My Plan for the Time of Crickets and Learning in Public

"planning poker warm up" by fsse8info is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

I finally did it! After months of slowly working towards opening up this weekend I finally put up my first public post. To a parade of... deafening silence. My one twitter follower actually unfollowed me after I tweeted out my post. Oof.

A rough start to be sure, but honestly about what I was expecting. No one starts out with audience, and going viral with your first piece of content is an unlikely event that gets ever more unlikely as platforms mature.

I need to put in the work to earn the trust of an audience, and this post is my current game plan to do that.

The Time of Crickets

Right now I am in the Time Of Crickets. I haven't earned an audience yet, which means it is a time of low pressure, and low consequences for trying things out. This is the time where I need to figure out what I want Kyle Unboxed to be.

These are a few ideas of the kinds of content I might try out here:

  1. More posts like There is Nowhere Like the Library, longer form reflections on ideas and the world.
  2. Shorter, succinct posts focusing on one small idea.
  3. Synthesizing and curating the ideas of an established expert as described by @dickiebush This is an effective strategy for borrowing credibility when you haven't built up your own yet.
  4. Fiction posts - I see this as my most experimental idea since I haven't ever seen a successful blog/newsletter based on fiction. But that could just be a bias from my sample of one. This might also be more appropriate for a separate project/website.

I'll be trying out a few of these different formats. But most importantly I just need to get some iterations in so I can start pattern matching what works, and what doesn't. It's tough to find writing time with a full time job but I would like to put out at least two posts a month. Ideally, I would like to write more but setting two posts as my baseline seems like a happy medium. That'll get me publishing while still having enough time to put out quality content.

All the while while trying things out I want to remember: You can do all the growth hacks you want, but no one is going to care about your writing if it isn't good. Bottom line for me is I want what I make to be good. The internet is already an ocean of mostly bad content. I'm wasting my time if I'm just adding more trash to the landfill.

Learning In Public

Learning in public has been a big trend on Twitter and for good reason. You can use learning in public both as a motivator to push past insecurities and perfectionism by allowing yourself to fail publicly. It is also a good way to start attracting and retaining an audience by building credibility in real time.

Learning in public also takes advantage of how Twitter works in a few ways. It is well known that individual people get way more engagement, follows, and interest than brands on Twitter. Learning in public centers the focus on what you as a person are doing and helps build your individual brand. In addition, showing "how you did it" is one of the best ways to get retweets and go viral on Twitter.

Given all the advantages I think it is worth trying it out. I do personally struggle with sharing things before I think they are "ready" so actively trying to #LearnInPublic might be a good counter balance to my natural tendencies.

And hey, maybe I'll help other people learn something along the way as well.