How Hacker News benefited when I stopped tweeting

An alternative title to this post could be: “My first ever productive use of newly acquired programming skills”.

On November 21 2016 I wrote my last tweet on my personal Twitter account (I still tweet new blog posts on @meshedsociety). Shortly after, I also significantly reduced my sharing activity on Facebook. These were deliberate decisions. For individuals like me who have a natural urge to curate and spread information, not having such an easy outlet anymore for sharing reading recommendations is a big change. Where to promote all those good texts, essays and long reads? Sure, I have my weekly curated email (sign up here), and I publish a daily article selection about the digital economy (in German), but that didn’t cover everything I had previously been tweeting out. So did I just go against my nature, ending up sharing less links on the web?

I had the suspicion that without actually paying attention to it, I significantly increased my activity on the tech news hub Hacker News, submitting more stories than when I was still tweeting daily. And suddenly it hit me: I am now able to check myself if this hypothesis is true, thanks to my newly acquired Python skills. I started to teach myself Python in 2015, and a few months ago I decided to reduce some other work assignments to intensify my efforts. I currently invest about 1-2 hours daily. Continue Reading

How a perfect launch day looks like

Graph 1

On December 9 I semi-officially announced with a blog post detailing my motivation (“Fighting the language fragmentation“). As the above graph shows, I could not complain about a lack of attention that day. That despite me not really having a well-planned launch strategy.

Even though I was able activate some of my social media followers to have a look at, the main driving force behind the influx of visitors was a post I made at Hacker News, the Bay Area tech industry’s most significant site for user-contributed news and links.

After I added the link to my blog post to Hacker News, it took only a couple of minutes until the entry hit the front page of Hacker News. That hardly ever happened to previous contributions of mine. This time I must have had luck with the choice of headline I made, describing my link entry: “After 7 years of blogging in German, I am switching to English. Here is why”. My guess is that the combination of a clear (implied) statement (that blogging in English is superior to blogging in German) as well as a trigger to capitalize on people’s curiosity and desire for information (“here is why”) turned out to be highly effective. Continue Reading