Social networks and social media are weird. I'm deleting my Facebook account, but I'm not just deactivating it – I'm going post by post, comment by comment, through my entire 10 year history and deleting each agonizing thing one at a time.

It's insane. I'm insane. And Facebook knew I was insane way before I did.

Something weird happens on modern day social networking applications and websites that I never experienced on previous generation forum type software. I'm sure this phenomenon has a name; I'm sure folks smarter than me knew about what I'm about to describe years and years ago; now that I've recognized it, I'm going to try to outline it here so that I never repeat myself.

I bet older generations had a version of this, too, but I bet it happened in person instead.


So, because applications like Facebook and Twitter are all about me seeing you, and because we've cemented our friendship with a formal request and acknowledgment, and because I choose to follow you, I think I have a relationship with you that I never really had. I see your posts, photos, and updates, and I think "this person wants me to engage with them" when, frankly, that's unlikely to ever be the case.

The reason I know this, is because I can look through every single comment and post on 10 years worth of Facebook content, see that there are people who I frequently respond to, who do not respond back. Ever.

I'm not mad that you don't like or comment. It doesn't bother me. The problem is that algorithmic platforms like Facebook and Twitter DO, and they use the patterns of our relationships (or the anti-patterns of our non-relationships) against us, without telling us exactly how.


For example: I've basically forgotten about 99% of the things I've ever said online, usually instantly after hitting publish, but Facebook will never forget. And they're able to calculate the intersection of times we've had interactions back and forth, over all of our online years, to identify that I like you more than you like me. I literally like your posts and comments more than you like mine, and Facebook has always known this.

It's fine that they know this, I guess. What's not fine is that they don't say that they know this, and that they use that knowledge to manipulate our entire interaction with their platform, by: weighting posts and comments higher or lower so that we are more or less likely to read or engage with them; by showing us ads that might make us feel better or worse based on things our friends bought or sold; by tricking us into thinking that by me saying "congratulations" to you that you'll remember that I'm still back here working towards accomplishing something that maybe you'll congratulate me back for later too. Jesus.

None of this is about privacy settings, or who stole my information, or who gave my information to what advertisers, because I gave it away for free first. The risk was mine to take, and I took it; I have no one to blame but myself, so just like I'm responsible for whatever the online version is of me that Facebook and Twitter and everyone else think you should see, I need to be responsible for taking that power away from them.


Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are our worst friends. They know us at an intimate level, at our best and at our worst, and they use everything we say and do against us…

I want to see what exactly they're using against me, and what they gain from it. Pennies? Dollars? What does it cost them to host my 600 images, and what do they gain from me allowing their advertisers to scan through those images to identify that I own several LEGO sets, an XBOX, have 2 dogs, and so on.

I want control over their narrative. I want to be able to tell them "I don't actually like my XBOX; I only play 1 game, and it's buggy as shit, so it sucks and all that mining that you did was worthless and you're wrong."

I want to be able to say "I'm only friends with this person here because I think declining their request feels unkind, so even though I'd prefer they not have access to everything, and even though I'd prefer to not have to go through the work of blocking them but still somehow being friends, they aren't actually anyone I am friends with."


Obviously you and I are friends; besties, even. I mean, you've made it this far, right? But a lot of other people read something I post, don't get what they expected from me, think that I'm crazy or whatever, and don't engage. Maybe you unfollowed me. Maybe they mute me. I'll never know.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are too much like real life, in all the bad ways that make us insecure, neurotic, and just a bit foolish because it's not even real life or whatever.

Lots of folks online are not my friends, but current generation social platforms are built to show us the best of what we asked to see. I actually do think it feels pretty natural to engage in conversations you find interesting from people you care about, regardless of how much they care about you back.

This is basically how folks like my mother like and repost everything that they see. Yes, it's process addiction. But it's also the best way they have available to them to use the platform everyone they care about is on in a way that enables them to "prove how much they care" a million times a day.

It's super weird, and really unhealthy, but kinda cute, I guess?


So, that shit stops now for me. I'm done commenting on stuff. I'm done liking stuff. I mean… I'll like it, but I'm just going to assume that you know I like it because you know I like you, and support you, and want to see you succeed. And if you need validation from me, or miss hanging out, I expect you'll reach out and say so.

I want to double down on work, on real life stuff, and solving bigger harder problems. No more likes or comments. Just work, results, and healthy positive reciprocating caring relationships. Hopefully, that's with you. 💜

In a way, this all feels wrong, which I think is why it's probably right. If less is more, than nothing is most, and silence is golden. Peace, and humptiness forever. 😶

Welp, let's give this a shot.

JJJ
Here's my bike!

There lots of things I really like about Gutenberg, and some things I really don't like very much yet.

There are quite a few little UI & UX quirks, enough where it's not easy to identify, verbalize, communicate, test, iterate, repeat for each individual one of them. Plus there's the self-doubt that maybe it only affects me, maybe it's that way by design, or only temporary, or whatever. It's like my internal FUD meter is saying "you can't be the first person to notice this and this and that and this and…"


To start, I don't like that control + a doesn't select everything; it only selects text in the current block. There is no way to select-all, and using shift or control alone to try another way actually highlights DOM elements in weird ways, so that's even worse.

I also don't like that it feels like stuff is happening all over the place. The "Save Draft" button keeps changing text to "Saved" and the "Publish" button goes disabled when that happens. There's all this activity in the upper-righthand corner of the screen.

That by itself isn't a problem, but Gutenberg has me typing long-form at the very bottom-left now, so my eyes are naturally in the very lower-left watching stuff animate in the upper-right. It's really distracting.

Here is Paul the Nugget Puppy

My friend Jeff has covered his experience with Gutenberg already, and I share some of his thoughts with images. Placing media isn't easier than it was before, and it's harder to undo because certain blocks can be converted into other types of blocks, but not to media, and there isn't anything in the UI that subtly hints me towards why that is.

It is possible to turn text blocks into other text blocks, but it's also possible to turn media blocks into headings. Doing this removes the image, though. Where did it go?

To better understand what blocks are available (and what makes them different for each use-case) users need to be willing to go looking. That's normal. I'm trying not to be deliberately obtuse, or play dumb, or pretend like I can't learn or adapt or whatever. There's just a lot going on in many places.


I do really like the separation between the "Document" and an individual "Block", and the way that meta-boxes have been reimagined as an inspector of sorts. I think that makes a lot of sense, and translates really well to WordPress and editing content like this.

Weird triangle between two rectangles

I also like that updating posts finally happens without refreshing the page. It's such a small but amazing thing. WordPress plugins have tried to implement this in different ways over the years, but it's always been a problem for other plugins because of how they need to hook into save_post and related actions.

Writing this post has generated 211 revisions so far. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I suppose it's better to have more than less.

I've spied a few CSS issues here and there, and noticed that the way Gutenberg handles focus is a little bit different in different browsers.

And some things that are good ideas just end up looking off, like the way the current top-level admin menu aligns with the status update bar.


Lastly, I'm afraid of how mucked-up my post_content is now:

You thought "Paste from Word" was bad?

See that weird <!--stuff-->? Gutenberg uses that to understand what blocks are what, and it's before & after every block in your post now. This is not good, but a few folks think I'm a little crazy for saying so.

This is WordPress intercepting our authored content and leaving it's signature hidden around every paragraph.

WordPress is crossing a line that it can't uncross, and folks who care about the longevity and authenticity of their authored & published works will choose the platform that continues to uphold the standards that WordPress has upheld it's entire life so far.

I'm not trying to say that formats can't change, or that anyone will notice, or that they'll even care if they do. Symbolically, this marks the end of the what-you-wrote-is-what-gets-savedWYWIWGS era, and we embark down a new path where what-you-wrote-comes-surrounded-by-hidden-junkWYWCSBHJ. WYSIWYG is way easier to say; let's just stick with that? 😅


Gutenberg isn't about writing, not yet anyways. Today, it's about competing with next-generation publishing platforms, and creating a new economy of pre-programmed block-types to write the HTML that writers didn't want to learn or repeat. It's about a first-class interface for developers to build elaborate experiences around the latest and greatest <p> tags and other stuff too.

In a lot of ways, Gutenberg is not for me, yet built exactly for me. I don't write a lot of short blog posts, but I do enjoy crafting great WordPress experiences and improving WordPress itself whenever the community agrees.

If I had to sum up my very first impression of using the latest version of Gutenberg, there is too much to discover without a high enough reward for discovering it. It's kinda more of the same – instead of toggling between Visual & HTML modes, I'm toggling block-types. Instead of wondering what shortcodes do, I still wonder what most things do because I only ever use a small subset of what's available.

I can't easily undo what I did wrong, because I haven't learned what's right.
I can't easily convert my mistakes into successes.
I can wipe the slateblock clean and try something different.
I can keep trying and learn how it all works.
I canwill continue contributing to it's success however & whenever I'm able. 💙

Are you a software developer?

Do you run macOS?

Do you frequently checkout files from third party code repositories?

Do you use an IDE like PHPStorm, Xcode, Atom, Netbeans, or something else?

Do you frequently run commands like npm install that reach out to the web and pull down a bajillion files you will literally never-ever open even if your life depended on it?

I do… and that’s why I block macOS Spotlight from indexing the parent directory to all of those files. It’s a dead simple and obvious thing to do once you think of it.

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We’re all pretty brilliant folks (especially you, since you’re reading this) and convincing us we could be more-brilliant about stuff isn’t always easy, especially anything that deals with our businesses, relationships, or visions for either or both.

We need evidence. We need proof that if we’re going to change up our strategies or approaches with our money-makers, they will actually work and not be another experiment or “valuable learning experience.” I mean, I like learning new things probably more than most people, but I am not a fan of re’learning something I already thought I knew.

The world is round – I don’t want to learn that it’s not – and CaboPress will teach you how to navigate the WordPress business world regardless of its shape. Here’s how I navigated CaboPress this year.

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Paul’s birthday this year wasn’t particularly eventful. Usually we try to do something special for him on his special day, but there’s been so much happening around the house and in the coming weeks that yesterday just ended up being a normal day, with some extra treats and puppies sleeping in the bed to celebrate instead.

He’ll have an eventful weekend in Ann Arbor, though, and he’ll have a week’s vacation with our friend’s dogs all next week, too.

Sorry, buddy. I promise we’ll give you a full day’s puppy-snuggles ASAP. 💜