Your little slice of digital heaven

Animations student Joscha van Deijk knows how to draw an ubercool cartoon. This king of cult is a walking library of modern entertainment who can translate his passion to the drawing boards.

By daylight, Sander Ritman helps the elderly. When the sun sets, Sander roams the bar of Amsterdam with his guitar and poems. Students of the University of Amsterdam recently awarded the gifted storyteller as most popular poet.

They’re two of my most creative friends. Guess what I asked them to do?

I love to surround myself with persons who have creative minds and an entrepreneurial spirit. People who do stuff, who want to share stuff. Almost everybody loves some attention for his work, let alone feedback. So I tell those hip folks a blog is a perfect platform for that.

This article will function as a personal standard piece on your blog as a platform. From now on, whenever a friend or foe starts a blog – I’ll send him this post to get started. It’s a work in progress, so your suggestions are more than welcome.

Maybe you’re a more advanced blogger and this post tells you nothing new. In that case, see it as a holy duty to share your knowledge in the comments.

First question: WHY would you want to publish on the web?

I could go on forever telling you why you should want to publish on the web, but let’s sum it up in two points.

  • You meet like-minded people, some of them can change your life (job offer, best friend)
  • Publishing leads to more creativity, an audience works stimulating

A blog as a platform

One of the best-known personal branding experts in geek country is Chris Brogan. He recently wrote a post titled “If I started today“. You’ve guessed it right, he describes what he would do when today was his first day on the social web. One of the most important remarks in Brogan’s piece is his determined advice to use a blog as the platform for all your online activities. Based on that assumption, I wrote this post.


Amsterdam blogs, do you? (Photo by Boris, cartoon by Hugh)

Why a social network doesn’t suffice

I know a girl who makes beautiful drawings, she publishes them on Flickr.
A curly acquaintance is an aspiring film maker, I regularly watch his work on Vimeo.

Though the decision to publish their work on a dedicated network is a smart one, they’d get more from aggregating it on a blog. Here’s why:

  • Unlike a profile page on say, Flickr, you can give a blog its own face. The possibilities for customization are endless.
  • There’s hardly a technical barrier for a blog. Every visitor grasps what you’re doing there – whether it’s your little brother, grandma, professor, or a potential client. A Vimeo page might look quite abstract to them.
  • Like Loren Feldman said at BLOG08: “The most important thing in your digital life is your personal blog. Not Facebook, not any of the stupid groups you belong to. Your blog is your little slice of heaven and nobody can fuck with you there. [..] So connect with your niche and put all your energy into it”.
  • Conversations are scattered all over the web. Your admirers comment on a Flickr page, Facebook wall, and Twitter account. Aggregate them on your blog to collect all the feedback and praise. Read here how.

What belongs where

My sister is currently shooting a documentary in Nepal. Every once in a while, she writes a lengthy blog post and enriches it with photos from her Flickr account.

Here are some other tips on how you can aggregate your online creations at your personal platform, your blog.

I tweet so I exist
Resist the temptation of posting short updates on your blog. That’s microblogging, so save it for Twitter. Only post articles that really define you and contain your unique knowledge. Telling folks you had lunch with your best friend isn’t gonna get you any RSS subscribers. Put it up on Twitter and aggregate those messages in your sidebar with Twitter Tools. This plugin also automatically notifies your followers whenever you’ve posted a new article.

Sacha Post
My friend Sacha Post making photos in a church in Monselice

Shooting life?
Upload your photographs on Flickr. If you want to include just one picture, browse to the photo page and click on “All Sizes”. There’s the code you’ll need. You can also make a cool slideshow and embed it in your posts. Share Flickr photos in your sidebar with the specially designed badge.

Place your videos on either YouTube or Vimeo. The first one can be considered to be the international standard, the second is the more artsy alternative. Use Viper’s Video Quicktags to publish them on your blog.

The list is rather long…

Aggregate and add value with articles

Aggregate all your digital publications in your little slice of digital heaven. Then add value by writing thoughtful blog posts in which you share specific knowledge about your work or passion. And most of all, don’t hesitate to contact me when you’ve any questions. I’m always looking forward to meeting new people who have a passion for what they do.

14 thoughts on “Your little slice of digital heaven”

  1. @Floris, that was exactly what Barack Obama was thinking until his account got hacked ;-)
    Seriously though, don’t you ever see yourself blogging because Twitter satifies all your publishing needs?

  2. Great read. Personally, I think the blog can do A LOT for artists (of any kind) because it helps them to get organized. Let’s say you are a musician, where is your focus than? You will want to be active on Facebook, MySpace (obviously), LastFm, YouTube (etc.) and you want to email a lot.

    A blog tackles this focus problem, because this will be the place where all these things will come together, a little creative use of feeds can safe a lot of hassle (easy double/triple posting on all platforms) and you will be the one who will decide WHERE conversation takes place. On your blog, obviously. It’s your kingdom, or as Nalden would say:’You are your own dictator of your blog’.

    Saving time, not being part of the crowd, easily findable (Google loves blogs) and a great way to make your own place on the web as personal as possible.

  3. I see my slice of digital heaven as an online platform to endorse my presence: just an aggregation of my tweets, blogposts, photos and everything else.

    Just have to start building it now….

  4. This is a good post to send to everyone I know and my standard response to people who consider doing anything online. Good one!

  5. Good post. Summarizes everything you’ve said (and thaught me) so far.

    I find it quite difficult to keep track of all those creative assests in my digital life. I still have a lot of catching up to do, but how nice would it be to say: just visit my blog. There you can read my thoughts, see my video’s, watch my photo’s, scan my resume, check out the books I read, the music I listen to, the sites I surf, and follow me on everything what I do (and everything my friends do)…

    How far should we actually go? Do we have time to keep track? Or should we be doing something creative instead?

    Besides that, I totally agree that it’s very important to have a rich digital portfolio if you’re in the creative industry. And that it’s necessary to keep publishing for people to come back. Keep posting :-)

  6. Thanks for the kind words guys! I’m glad you added your remarks to the discussion.
    @Jerry and Sacha Post, I think it takes one afternoon, three cups of coffee and a good mood to make a good start. Trust me, it so much fun.

    Should I add a few words to the post, or some sort of time schedule?

  7. Just caught up with this – excellent piece EJ. I’ll be referring people to this.

    One point I think worth adding is that you should try to ensure that you own your own slice with a domain name that points to your chosen blog platform – and if you have the technical skill, (it’s not rocket science) host your own blog, to make sure that you really have the keys to the gates of heaven.

    The best domain name to choose? Probably your own name.

  8. King of Cult, that doesn’t sound too bad at all! Thank you for this post, I only just discovered it.

    By the way so far my blog has brought me some great comments, one comming from the story executive from The Incredibles and just this week I attended the opening reception of the Three Trees Make a Forrest exhibition in Paris, all thanks to my blog!

    I only wish I had followed your advice to start blogging a bit sooner.

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