John’s Tips, Tricks and Thoughts—July

I have been busy commissioning our new-to-us J/109, so lots of entries since we rolled out this new type of content last month.

This Month

I have written:

  • A lot on rigging, based on dressing and then stepping a brand-new mast.
  • Quite a few entries on tools I use and like.
  • A few entries linking to stuff I found interesting on the Internet.
  • A wide range of other stuff.

In all, some 80 new entries in the last five weeks.

Take a look, using the Old Twitter Feed button at the end of this post, but first, here are some thoughts on the experience to date:

Working Well

So far, I think this is worth continuing because:

  • A decent, although not amazing, number of readers are visiting the feed page.
  • I’m enjoying it.
  • It’s acting as my notebook of ideas for future articles.
  • I no longer have the nagging feeling that, since I had no quick way to share them, I was wasting so many of the lessons I learn on a pretty-much-daily basis—remember that doing dumb shit so you don’t have to is just one of the services we offer.
  • Creating the entries does not take me long, and fits into free times in my day that are too short to work effectively on articles, so this is not taking away from my real job: writing in-depth long-form articles.
  • Since they’re on a separate page, these entries don’t clutter up the site.
  • Being constrained to the 280-character Twitter limit makes me keep the entries short and focused.

Disadvantages

On the other hand, while it has worked out well as a tool to prove the concept, using Twitter and then embedding the resulting stream here at AAC has drawbacks, of which the most notable are:

  • There’s no way for you members to comment directly on entries, so we miss a lot of potential wisdom-sharing.
  • The entries don’t show up in searches of AAC.
  • The entries only exist on Twitter, so if anything changes there, the whole works could be lost.
  • Though I am hash-tagging entries, presenting them by subject—for example, adding a chapter of all the rigging tips to the appropriate book—is, while possible, not elegant.
  • There’s no way to send out an email digest of entries to members.
  • As our testing has shown in the past, but counterintuitively, posting more to social media brings in very few new members.

Version 2.10 (Updated 2nd August)

Given those disadvantages, I have created a new system running on AAC software and server that I think will have most all the advantages of, but solve the problems with, the old Twitter based system.

Comments

After checking out the old and new AAC feeds (buttons at the bottom of the page), please share your thoughts:

  1. Comment on entries in the old feed at the bottom of the page—really inelegant, sorry.
  2. Comment directly on the entries in the new feed—biggest reason we changed.
  3. Please also give us your thoughts (at the bottom of this article) on the AAC based new-version and what added features you would like to see—this is definitely beta test.
  4. Some specific questions on notifications:
    • How would you like to be informed of new content? Email seems to work well, but I’m guessing that no one wants an email every time I get a bright idea (or a dim one), since that could be several times a day.
    • How often? Weekly or monthly? My thinking is that if we went with monthly and I’m productive, like last month, 80 entries on one email would be overwhelming, but 20 a week would be OK (just)?
    • Of course, as always, there will be an opt-out option. I’m thinking that existing members would have to opt-in but new members would be automatically subscribed with the option to easily opt-out. What do you think?
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