2023 has witnessed one of the most significant changes in the world of Content Creation for quite some time. If you hadn’t guessed I am talking about the emergence of AI. Be it the written word, imagery or music they have all been affected and I don’t think AI is going anywhere so it is a case of adapting.
As it stands, for some, AI might be the elephant in the room. So I thought I would talk about it first and share my perspective and involvement:
Images and Graphics
Images with real-life people
AI and my writing
I also feed my (as yet unnamed) AI pal a blog post for it to generate short social media ideas, it acts as my publicist promoting my writing more effectively than I can. (Is that the most British sentence I am going to write in the blog!) However, I don’t have any plans to publish blog posts entirely written by AI, why would I? After all, I write blogs because I enjoy it.
AI and my images and Graphics
I have begun to use AI tools to generate images and graphics for the blogs. I will, when I have got a firm grasp of them myself, write some blog posts about some of these Apps I am using in the Apps section of the blog. AI is great for creating an image that can match your colour scheme or produce unique visuals that no photographer could ever see never find capture on film.
Also, I will use my own photographs in my content creation when suitable and images from public sources (and I will get better at remembering to credit the photographers, not needed I know, but it is the right thing to do).
The dark side of AI
As with everything else in life, AI can be a valuable tool that can inspire writing or or produces stunning fantasy and other genres of imaginative images. Unfortunately there is a dark side to it as well. At the same time as content creators are achieving spectacular results, the topic has already come up of those with malicious intent who plan to misuse AI, such as fabricating photographic evidence of wrong doing, particularly targeting those in the public eye. However, blaming AI for this is akin to blaming a car for being driven by a drunk driver.
What Does A Content Creator Do?
In the professional world a content creator is responsible for creating written word, images, videos and social content to promote a brand or organisation. They would be expected to know their audience inside out and be up to date with the latest developments in social media practices as well as industry trends for the business they work for. Great communication skills are a given as they might be working with a wide range of colleagues. Of course, that is a content creator in the world of work.
How Do I Start Content Creating?
The minute you begin a blog or create a Professional Instagram account, you become a content creator, unlike the professional setting you are your own employer so to speak and you chose what content you want to create. It is actually one of those positions that you can begin as an amateur, prove you can do the job and become a professional. The moment you are paid for a post or are sent a product to review you are on the ladder to becoming a professional.
Content Creation Topics
Now we have got the elephant in the room out of the way. What am I going to be talking about when it comes to Content Creation? Well, you’ve probably heard the surgical saying: See one, do one, teach one (at last on TV). That is sort of my plan here. When I stumble upon effective content generation practices that work well, I’ll happily share them with you. Some of the areas I will cover include:
Understanding your target audience
One of the reasons I (for the second time) split my blog up is that I have more than one audience. Although I am living with Fibromyalgia and Living Creatively with Fibro (which is being redeveloped as we speak as the front page is a hot mess) is based around this experience. My PKM, Genealogical and digital interests reach beyond the scope of a spoonie lifestyle, so why limit the audience.
By understanding that many people read my articles that were not part of a chronic illness community it was logical to separate my content. So if you are a blogger it is worth looking at your numbers, nothing too intense just what posts are getting attention and where from. I began blogging because I was living with Fibromyalgia but my content doesn’t have to all be related to this. Do you serve one audience or more?
Develop a content Strategy
I’ll put my hands up. My strategy is a permanent work in progress at the moment. I am at a cusp where I am having to rapidly produce new content to get things up and running. At the same time I am transferring content between blogs, tiding up old content whose images caused problems with new style layouts. There is a lot of balls in the air (in between juggling my spoons – Fibro speak) so the only strategy is to press on and get things onto an even keel. Then it is time to find a routine that works for me and the readers.
One thing I have learnt in all my research is that you need to have a regular routine of posting if you are wanting to grow your following. Different platforms have their own expectations. The one beauty of blogging is that you are on your own platform and not at the whims of others. The amount of times I have heard of YouTube or Instagram accounts that have been taken away or stopped being promoted due to some new rule of the platform.
If you are building your content on someone else’s platform the first thing to do is follow your hosts recommendations.
Creating unique and engaging content
Can I draw your attention to the first topic of this post again, AI. If you are using AI just remember there are so many others doing it too. At least make sure your tool has a plagiarism checker. Also, let’s pause on the word engaging. Engaging to who? We are all different and have our own tastes. My content might be a little longer form than some, but shorter than others. Equally, finding the balance in tone, serious and times, humorous at others. It comes back to the understanding your audience again. In terms of content creation know who you are addressing.
Pay Attention To SEO
Another big topic, any content creator wanting to grow their following has to understand SEO at least a little bit. I will be covering this topic in further detail as it deserves its own post. For anyone brand new to the world of blogging and content creation, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it is literally the act of making sure your content pleases Google (yes, there are other search engines but if you please Google it will be fine for the rest). Of course when it comes to search Youtube and Google mean the same thing.
If you only plan on getting viewers or readers from Pinterest, for example, you can ignore SEO, but for the majority of us we rely on the Search engines to ensure we are not talking to ourselves.
Create Content That Adds Value
When I began blogging, this is a lesson that took me a few months to learn. Once you are established people may come to your blog to see what you have to say on a given topic. As a new blogger or Facebook creator (whatever content you produce) people find your content when trying to answer a question or solve a problem. Try to remember than when writing most of your posts. Some posts, like this one, are what I call scene setters. This is not to answer a question but to display the vibe a reader can expect from the rest of the blog.
Regularly Measure Your Contents Performance
If we go back to understanding your audience, you remember I said that quite a lot of my audience were not from the Spoonie community. That is why I decided to split my blog up. If I wasn’t keeping an eye on my blog performance and seeing what people were reading, I wouldn’t have known that. As writers we have a desire to write about what we want to talk about. As bloggers we need to understand what our audience want to read.
How often have I read from bloggers or seen YouTubers say that their best performing post was something that was minimal effort, almost throwaway so to speak, while the content they plowed hours (and sometimes real money) into barely gained any traction. We all need to remember that.
For the purpose of this blog I am sticking with the basic definition that a website is made of static pages and a web app is dynamic site. To break that down here are some examples of both:
Shopping sites like Amazon
Social Sites like Facebook
Entertainments platforms like Youtube and Netflix
Dynamic site or dynamic elements
To confuse things further a website can have dynamic elements. For example the blog has a comments section, this is interactive causing the page to change – if somebody leaves a comment. In most cases though I think though you can usually instinctively tell if something is a web app or a website.
As you can imagine over time the amount of web apps has increased while the websites seem to have decreased. However, that is when you look at the big names. Depending upon your area of interest the internet is awash with websites that can prove to be hidden gems. I have especially found this to be the case on the subject of Genealogy.
One of the bigger differences between Applications and Websites has been that Applications can be standalone. Think about on your phone or the Apps on your computer. However, with modern browser technologies you can now enable websites to become standalone Applications too. Search engines are awash with people asking how to convert their website into an application. In reality often all they really wanted to do was, what you can already do. Hit share and send to the desktop or home screen, enabling people to get back to the site quickly.
It is impossible to talk about websites without discussing browsers. There is a good chance that if you are on a desktop you are likely to be using one of the following:
Chrome inevitably was placed at the top of the list considering that Chrome/Chromium has a 70% share of the market. I have used all of the browsers mentioned above. My current browser of choice is Arc from the Browser Company, it is a Chromium based browser currently just for Mac but they are creating a Window’s version too. Since it’s conception I have loved what the are doing and how responsive they are to their users. On my mobile devices I use Orion which is also only available on Apple devices at the moment.
Cutting edge browsers
Because my browsers of choice are so new, when using the desktop I sometimes find a website that doesn’t play completely well with Arc. Because of this I use Velja as my default browser, although it isn’t a browser at all but a simple tool which lets you choose which browser to use to open links when not in a browser already. In my case I mainly use it when following links from my Obsidian Second Brain. Certain domains automatically go to a browser of choice and if nothing is set Arc is at the top of the list for quick access.
The question of Bookmarks
Alongside browsers the other unavoidable topic of websites is bookmarks. They are to a degree a work in progress still for me and how I access them depends if they are a recent creation or were saved years ago. So let me explain to you how I am now working with bookmarks in case it gives you any ideas.
A huge collection
I imagine if you are anything like me you probably have a huge collection of bookmarks created in browsers and various extensions over the years. I have a huge vault of them. But when I installed my recent browsers they didn’t automatically come too. The time had arrived from some discernment. Where I now save bookmarks depends on what they are for and where I will use them.
I actually have different tools/places to save bookmarks depending upon my purpose for saving the. Here is a breakdown of the types of bookmarks I keep, what for and where I keep them.
In my Arc Browser I can create separate profiles. This is similar to the profiles in other browsers, they allow you to use different logins. I have a profile for me, then one for each blog website, if I decide to use a specific social media website with a blog I know if I am using it’s profile I will be logged into the correct instance. As well as Profiles Arc let’s you create spaces.
To go along with the separate space for each profile I also, using my personal profile have spaces for Knowledge, Crafting, World of Warcraft, Genealogy and Personal (Health & beauty etc). Each of these spaces has a small amount of bookmarks, in general about 5/6. These are websites/applications that I am almost definitely going to visit when in that Space.
Arc works with bookmarks differently. Each space has three sections. The ones at the top (up to 9) are shared across all Spaces that share that profile, so this is for things like the Password Manager and the Raindrop Page. The next area is pinned bookmarks, so they stay put, this is where the 5/6 I talked about go. Then the final section is the daily bookmarks, all of those things that you open then and there but don’t need to keep around, unless you pin them they disappear overnight.
Each Profiles space has a Raindrop Collection allocated, Raindrop is great for collecting bookmarks. As well as the collections, you can tag bookmarks, link check for dead ones and even share collections. As I am currently doing on the Apps and Tech pages of this blog. Things go into Raindrop if I am likely to revisit them or want to remember them but there is nothing I need to do with them at present.
Braintool is a bookmark manager, well more than that it is a knowledge manager. If you use Chrome it is perfect. Because I use Arc for the majority of my web work it does not reach it’s peak ability. That is, when used in Chrome it can sit to the side of your browser window and interact with your tabs from there. In Arc it has to be used within a tab and this is not as intuitive. When I am working on WikiTree I find Chrome to be the better browser so now I partner Braintool with Chrome for my Genealogy research exclusively.
So I can have a collection of bookmarks for a specific family group and whenever I break off the particular people’s profiles and the related census or baptism record pages can be all saved together with notes on my progress and a todo label. This is a dream system.
The final place I put bookmarks is directly into Obsidian. There are several ways I do that.
Direct relation – a note about a film or TV show has the IMDB link in it’s metadata
Quick Links – My blog post template has quick links to my WordPress, image creation and social media tools.
Knowledge creation – If I find a webpage that is specific to an area of study I link it there discussing it’s relevance.
What don’t I bookmark?
There is one specific category that I do not bookmark at that is anything to read later. They get sent to Omnivore my read it alter application. The beauty of Omnivore is that it can save either the highlights or the whole article into Obsidian for me if the articles contain anything I want to save into my knowledge bank.
At its most simplistic Digital Organisation is the process you go through to get your computerised and online life in order. So a bit like a digital KonMarie, or whatever your preferred decluttering method is. Let’s think about the reasons why we declutter our physical space.
To create more space
To find things easier
For a nicer aesthetic
To remove what is no longer desirable
Well all of those reasons are every bit as justified when it comes to our digital lives. How often have you received a piece of information that felt like it might be important but you didn’t know when or why? Do you find yourself sticking post it notes to the site of your monitor? Is your email inbox numbers in double, or even treble digits? All of these may be indication that you would benefit from some digital organisation.
Where to start
I am a firm believer in Personal Knowledge Management which I explain in the blog post, and I don’t think you could go far wrong by reading that post first. If you want to organise your clothing there is a good chance you will look for something like this:
This AI generated wardrobe I rustled up (which I would love to magic into being in real life) shows that everything has it’s place and no space is wasted. You instinctively would know where to keep anything. Our digital lives are less obvious. It is not that we don’t have the tools but we are spoilt for choice.
Let’s look at the wardrobe above. It is plain to see that something has gone wrong if you suddenly find yourself putting cucumbers or a loaf or bread in there. With digital tools, many are created to be truly flexible and it would be very easy to put a chicken drumstick in a wardrobe and not bat an eyelid.
A Second Brain
That is why I recommend starting the process with a Personal Knowledge Management system and creating a second brain. Personally I use Obsidian and would recommend it to anyone. The fact that the basic software is free is a bonus. But we are all made differently and there are other options out there like, Notion, Evernote and the recent attractive addition Capacities.
Streamlining your workflow with digital tools
Once you have decided upon a second brain tool where you want to store your important digital world. The next stage is to think about the other tools you are going to use around it. Some will be satellites around the system that are there to perform a single function, other apps will be part of your work flow. In the Apps section of the blog I plan on covering many Apps that will facilitate knowledge growth and workflow. A basic system might look like this:
An organised Browser With Profiles
A Bookmarking System (If Not Using The Second Brain)
Read it later Application
A Quick Notes Tool For Temporary Storage
A Memory Keeper (If Not Using The Second Brain)
Task or Project Management
Of course this is a basic workflow for the average person wanting to control the flow of information coming in. If you have a more demanding workflow like blogging there will be other apps to add into the mix.
Optimising digital file management systems
As well as creating a clear flow of information through a curated set of Apps, the following step is to create a clear file naming structure in the Apps you are choosing to use. There are a few examples of how to do this. The OG would be David Allen’s Getting Things Done. More recently there is Tiago Forte’s Building A Second Brain and the Para method, which stands for Projects, Areas, Resources an Archives.
Then there is Nick Milo’s Linking Your Thinking System. This was built around the Acronym ACCESS, which stands for Atlas, Calendar, Cards, Extras, Sources & Spaces. However, he is on the the brink of releasing the simplified ACE structure. Atlas, Calendar & Efforts. My own system takes the best of the Para, Access and Ace models and melds them into something personal, because at the end of the day your second brain (and supporting systems) should be as individual as your first brain.
Establish clear naming conventions
If this all seems a little complicated for you the TL;DR version is to use the same naming conventions everywhere. For example my daily notes in Obsidian are dated in the YYYY-MM-DD format for easy sorting, therefore every date based file or document on my computer uses the same system. Similarly I use Efforts: Blogging/blog-name Creativity/Cardmaking, Creativity/Diamond Painting etc as areas in my Second Brain notes, then as files in my computer and photo albums etc so everything is easy to find and link up.
Regularly review and update processes
This is a fine balance. Part of the reviewing progress is looking at the Apps you are using. Are they still the best choice? Are their newer Apps that would be better for your needs. Is there a workflow that will be even more streamlined? One of the biggest problems you can run into when it comes to digital organisation is never knowing when to stop and say, for now this is good enough.
My best advice is, if you are going to add a new or replacement tool into your workflow be prepared to use it for a year minimum. If you can’t commit to that, the chances are that the App wasn’t right for you. If you don’t give yourself a year to use a tool you can’t optimise a routine around it. In the Second Brain Community Shiny object syndrome can be all too real.
Digital Organisation – Simplicity Is Key
I’m an Apple person, this makes life a little easier as I don’t need tools that work across all operating systems. Because of this I can simply choose the baked in option. Although I use Obsidian to build my Second Brain and curate knowledge and reference materials, everything else that I used to use Evernote for, from shopping lists to user manuals all now goes into Apple Notes. It is simple but good enough, and I can share a folder with my husband for those notes that apply to both of us.
I’d like to talk about a topic that is often seen through a narrow lens but deserves a more compassionate and adaptable perspective – productivity. I understand that many people with Fibromyalgia or other chronic illnesses face daily challenges that may not align with the traditional 9-5 work structure that society often emphasises.
Productivity, in its essence, is not about conforming to a specific schedule or achieving a certain output. It’s about making the most of the resources and energy you have in a way that contributes positively to your well-being and personal goals. For each of us, this will manifest differently, and that’s not only okay but truly remarkable.
Productivity can be as simple as taking care of your physical and mental health, managing your symptoms effectively, and finding ways to enjoy life despite the challenges you face. It’s about recognising your accomplishments, no matter how small, and acknowledging the strength it takes to face each day.
Productivity could be a hobby
Your journey might involve pursuing hobbies that bring you joy, learning new skills at your own pace, connecting with others who understand your experiences, and advocating for yourself and your needs. Sometimes, productivity means taking a step back to rest and recharge, recognising that self-care is a vital and valid use of your time.
Remember, your worth is not measured by conventional standards of productivity. It’s measured by your resilience, your ability to adapt, and the positive impact you have on your own life and the lives of those around you.
So, let’s redefine productivity as an individualised path that reflects your unique circumstances, strengths, and aspirations. Embrace the progress you make, no matter how unconventional it may seem. You’re all achieving remarkable things every day, and your journey is an inspiration to us all.
My path to productivity
In a world that’s rapidly evolving, designing and writing the blog(s) has become a way for me to both channel my creativity and make a meaningful contribution to society. As a blogger, I’ve discovered that producing content isn’t just about sharing thoughts; it’s about sparking conversations, raising awareness, and fostering connections with a global audience.
Raising awareness of Fibromyalgia and chronic illness and the reality of living with them was the reason I began the blog Living Creatively with Fibro back in 2016. At the time when I had to leave my paid employment the blog gave me a place to hang my hat in terms of feeling productive. The added bonus was making connections with others in the “Spoonie” Community, whether fellow bloggers or those I connected with on social media.
Inspiration and Empowerment
Through my content, I have the privilege of occasionally inspiring and empowering others. Sharing personal stories, overcoming challenges, and offering solutions can motivate people who are facing similar situations. Knowing that my words and ideas have positively impacted someone’s life is an incredible source of motivation for me.
I can’t tell you how many times over the years, especially when my Fibro was really playing up or I was feeling low, that I wondered if it was still worth blogging. Like all small scale bloggers it can feel like you are talking to a void, but then I stumbled upon a comment that someone found an idea helpful or appreciated what I had said and all the initial enthusiasm returned.
Productivity led to Personal Knowledge Management
It was through my interest in productivity that I came across the Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) community. This instantly resonated with me and I can see many ways the PKM can help anyone living with a Chronic Illness. That is why I decided it was important to share this subject matter with you on the Personal Knowledge Management Page.
The rise of productivity Apps
In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, apps have become indispensable tools for enhancing productivity. They offer a range of functionalities that streamline tasks, organise schedules, and assist with communication like never before. Whether it’s managing to-do lists, setting reminders, collaborating with friends of family in real-time, or accessing valuable information on the go, productivity apps provide a seamless way to optimise our time.
With the ability to personalise settings, integrate with various devices, and adapt to individual preferences, apps help us to work smarter, not harder. This is vital for those of us living with Fibromyalgia. Embracing the power of productivity apps can significantly transform our daily routines, allowing us to achieve more, stay focused, and ultimately lead a more balanced and efficient life. Therefore I felt it was important to keep the community up to date with many of the Apps that are available and can help us. You can find out more on the Apps Page.
A world of technology and Gadgetry
Of course all productivity Apps requite something to run on. So it made perfect sense to feature the tech and gadgetry I have found helpful or just fun. The Tech Page is the place to go. As spoonies thank goodness we don’t live in the era of our ancestors, imagine living with a chronic illness in a time when hard manual labour was a daily expectation for much of society. Well, let’s have a reality check living would probably not be on the cards for many of us. There is alway a silver lining if you look for it.
Genealogy is Productivity
Some thirty years ago when I began my genealogical research I realised that it was full on productivity, it could easily become a full time job if I let it, and at times it battles with Blogging, or my other creative past times to take all the time and energy I can give it. On the Genealogy Page you can find out more.
Back to the Blogging
Creating content has become more than a pastime; it’s my way of contributing to society while embracing my own journey of growth. Through expression, education, connection, and dialogue, I’ve found a means to be productive that aligns with my passions and values. As a blogger, I’m committed to crafting content that resonates, informs, and inspires – an endeavour that brings meaning to my life and, I hope, to the lives of those who engage with my work. Because of this I thought I would begin to share some advice for any of you that feel compelled to begin blogging too.
When it comes to Apps I can be very guilty of having shiny object syndrome, as soon as I see a new one I am already picturing using it. Sometimes I even dive in and sign up eyes all wide with excitement to realise that I am so embedded with a different tool the move would be crazy.
I am not going to hide from the fact I am completely all in with the Apple ecosystem and have been for nearly a decade. I used to be Windows and Android all the way but moving over to Apple devices has been one of the best tech decisions I have made. There is just something magical about the reliability, I have never had a mac crash, I probably pushed it close though when I had the Mac Mini and was working with several power intensive apps at the same time.
The joy of discovering new apps
As I mentioned I have shiny object syndrome which can lead to it’s own problems. However, by staying up to date with what is happening in terms of new apps in development I have made some of my best financial transactions. I am a fan of the AppSumo store where new and upcoming Apps are listed and you can get a Lifetime Deal for a single payment. Some of my best purchases have been SocialBee and Vista Create (formerly Crello). In both cases I acquired a life time deal for less than the cost of a couple of months of subscription. Without the amazing deal I couldn’t afford to use either of them.
A non-technical way to discovering new apps
One of the best ways to keep up to date with what is coming through the door at any one time is visiting Product Hunt. This is where new software is regularly launched. Of course some is in the early stages, possibly still Beta testing. What’s that? I hear you ask
What is Beta Testing
Imagine you’re a chef who loves creating new recipes. Before you serve a dish to your customers, you invite a group of your closest friends to your kitchen to taste your creation. These friends give you feedback on the flavour, the presentation, and any improvements that could be made.
In the world of apps, beta testing is quite similar to this cooking scenario. When app developers are creating a new app or updating an existing one, they want to make sure it’s as delicious and enjoyable as possible for the users (like you). But instead of inviting friends to taste the food, they invite a group of people to try out the app before it’s officially released to the public.
Taste Testing for Apps
This group of early testers, often called “beta testers,” gets to use the app and explore its features just like you would when you download an app from the app store. They’re like your taste-testers, checking if everything works smoothly, trying different features, and reporting any issues they come across.
The developers pay close attention to the feedback they receive from these beta testers. It’s like getting valuable advice from your friends about your new recipe. If the testers find something that doesn’t work quite right or could be improved, the developers go back to their “kitchen” (the place where they create the app) and make adjustments based on the feedback.
Early birds can land very cheap worms
Beta testing helps make sure the app is as delightful and easy to use as possible before it’s officially available to everyone. It’s like refining a recipe until it’s just right before serving it to your restaurant guests. So, when you see an app inviting you to be a beta tester, know that they’re inviting you to be part of the taste-testing team, helping make the app better for everyone!
Apps for so many purposes
I have a few particular areas of interest and knowledge when it comes to Apps. One of the biggest categories is productivity apps. I am likely to put some of them through their paces on the Productivity Page. In the last year of so I have become particularly interested in Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) and I will be talking about the established and increasingly common start up applications for this field of interest. See the PKM Page for more on that.
Of course, as creativity and crafting, which are regularly talked about on my sister blog, Living Creatively with Fibro are such big passions of mine I will be diving into many apps in this category from industry level graphical packages to something altogether simpler and more fun to use.
Unveiling App origin stories
When I come across something new that resonates with me I always look out for the story of the developer or team of developers who came up with the idea. What led to the idea conception, was it a problem they needed to solve, a simple matter of curiosity, what if… or just for fun. Developers and coders are some of the most influential entrepreneurs these days. The world of AI will no doubt makes the ability to enter this market space both more accessible but equally highly flooded. I’m here for the ride.
The magic of finding your flow
With productivity apps in particular there is much conversation about finding your flow. That is curating the perfect set of applications that will allow you to work seamlessly and get the very best out of each tool.
I was for a long time seriously caught up on that journey too, now I am a bit more relaxed about it. I love trying new apps and seeing what they can do but I am bedding down with some of my apps of choice and trying to put the blinkers up to distraction. A bit like a Youtube cosmetics influencer who off camera had a small bag of make up they stayed loyal to.
So let’s explore apps together
So here, with you I am going to make the most of my experience and provide you with an overview of how many of the wonderful apps floating around perform, from the perspective of someone with a Chronic Illness. Someone who is sometimes a little mentally slower than I would like and can be forgetful. So let us get on with the job of using and talking about apps.