The new astroturfing.

“The Russian ad scandal has captured lawmakers’ attention in a way Facebook’s previous political crises — from allegations of bias in its Trending column to its role in spreading fake news — have not. It has crystallized a trio of individual fears — Facebook is too big, has too much influence, and cannot effectively monitor itself — into one big expression of all of them.

Source: Facebook’s nightmare scenario is unfolding in Washington

Ditto for Google, IMO, and I say that as a devout user of Google services. So much power and influence is consolidated in organizations that have built their empires on the assumption that they’re a neutral platform. But when you have global reach and tools that anyone can leverage, regardless of where they are in the world, it’s a target that’s ripe for social engineering.

It’s astroturfing on an unprecedented scale.

Why are people choosing WordPress in 2017?

I got into WordPress ten years ago. At the time, the choices for building a website were pretty limited.

You could use a WYSIWYG builder and upload it somewhere (cumbersome); you could use a website service (ad-supported, limited features, ugly); or you could use a CMS (complicated, but doable).

Out of all the CMSes out there, WordPress was the easiest to get started with. But it was never truly easy. It was just relatively easy compared to the other popular CMSes like Joomla and Drupal.

What does the future of WordPress look like?

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the future of WordPress being pulled in two directions.

On one hand, you have the DIY crowd served by services like Wix and Squarespace and GoCentral.

On the other hand, you have the web pro crowd who want a website development framework to build solutions for clients (or for themselves).

This morning, on my way to WordCamp Toronto 2017, my girlfriend raised a point about this. She asked if hanging my hat on WordPress — something that’s done well for me so far — was still a good idea.

“Why should a non-techie choose WordPress when there are options like Squarespace and Wix that are easier to use?”

If my True North is to help non-techie users get online, should I still be putting all of my eggs in the WordPress basket?

Spoiler: WordPress wasn’t my first choice.

I got into WordPress not because I wanted to write code, but because I wanted to build websites. I like to use existing tools to build functional solutions for myself, or for the people that I’m helping.

For a while I swore by Greymatter and TextPattern. Then a friend introduced me to WordPress.

WordPress was my go-to for a long time, because for a long time, WordPress was the best choice.

But things have changed. Especially in the last few years.

Keep reading…Why are people choosing WordPress in 2017?

A List Apart returns to its roots.

We have no beef with networks like Twitter or Facebook, or with companies like Apple and Google that currently dominate our communal digital space. We just think diversity is about expanding and speaking up—not consolidating and homogenizing.

Source: New A List Apart wants you! · An A List Apart Article

I’ve been a casual reader of A List Apart for the last decade, give or take. I’m excited to see that they’re bucking advertising in favour of returning to their roots as a community-driven publication for web professionals.

They’re covering their costs through Patreon, which I tend to think of as a nifty hybrid of subscription service / pay-what-you-can donations / premium membership.

Living below your means puts you in a powerful position.

Living below your means and running a profitable business with a strong future puts you in a powerful, powerful position.

Source: When life changing money, isn’t… – Wil Reynolds – Medium

Good reading and perspective on value systems and how to make judgment calls about what’s really important in life, particularly in regards to finances. It also reminds me of the “profit first” TEDx talk:

TL;DR = From whatever you get, subtract your profit, and the difference goes towards covering your overhead. If you can’t cover your overhead, you either need to reduce it, or you need to reduce your profit. It’s your call to make.

I started applying this philosophy to my student loan payments this year. Rather than making small payments each month I committed to making large payments so that I could pay it all off in a shorter amount of time.

Operating without debt, operating without massive overhead, putting profit first… all of that puts you in a powerful position. And I’m not quite in that position yet, but I’d like to get there.