I really need to sort out how I use the Internet in 2009. It sounds crazy, but 2008 was a trial by ordeal for me as I tried more new web products than I ever have before in an effort to better understand the work that’s being done out there, and to have opinions about it. It’s no mean feat, and it’s rarely rewarding. I want to change that next year. How will I do it? I’m going to make a list!
- Find a lifestreaming service that works for me. Lifestreaming services ought to condense my web experience and make it simpler. So far, it hasn’t. Contrary to what Robert Scoble might say, FriendFeed isn’t the answer. It’s a start in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the noise issue most people have and, without a built-in Twitter client, my responses often go unnoticed by my followers. It’s the sort of thing many of my online friends have signed up for, but few use. That’s bad.
- Speak my mind on “music 2.0.” on both the web and publicly. I unsubscribed from Wired’s Listening Post blog this week. Why? Because not only is a terrible music blog, it’s also a bad tech blog. (OMG! As I wrote this I found that they shut down the blog on Friday. It’s a Christmas miracle!) Elliott Van Buskirk and Scott Thill seemed to copy and paste all the PR email I delete. It’s not just them. It’s endemic to music and tech blogs these days. Is it asking to much for anyone to be genuinely critical of free, on-demand music? Could it be that there are better ways to get people to engage music content on the web that don’t involve selling music? I think the answer is yes.
- Write more about music and not just the music/internet nexus. Part of the problem of writing about this stuff critically is that people mistake you for being a ‘hater,’ which applied broadly, means it’s not fair to criticize anything. If you criticize music 2.0, then you must hate music. I think the perfect way for me to counteract claims like this is to actually start writing about music again. I probably wrote my last real review in 2007. I need to be more diligent about spending time thinking about music for its intrinsic worth and not just strategizing around music content.
- Play more. As I wrote above, I need to find what works for me. When I do, I need to use them for fun and for storytelling, and not just as raw material for better ideas and implementations. I’ve done some of that in the past year, but want to do more of it.
- Participate more. Something I’ve found since I started using Twitter regularly is that social networks have gotten much more useful since they — and their users — have matured. The quality of information and the people contributing it have increased dramatically. When you factor in improved search functions across various social media platforms, you’re apt to connect to someone who really knows what they’re talking about. Same goes for real life. I want to be more involved in conversations about where the music industry is headed as someone who’s deeply invested in
- Find new sources. This goes hand-in-hand with #5. I know there are plenty of people out there who gave up on music blogs when their favorite bloggers got hired into mainstream and digital jobs. I’ve followed some folks from the Stylus Magazine diaspora, like Jeff Weiss, but I trolling blogrolls hasn’t borne much fruit. I’ve read many accounts this year that blogging has gone flat, niche, and worse, but it doesn’t mean people aren’t doing great work out there. Food blogs are raging right now. Is music so moribund that people can’t even say intelligent, interesting things about it anymore?
- Treat this blog as a sandbox. When I hemmed and hawed about redesigning Blackmail Is My Life, I was fortunate to connect with Chris at ClickPopMedia. When I was unemployed in 2006, I started a project I didn’t finish. I really need to educate myself on WordPress and learn how to build a blog that incorporates new features like Google Friend Connect, Yahoo Media Player, and other powerful social elements without needlessly cluttering the site.
- Stop bothering with PR people, whenever possible. I know it’s a 2008 Techcrunch meme to bitch about PR, but there’s more than a kernel of truth to it. For every great and helpful PR, there are five spam artists. Most haven’t caught up to the speed of the Internet, despite the fact that Pitchfork has become the gold standard for PR. Let’s face it: the albums leak faster than they can mail them, if they ever mailed anything at all. What else is there really? Poorly written ad copy and some biographical details? Everything’s available online. Let’s move on.
- Get one of these. Take more photos. More importantly, take a photography class! One of my regrets from 2008 is that I didn’t take enough pictures. Helen and I went to seven weddings and I have just a handful of photos to remind me just how much fun we had all year. Granted, it’s hard to take pictures when you’re sweating (or falling) on the dance floor, but you get the gist.
- Share more. Or perhaps, share more effectively. This correlates to a number of my resolutions. Heck, it probably condenses five of them into one. I need to narrow content into categories, whether it’s a wedding or just a quiet dinner with friends. Both can be fun things to share, but it needs to be done right. If I abide by my new rules, Blackmail Is My Life will be a place not only for polemics, but will provide an overall picture of what I’m up to and with whom. Blogging shouldn’t feel like work, right? I feel like the only story I really told effectively online in 2008 was my marathon training. Between June and November I wrote about or recorded my mileage and marathon milestones all over the web, providing regular updates here on BMIML. I want to do that with more stories in 2009. I hope you’ll join me for them!
Here are ten digital resolutions I’m going to try to live up to in the New Year. Are you making any for yourself? Let’s do 2009 right!