Blogging from your phone? Maybe you should. Here’s why!

I did some testing earlier and wanted to share my experience with you.

There’s a key area, where WordPress lagged behind social networks and services like Tumblr. I’m referring specifically to posting updates direct from your phone.

It has always been technically possible. However, the experience was horrible. So, earlier today, I decided to see if the the WordPress iPhone app had improved. I wanted to know if adding links, formatting text and inserting images had improved.

It has. A lot

I last checked it out around a year ago. Back then, WordPress via the iPhone was fine for writing draft posts. But they would need to be edited and tidied up on a larger device. And adding links to text was, at best, really frustrating.

Today, it’s extremely easy and user friendly. None of the old issues are there.

No, it’s not a full desktop blogging experience. I never expected it would be.

But it works! It’s a breeze to use, too. In other words, it’s easy now to blog “on the go” straight into WordPress.

And that’s what many of us have been waiting for.

Now that blogging on WordPress is truly mobile, I’ll look to incorporate it into my weekly blogging. I’ll let you know how I get on.

More importantly… if you haven’t checked out the WordPress app for iOS or Android in a while, take another look. You too may be pleasantly surprised.

And yes, this post was written and published, from scratch, in about 25 minuets using an iPhone 8.

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Overcoming loneliness

Social networks and mobile communications are connecting people like never before. This begs the question: Why does study after study confirm that loneliness is at an all time high?

I don’t have the answer. But maybe it’s because people are replacing face-to-face interactions with virtual ones? Think about it:

 We find out how the people in our lives are doing via Facebook, without actually meeting them. We can shop from home, without having to visit the local store. We can watch a movie on Netflix, without leaving our home. And many of us can go to work, without actually “going” anywhere.

There are many, many other examples. All of which allow us to live our lives, with an absolute minimum of human contact.

I thought I’d test my theory. Here’s what happened

Around 18 months ago, I decided to get out more and meet more people. I wasn’t feeling lonely. I have a great family and I’m blessed with many good friends. But I knew I wasn’t meeting people like I used to. So, I decided to make some changes and see if it improved the quality of my life.

Here are a few of them.

  • I swapped an exercise bike for an outdoors bike.
  • I swapped a treadmill machine for walking around the village where I live.
  • I swapped working from home, for working from what Andy Ihnatko calls field offices.
  • I swapped texting my friends for having a coffee with them.

The difference this made was huge. Way bigger than I could have imagined. I now see my friends more often. I’ve also made a lot of new friends; people I’d never have met, without the changes I made. Plus, it has massively improved the quality and volume of my work.

In short, I feel so much better in every area of my life. That’s despite having not actually felt lonely before. I can only imagine what impact this approach might have, for someone who is feeling lonely.

I honestly have no idea if sharing this will help anyone else. But spending more time with people offline has been transformational for me.

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The simple experiment that expanded my mind

Around a decade ago, I decided to try something. It’s allowed me to have a far more balanced view of the world and also, helped me understand people at a way deeper level.

And today, I’m going to share it with you.

How I expanded my mind

I decided to leave my echo chamber.

Here’s what that means: Instead of subscribing to websites, social media accounts, magazines, radio stations etc., which shared my point of view… I threw it open. I started to also pay attention to those, with completely opposite views to myself.

Initially, I planned to do it for 7 days. But before the week was over, I found myself able to better understand why people had different beliefs to my own. I also found that many things I assumed were right, were, at best neutral. And in many cases, I found my long-held points of view were totally wrong.

Perhaps more importantly, I was able to empathise with people at a more personal, less biased level.

Note: This doesn’t mean I agree with everything, everyone thinks. It does mean I can understand WHY. It let’s me appreciate their point of view, without having to hold their point of view.

I’ve done this ever since. And it’s improved my life in many, many ways. So, maybe you might want to give it a try?

Just for a few days. Follow politicians on your main social network, who have opposing views to you. Listen to podcasts or radio stations, that support something you currently see no value in. Read a newspaper, that’s biased against your current perspective.

And see what you can learn.

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How to deal with trolls

It seems social networks are either unable (or unwilling) to stop trolling. And this is bad news for anyone with the guts to express an opinion.

So, what’s the answer?

Don’t worry. Fred Wilson has you covered.

Over on his blog, Fred gives some very simple advice on how to handle trolls. It consists of 6 steps. The first 3 steps are pretty simple. The final 3 steps are tougher. But all 6 are essential. Go and read them now!

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Fake News needs our support

The fake news phenomena really interests me. And with hindsight, I don’t know why it’s only become a mainstream issue in the past couple of years.

After all, everyone can be a publisher these days. And most of us are. Billions of people have social network accounts and hundreds of millions of us have blogs too. In other words, we’re all equipped to spread whatever information or misinformation we choose.

I was thinking about this recently, when my friend told me about the challenge he had, helping his daughter with some school work. He explained that time and again, it was easier to find low quality “content” than expertly-crafted articles. For instance, Google regularly ranks Pinterest posts above museum articles, when you’re looking for a reliable source of historic information.

The answer?

Technology certainly has a huge role to play. And the tech companies who have profited mightily from fake news need to start taking it seriously, rather than offering platitudes.

But I don’t think technology is the answer by itself.

Ultimately, the solution to the fake news problem has to be education. More specifically, education on how to discern between reliable / credible sources and those that are not. There needs to be a clear message, that just because an article is ranked highly on Google, or a Facebook post has a ton of likes, it doesn’t mean the source is credible (or the information is reliable).

We’re part of the problem

That’s because search engines, social networks and our friends can’t be fooled without our help.

Here’s why.

  • When we link to a fake news story, it’s (almost) like voting for it. Each link sends Google and the other search engines a signal. And the more links a story gets, the higher it will rank in search results.
  • When we like or share a Facebook post, (or retweet something) we give it added visibility and increase it’s social proof.

Thankfully, this also means we can become part of the solution. We can choose to ensure we check the source of information, before we link to it or share it.

And we can ask our friends to do the same. Like I just did.

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We don’t need more curators

Facebook has almost 1.8 billion users. Then there’s Linkedin with around 470 million users. A huge subset of these folks spend much of their time curating [sharing] what others have said. Articles, quotes from famous people, blog posts, photos, videos, etc. That subset has to be close to 95%, when it comes to business users.

Curation is easy. And worthless

It’s literally a brainless function, because it can be done on autopilot. All you need is some freely-available software and BOOM… you can pump out what other people have to say. It’s easy. There’s no work required. No creativity needed. And that’s why we’re bombarded with it.

Because millions and millions of people curate, it’s of zero value. It has no value to the curator or the poor bastards who connect with them online. They’ve already seen what the curator’s sharing. It’s telling them nothing new. So, if the curator is a businessperson, fooled into using curation by some social media guru, it’s making the business owner and their business anonymous. Invisible. Boring.

We have an opportunity to share what we think with the world, which past generations couldn’t have imagined. Don’t blow it, by using your social platforms for retweets, automation and quotes.

Blow it?

Yes. By sharing what others have to say, rather than what you have to say, you send 2 extremely negative messages to whoever sees your content:

  1. You have nothing to say.
  2. Alternatively, you do have something to say, but lack the courage to say what you think.

Both of those messages are extremely toxic.

My message here is simple: Use your voice to connect. Tell us what you think. Don’t make a noise. Make a difference.

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Do we know who you are and what you stand for?

There are bloggers I have seen online over the past 5 years or more, yet I know nothing about them.

Sure, I know they retweet social media gurus and a-list bloggers. I know they write the same me too blog posts, agreeing with whatever the popular opinion is on a topic. But I know nothing about them.

I have no idea what they think.

What they stand for.

What they are excited about.

What their story is.

This got me thinking

Unlike previous generations, we leave an easy to follow stream of activity behind us online. Our kids or grand kids will be able to see if we stood for anything. They will see of we were ditto heads or if we had the courage to express ourselves. They will see if we were leaders or if we were sheep.

Maybe that’s something to think about, the next time you feel compelled to share your guru’s latest thoughts… rather than your own.

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