This year’s Thanksgiving Break was the first time that I didn’t write anything I was doing over the break. I’ve been doing so since 2012 so this would’ve been a decade of doing it.

Almost made it 🙃.

But there’s the thing:

  • As if it isn’t evident already, the frequency of my writing has decreased but the length of the articles has increased.
  • I’ve also changed the front-page of this site such that it displays more about what I’ve done in my career in software development and WordPress,
  • And it includes a list to my most recent articles.

Given a post this year would’ve been a consistent decade of writing a traditional holiday post and how that’s changed, I couldn’t help but think about how things have changed within the web development economy as well as the WordPress economy.

And no, this is not going to be a nostalgic, reflective post.

Social Media, WordPress, and Software

On January 1st of this year, I wrote about my attempt at introducing Digital Minimalism into my day-today. At the end of the month, I wrote a summary of how it went.

Throughout the rest of this year, I’ve read a number of books, articles (probably my favorite of the year), and listened to a range of podcasts all of which deal with the effect technology – specifically social media – has taken a massive foothold in our daily lives and in many more negative ways than one.

And I know what I’m writing is coming on the heels of some big changes we’re seeing across social media but this has more to do with my poor sense of timing than it does whatever is happening on the socials.

On Social Media

Anyway, as my life has changed (as I’m sure the rest of yours has changed in some ways), I’ve found that for as many acquaintances I’ve made online and for the handful of people who have truly become friends through social media, it’s simply different now.

What people talk about is different, how people talk is different, and the ways in which these services operate is different.

And, for the most part, none of it something I want having such a serious role in my life. Those who are friends have a way to reach me and we talk regularly.

Further, the dissemination of information about, say, what you’ve written for a niché group of people doesn’t have the same impact it once did. If my site analytics are to be taken accurately, then search engines are the way most people are reading this site. Granted, I’ve tried to structure this site this way, so that’s on me.

But, at this point, I think I’m just apathetic about the whole social media scene. Everything that’s going out on Twitter at this point is automated and it’s really just a syndication of new posts on this site. Similar things can be said of Facebook, and Instagram has more commercials than television did prior to cutting the cord.

On WordPress

This is a tougher one to figure out how to write about because it’s not so much how it impacts me but how the entire proverbial landscape of the application and it’s community has changed (and, for whatever it’s worth, I do think “WordPress community” is overused because I don’t even know how every person would consistently define that phrase. But I digress).

First, I definitely feel like one of the old guys or as of there’s The New Class coming up behind a bunch of us. And, for the record, I think that’s great. We need people constantly involved in this application, its development, and helping to push it forward so that the web goes forward as well. It’s say it’s become it a bit of a responsibility given its magnitude at this point.

Secondly, the ways in which we get both information and tutorials on how to achieve things within WordPress has changed.

  • Many, not all, newsletters have become nothing more than round-ups on news,
  • Tutorial-focused blogs seem to have decreased (but maybe that’s my incorrect perception),
  • Journalistic articles have become a bit of a hybrid between op-eds and statements of facts,
  • Comments are still comments (because the more things change, the more things stay the say),
  • And the overall way in which we stay updated about all the things™️ is to subscribe to various sites and newsletters that share all the things™️ many of which are all the things™️ being covered by different people in the same way.

Years ago, I’d decided that after writing certain pieces of commentary on what I observed, I was going to try to stick strictly to how to achieve X within WordPress using Y types of methods, functions, and code.

Yet here I am writing a bit of commentary.

Here’s the thing, though: I still enjoy sticking primarily to tutorials and how to achieve certain things with WordPress, I don’t know if there’s enough commentary anymore. Sure, it’s easy to find the hot take on what’s someone dislikes or flat out thinks is stupid, but it’s not as easy to find nuanced commentary on something – just one thing – that isn’t the binary of “this is dumb” or “I really love this” take.

Maybe it’s time to bring something like that back? I don’t know. And who would be the person to want to bear the brunt of that whenever it just stirs the pot for others to back channel discussions about the person. Is it even worth it?

Perhaps the cynic in me is showing. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve been around long enough to witness this kind of stuff happening long enough to know I want to keep my distance. Perhaps it’s both.

In any respect, how many sites and newsletters are really worth a subscription let alone a payment whenever they are repacking the same information with a slightly different design?

On Software Development

Finally, when I first started this site when I was out of school, I was writing a lot about web application development specifically using JavaScript and .NET (no joke!).

I’m still a fan of PHP, I enjoy the direct JavaScript is going, and I’m really enjoying a lot of the backend research, development, and work I’m doing in my day-to-day. Further, I’m enjoying working on certain side projects that allow mobile applications to communicate with WordPress via the REST API and giving us a truly headless integration.

But how much of this is something worth sharing? There’s no way to really know because:

  • On one hand, sharing it is valuable in the sense that it’s giving a greater example of solutions that can be integrated with mobile development and WordPress,
  • But it also dilutes much of what I’ve tried to build with this blog over the past few years.

Perhaps the second point is someone moot given that as WordPress grows, as do the ways in which it can be used. Even still, what used to be short form articles on how to achieve a thing has grown into much longer, multi-part articles. And, coming full circle, does the attention span that we’ve given ourselves through social media support such content?

So What Am I Going To Do?

In short, the verdict is still out. I’m interested in writing more but I want to find a balance between long form and short form articles. I definitely want to keep the site as centered as I can on WordPress and the variety of applications that it offers.

At the same time, there are things related more to PHP and related, advanced tooling that could make for great content and could feed back into what we do, as engineers, in our day-to-day when working with WordPress.

If you’ve read the blog long enough, you know that I’m not one much for making resolutions for the coming year but perhaps this is a goal for which I could aim and see how it’s received.

And maybe it’s worth pursuing a newsletter that differentiates itself from other content, as well. Then again that’s just another thing into which you’re asking to be put into your inbox.

We’ve all got our decisions, I guess.