13/04/2022

2022/04/13#p1
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A couple of days ago, I finally finished Oliver Burkeman 's Four Thousand Weeks having started it back in August. More like it finished rather than me completing it.

I "read" it through a combination of Kindle and Audible, listening whilst walking Jac or when running on the treadmill. It didn't always sink in. At one stage I backtracked in the Kindle app to make some notes, forgot, then (some time later) continued to listen in Audible only to realise ten minutes in that I'd heard that part before. Heard but not really remembered. So I continued, hoping it would sink in this time.

It's quite ironic that Burkeman writes about the modern frustration of reading a book, that people experience "a revulsion at the fact that the act of reading takes longer than they’d like." I, however, got more from the times when I did read as opposed to those where I listened. Why? Because I could actually take more time over it. It is easier to re-read a paragraph, passage or even a page than to muck about with your phone rewinding in the Audible app, trying to guess at how far back you should go to repeat the part you wanted to hear again.

I will also watch movies in Netflix while running, breaking them down into episodic chunks. There's something refreshing about watching something 20 to 30 minutes at a time. It gives you pause for thought, allows you to consider what's happening more deeply.

The past couple of runs have found me watching In Time, a 2011 offering which I thought looked interesting when suggested by the app. It's a typically dystopian vision of the future where time is the ultimate currency. At one point, 1 the lead character (played by Justin Timberlake) is told "you do everything too fast." The obvious sexual innuendo retort aside, it's a comment that fit perfectly with Burkeman's whole point: we race through life doing everything too fast, trying to organise our way to perfection to get everything done. But we can't, it's impossible — we're just too afraid to admit it.

We have time for what we have time for. Not a second more, not a second less. It reminds me of a scene in The Sandman graphic novel by Neil Gaiman: Death goes to collect a child who complains that his time was too short. Death replies: "You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less."

We can't do it all so we should enjoy what we have, savour it. Only then will it be truly time we'll spent.


  1. after coming into some time, doesn't quite sound the same as coming into money  

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2022/04/13#p2
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Ok Malik writes that he tries to "to turn back the clock and blog as if it was 2001." Quoting Jane Friedman, from her newsletter, he points out that blogging has changed:

"Instead, for blogging: Think about the potential value and longevity of the content ... If you have little or no consistency in what you’re writing, it’s difficult to create impressions or opportunities around the work you want to be known for—or earn a living from."

Why?

When did it become the norm that a blog is a marketing tool? What's wrong with simply using a blog as a way of airing your thoughts and feelings?

Blogging itself is still as it always was, it can be used as one sees fit without feeling constrained by the expectations of others. Blogs are, or can still be, personal endeavours, the value and longevity of which should be defined solely by the author.

Om mentions he has plans for the future that include "conversations and sociability" and I feel that blogs can still play a part here. The problem is that most people have been conditioned to default to social channels because they are easier to update and respond to. Maybe blogging needs an overhaul (I've tried to streamline my own processes as much as possible) especially with the social aspect. IndieWeb features aim to improve the connectivity between sites but are still too complicated for the average person to implement so something needs to happen — either a gross simplification of how things work or a rethink of the direction we're heading.

There has been a tendency to move towards smaller, more private forums but blogging can and should still play a part; it's down to how we approach them and how we can develop or enhance the tools. Something that's way beyond my pay grade but, in his book Indie Microblogging, Manton Reece explains it nicely:

What we don’t want to do is reinvent the wheel with a new social media-like protocol that isn’t rooted in the web and blogs. Others have tried to come up with new systems for microblogging that don’t use blogs. But the word “blog” is part of “microblog” for a reason. They differ only in length. By using blogs, we get to keep everything that is valuable about blogging. We get to keep existing blog software and IndieWeb-friendly formats.

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Alan Ralph says:Reply to Alan Ralph

I'm not sure when exactly the blogging-as-marketing bandwagon started rolling, but it must be at least a decade or more ago. I'm pretty sure it grew out of SEO and the idea of enticing people to your website purely to sell them on your 'product'. I use quotes because it is often just another form of multi-level marketing. The reason it has died back is partly because Google increasingly wants people to stay on Google pages and never visit another site, and partly because Facebook enticed a lot of folks with their various promises.

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Colin Walker replied:

The question was a little facetious 😉

T
Tom says:

PS - the links on your ebook page to the PDF, MOBI, etc are just self-referential links back to the page. If it is possible to download it, I can't figure out how. https://colinwalker.blog/words/

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Colin Walker replied:

Gah! Not sure how that happened. I'll fix it. Thanks.

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2022/04/13#p3
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Like Thoughts on Blogging, 2022 Edition · roytang.net...

"I think there's this misconception (driven by our world of late-stage capitalism maybe) that anything you do, even as a hobby, has to be done for the sake of extrinsic gains such as hits or views or likes or shares or even monetary profit."

Amen!

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2022/04/13#p4
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Thanks to Tom who noticed that the downloads links for "Words" were broken.

They are now fixed so the ebook can be downloaded again. I still need to fix the error I found recently but that's for another day.

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2022/04/13#p5
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The exercise is paying off, I bought a new pair of jeans a size down from what I've been wearing the past couple of years. Feels good.

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Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog