My Digital New Year’s Resolutions

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!


  1. JT — This is all real good stuff. On point #10 please do share more, because if you tweet more links to your blog, I will cer­tain­ly read it more often.

    On point #9, I am tak­ing all of my Face­book pho­tos from 2007 — 2008, and using to make a pho­to book of the best ones.

    On point #7, let us know what tools you find.

    On points #5 and #6, come vis­it us in SF / attend an SF Music Tech sum­mit + and get to LA more.

    On point # 2 — do this as much as you can! We enjoyed your mis­sive sent to Pho. You are for­tu­nate you can do it. Some of us work­ing in the mix can’t always blog about music 2.0 as open­ly we would like. I want to hear what you have to say in your blog, and I may even point to it. I’m going to get cor­po­rate blog­ging soon at this link —

  2. A lot going on in this post, JT. I’m only halfway through it but I want to think about what you’ve said and digest some of this more carefully.

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