Blogging is in transition.

Many of us who have practicing blogging for awhile are becoming incredibly aware of the limits of the web as a medium for communication.

We have so much inside ourselves that we want to communicate, but our ideas end up getting caught in a technology that hasn’t changed very much since I was a teenager.

Yes, blogging has definitely gotten more widgets — but the most important decisions I usually make on my blog is turning all of the little functions off. Essentially many of us are blogging in the same way that we did ten years ago. The only difference is how we get the blog posts out, which these days is mostly by Twitter.

I turned off the Facebook ‘Like’ button, because as much as I loved the large number on the top of my posts that resulted from people pressing it, the actual traffic to my site was negligible. This is because Facebook wants Facebookers to stay on Facebook where they can be shown ads and click ‘Like’ on photos of girls/boys they will never sleep with.

Regardless, all of the smart people I know are leaving Facebookanyway.

Blogging needs two things to make it more successful as a platform:

1. Bandwidth.

Bandwidth is a term that we cybernetic yogis use to convey the depth of an information transfer between two humans. F2F (face to face) is universally the highest definition, holograms are the next (but are kind of hard to find in the world right now — soon enough) next is 3d video, video, still photos, audio, and then finally text.

Blogging tends to find itself in one of the lowest bandwidth ranges — text. The good thing about text is the low bandwidth means that it can travel much farther and faster than higher-bandwidth creations. A tweet can be read by 5000 people instantly, a blog post by 2000, but a video will probably only be played by 200, and F2F only conducted with one person at a time.

This results in an ecosystem of how we interact on the web. As my blog grows in popularity, my threshold for F2F has grown with it. Whenever I say ‘Wheels down in X-city’ I commonly get dozens of requests to connect — hardly any I can answer because F2F takes an incredible amount of energetic power, especially if it’s a one-way conversation.

2. Dimensionality.

Dimensionality is how smart the blog is in relation to its readers. For example, not everyone who comes to my work is in a place where they want to read about cybernetic yoga. They might want to time-travel back to when I was writing about how to reduce your possessions to less than 100 things.

This is where the intelligence of the web itself needs to evolve, I’m not sure how much blogging or even my own ability to curate the content can correct for the huge variables involved in breadth of the knowledge that readers who stumble across this blog may have.

To generalize, my blog used to have some pretty solid content for 20-somethings who were uncomfortable with their jobs — but over time my content has shifted to a place where I imagine my core audience is centered on Silicon Valley futurists.

What if people who needed my ‘how to quit your soul-sucking job’ posts could get be shown that content instantly? What if the people who really needed to declutter a desk could be shown that content instantly? What if the people who want to learn mental cybernetics could be shown that content instantly?

A lot of the tension surrounding my blog right now is the fact that decluttering-desks people are accidentally stumbling across posts on mental cybernetics. Not everyone is in the same place, it’s a big leap from clutter to maintaining your 3rd brain.

I think blogging systems will need to learn to adapt to this level of dimensionality if blogging is going to evolve.

I’ve been blogging on Far Beyond The Stars since October of 2009, since then my strategy has changed a lot. I’ll take the rest of this post to point out some ways in which I’ve changed my blogging strategy.

1. Business strategy entirely F2F (face to face).

I used to get my blogging knowledge from places like Problogger and Copyblogger, which I’m not linking to, because after a few months of experimentation I realized that almost everything those sites teach you is wrong. Everyone still thinks those sites are popular because 80% of bloggers have been trained (like little blogging puppies!) to suck up to established authorities in the off chance that they get linked to by an ‘A-List blogger’. The reality is that when I was linked to by Problogger last month it resulted in a grand total of 34 click-throughs.

If I do need intelligent advice on getting traffic to my blog, I commonly will buy Corbett Barr three beers or some good Scotch and ask him his honest opinion about my blogging strategy. The next best thing to buying Corbett drinks is reading his blog.

The lesson here is that all of my learning these days is not being done from blogs, instead I’m reaching out to people who I respect in real life. The highest bandwidth is real life, so if you want to learn how to blog successfully, the #1 strategy that you can employ is to meet a successful blogger in real life. Obviously this is hard to do, I commonly get upward of dozens of requests for drinks when I land in any city.

Start by reaching out to bloggers who are around your same level and in your city. For example, one of the first bloggers I met up with was Ash Ambirge in New York — now we’re both rockstar bloggers. Why? Because we supported each other until we found success.

Getting access to a rockstar blogger/entrepreneur F2F is difficult, but can upgrade your success at an incredibly fast rate — if you’re open to their suggestions.

2. Stopped caring about stats.

When I first launched my blog, I was obsessed with how many people read my blog posts. I’d click on google analytics three times a day (even though it only updates once a day!) I know, it seems silly now. Anyway, now I don’t care about stats so much.

I’d rather have a small group of enthusiastic readers than a large group of confused readers.

When you write for the masses, you end up writing stupid posts that no one cares about. One of the most surprising elements of transitioning from writing about minimalism to writing about augmented humanity/the cybernetic yogi lifestyle is that my blog traffic has actually gone up (though, I’ve only checked it once this month).

Why is that? Because blogging success comes from pushing your own personal edge. Too many young bloggers are trying to write what they think other people want to read, instead of writing work that actually challenges themselves.

Culture exists on the fringes. The center is boring, and secretly everyone wants out of the mediocre middle.

3. Pushing audience interactions to higher levels.

Many blogs will encourage you to ‘join the conversation’ in a place called “The Comments”.

“The comments” is where your good ideas and time (your most valuable commodity) goes to die. The reason for this is no one actually sees comments, because it’s generally assumed by the majority of smart Internet users that the commenting section is a place where the low-life of the Internet go to play.

Many people go straight to the comment section of larger blogs and post a “me too!” comment, because Darren Rowse told them that posting comments on other blogs is the #1 way to build your blog audience on his aforementioned blog that should be re-titled Unproblogger.com

There are two more important ways to “join the conversation” (whatever that means.) These two ways are guaranteed you put your interaction in a space where others can actually see it.

1. Respond on Twitter. “The most awesome cybernetic yogi I know is@evbogue! Here’s a link to his blog post –> TK TK url” or perhaps “Wow,@evbogue has really gone off the deepend and I don’t even understand what he’s talking about anymore.” Can really do wonders for how many people see what your opinion is. This way all of your followers can see it, and check out whether I’m really awesome/lost it themselves and weigh in on Twitter. When your followers see you responding to creators on Twitter, they will learn how to respond to your creations on Twitter, thus bringing more attention to your work! Yay!

2. Respond on your blog. If you read something online that really blows your mind, one of the most powerful actions you can take is to respond on your own blog. This can be as simple as linking to a post “this post made me think.” or can be a 2,000 word exposé building on the awesomeness of the material that you’ve been reading. They call it The Web for a reason, there are hyperlinks connecting everything. If you avoid hyperlinking out from your blog, no one will ever know your blog exists.

Both of these are what I consider ‘high-level’ interactions on the web. You know how in the middle ages all of the kings and royalty had great parties in the castles while all of the serfs got to sit outside the castles and live miserable lives? Twitter and blogging = building castles. Dwelling in comments or on Facebook = rolling in mud while we giggle at you from the castles. The good thing about modern day royalty is you don’t need to be born into the castle to stay there, all you need to do is launch a blog or sign up for Twitter.

A good way to start using Twitter is to follow me, and then follow everyone I follow. It’s a small list. This will instantaneously flood your brain with useful information, and you can change your follow list from there as time goes on and you discover more awesome people on Twitter.

Oh! As many of you know I’ve moved most of the deeper writing here to a subscription-based Letter.ly. The reason I did this is because I began to notice that my writing was going too deep for general consumption. Random folks were stumbling across blogs on mental cybernetics which burned their brain in a really bad way.

The price of the Letter.ly is going up from $20 to $25 a month tonight, February 1st 2011, at midnight EST. If you subscribe before then, you’ll be locked in at the lower rate.

You can subscribe to the Letter.ly here. Everyone who signs up for the Letter.ly will receive a free copy of my new e-book tentatively set to launch on February 15th 2011. The book will cost more than $20, but I haven’t settled on a price yet.

[Update: The E-book is tentatively called “Second Self” and is on creating a “second self” digital presence that will take care of your physical body.]

 

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There’s been a lot of uncertainty in my life lately, which has made me think about the ways in which I’ve practiced in order to exist in a state of uncertainty without allowing situations to develop into negative situations.

The world is changing at a rapid pace. I know this because I see how technology is accelerating our cultural evolution with my own eyes. I know because when I look within myself I see how fast my internal sense of being is shifting.

I know because when I look outward I see people who can breathe, and I see those who are locking up in face of change.

The ones who can breathe are thriving. The ones who aren’t trained in embracing change are locking up, shutting down, and turning off.

Our first reaction to uncertainty might not always be the most healthy, or even beneficial. We want to search for security when faced with an overwhelming change, security often looks like a box. We throw ourselves into the box, the idea of what we’re supposed to cherish as ‘being safe’ as a way of protecting ourselves.

The box isn’t protection though, it’s a temporary prison. The change is still going around outside, you’ve just shut down your senses so you can’t feel it anymore.

The box can look like many things. The box can be trying to make plans to get past the fact that you have no idea what will happen. The box can be reacting in anger, jealousy, rage, placing blame on others, the external world, for allegedly causing you harm. The box can be ignoring that there’s any uncertainty at all. The box can be as simple as saying ‘it’s not my job to deal with the situation that’s in front of me.’

The longer you’re in the box, the more it will hurt when you come out.

The reality is that no one is ever causing you harm. The world is fluid, and change is the only constant. When we cling, to an idea, to an expectation, to a person, to a place, we simply end up causing ourselves more suffering.

We’re told by society everywhere, on the TVs, movies, books, etc that we need to control our lives. Everything needs to be in nice, clean, orderly rows. A job is supposed to be a job, a man is supposed to be a man, an email is supposed to be an email, a definition is supposed to be a definition, a marriage is supposed to be forever, and a btw why not go get a house in the suburbs and a two cars for the garage?

That was never our destiny, we know that because when we try those things they don’t feel right. Security makes us tired.

When we cling to the idea of security it makes us want to drink an entire bottle of Jäger and puke on ourselves. Security makes us want to turn off our Internet and throw that glass vase our aunt gave us that we didn’t want against our kitchen wall.

I’m writing this from a place of existing in uncertainty, I know because these days I’m not sure where I’ll be sleeping at night. I jumped on a plane to Seattle, and ended up in Boulder –which ended up being the best last minute decision in my life.

The reality of uncertainty is that it is actually the most rewarding state for humans to exist in. In an uncertain world, days can seem like weeks or months in the space/time continuum. In an uncertain world, ideas come at the speed of light. In an uncertain world, you can put your feet down in any city without a plan and you’ll survive, thrive, and discover the depths in yourself and others.

In a certain world, years can blink past in an instant. For me, the last month or so of uncertainty has felt like one thousand years.

 

[Status Update:] Last week I made a brief mention that the minimalism movement was coming to a close(ahem, “Fuck Minimalism“.) This caused a whole bunch of interesting reactions from all over the web –dozens of blog posts, thousand of tweets. My favorite is Josh’s well-thought-out essay on how the leadership of movements shift over time.

Some complained of not having a voice in the conversation. If you don’t have a voice, it’s because you aren’t on Twitter and/or don’t have your own blogging platform. No problems, only solutions: get on Twitter so you have a voice — not just here, but in the world. A tweet can be 10x the power of a blog comment. A blog post can be 100-1000x the power of a blog comment.

This blog doesn’t have comments because I want to encourage you to use more powerful broadcast channels to communicate.

I’m only able to engage in certain mediums (mainly Twitter) because I spend most of my day in the world learning and engaging with real human faces and bodies.

The biggest question for many people seems to be simple: if minimalism is over, why are we still living out of backpacks and having a great time? I’ll attempt to answer that question in this blog post.

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the circles I frequent about human 2.0, cyborgs and augmented humanity. For awhile I decided to try and call this new type of human a cyborg, but the problem with using that word to define a movement is as @mikeschu said: “it brings up images of Robocop.”

People don’t want to look like machines, so the term cyborg (while more correct than you would think) alienates them and you.

So, I’m shifting gears and turning to the term Eric Schmidt (the soon to be former CEO of Google) used at DLD2011: augmented humanity. We’re essentially still humans, it’s just that some of us have access and the ability to use superhuman mental tools, and others are being left behind or caught up in the noise.

Truthfully, augmented humanity looks very much like regular humanity. All of the changes are happening in the backend.

I’ve been delving deeper into the implications of augmented humanity on the Letter.ly. As I noted earlier on the blog a few times, I can only really talk about surface information here on the public blog. Teaching advanced mental cybernetics requires a commitment from both the teacher and the student –the uninitiated can be damaged by the information overload.

Here’s a brief quote from Kit Eaton‘s Fast Company article on Schmidt’s talk to bring you up to speed on the huge changes taking place in how we interact with our world. The entire article is not long if you want to learn more.

From Fast Company: “Computers, Schmidt thinks, can, when used ubiquitously and interactively and with cloud-like access to remote supercomputer powers can give us “senses” we didn’t know were possible. “Think of it as augmented humanity” he suggested.”

[Please note that Eric Schmidt talks about all of these changes taking place “in the future” to be safe (so people don’t panic about Google’s tremendous power over our culture — IMO a good influence.) Reality is that for a large and growing percentage of us these changes have already taken place or will very soon.]

One of the key points that Schmidt brought up is that children now only have two states of being: asleep and online. There are no new disconnected humans being brought into this world — kids are being wired in from an incredibly early age to be part of collective consciousness. We will be blown away by the tremendous power that children have over the world — my generation’s power over the Internet will pale in comparison to the next.

We can try and run from this idea –and many are running. We can turn off the Internet, put our fists in our ears and scream “lalalalala” in an attempt to deny that we were assimilated into a world-wide super-organism.

The problem is that denying it is just going to make your life miserable, because increasingly the people who are fluent in the language of modern cybernetics are racing past those who are not in their ability to achieve amazing things.

The ability to achieve amazing things using the expanded mental tools available to augmented humanity are directly related to why we stopped caring about physical objects.

The reality is that you didn’t become minimalist because you wanted to, you became minimalist because of human evolution.

The adoption of technology gave you instant access to everything, instant knowledge of any location, instant ability to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world began to make stuff look like tremendous burden. This is the shift that Amber Case describes in her Ted Talk from physical tools to mental tools.

So we just got rid of it all and took off for a world-wide adventure the likes of which humanity has never seen.

This is why I’m taking The Art of Being Minimalist off the market on February 11th 2011, because it simply isn’t accurate anymore. It was at the time, but we’ve evolved past the understanding that I had when I wrote the e-book a year ago.

Anyone living out of a backpack traversing the world, exploding minds and bodies in this new world of endless ideas isn’t a minimalist at all. You’re an augmented human, a hybrid child of technology and biology.

…and you’ve got some crazy potential to do amazing things. I can’t wait to see what you’re up to next.

You’re really fraking beautiful too.

There are three subscription options for this blog now.

1. (the best) is to follow and interact with me on Twitter.

2. (kind of dated option in this day-in-age) is to sign up for email updatesor RSS.

3. (the deepest) is to sign up for the Letter.ly which requires a commitment. The Letter.ly delves deep. Right now the monthly subscription, but it will go up to $25 at midnight EST on February 1st 2011. Anyone who signs up now will be locked in at the $20 rate unless they unsubscribe.

I’ll be sure to let you know a few hours in advance if you follow on Twitter.

The best way to understand my ideas is not to just follow me on Twitter, but follow everyone I follow too. This action taps you into a collective mind that will bring you up to speed much faster than a single mind can ever hope to accomplish.