (This is the reason that you usually refrain from sharing.)
It might sound like a joke (or maybe it doesn’t, if you have a certain impression of me as a person), but I don’t think I write this purely for myself. I like the feeling that other people care enough to flick through my blog posts every once in a while. It makes me feel heard.
Plus, the possibility that other people will read the things I’m writing is motivation to write every day. (Perhaps this is what people would call “accountability”.)
So I guess to be very honest, benborgers.com helps with the first goal, and Twitter and an email newsletter (would) help with the second goal. Nobody writes an email newsletter for themselves and not for other people — that defeats the purpose of email.
But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I’m imagining that my email newsletter would be a weekly update, just with a bit on what I’ve been up to and what I’ve posted on my website (new blog posts, new class notes, etc). Like a quick note from a friend, and an invitation to reply with what you’ve been up to recently too.
The thing I’m worried about is having too many things. I don’t want to have to remember to keep up a Twitter, a blog, and a newsletter. I don’t want to add more things to my plate.
So my instinct is to make Twitter serve the same function as my newsletter. To post a bunch of little updates there.
But somehow I don’t think that it fits as well. The newsletter is more personal and intimate, while Twitter is more of just the programmer side of me. Twitter is more show-and-tell, and benborgers.com/maybe a newsletter are more longform-thoughts-and-feelings.
Plus, I’m already doing two of those things currently (Twitter and my personal website), so writing an extra thing per week seems doable.
So — maybe I’ll start a weekly update newsletter. Just for fun. And if no one subscribes? That’s okay too.