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Dandy Cast 003: Storytelling is the new black

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on November 19, 2019.

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Show notes

It would be completely fair to call me an old guy for not really getting into or even understanding a lot of the social networks out there. Also, music was better back in my day and so on. Doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it when Instagram decides to do something like hide the like counts on users’ posts. So that’s what I’m doing in today’s episode.

Hey, a good thing is a good thing, even if it’s being done by Facebook. Anything that helps improve the mental health of many people around the world should be celebrated.

There’s a brand new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, Quick Tip: Give Someone Squarespace Account Permissions.

Squarespace is a great tool for the solo workers of the world, but it’s also a phenomenal tool for the multi-person business. Many people can be invited to work on a single website, whether as an administrator or just as someone who can publish a blog post every once in a while. If you’re looking for a stellar collaboration tool for your Squarespace site, then this post is something you must read as soon as possible.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

WIRED tweet about Instagram’s decision to hide like counts - Twitter

Instagram ranked worst for young people’s mental health - Royal Society for Public Health

Quick Tip: Give Someone Squarespace Account Permissions - Dandy Cat Design

Travelers - Netflix

Zen Drums | Bibio - YouTube

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest - Goodreads

The full text

The Dandy Newsletter - 12/3/19

I'm tipping my hat to Instagram. It's a rare event so I think it's worth immortalizing in a newsletter. The hat tip is aimed at their recent decision to start hiding "like" counts on posts. I'm such a fan that I'm going to put on a second imaginary hat and tip that one, too.

[tip tip]

I've had it in my mind for a while now that social media isn't really for me. I won't go so far as to say that it shouldn't be for anybody. That would be bananas. People can get a lot out of their social media accounts. We can share more with the world than anyone has ever been able to before. Entire new jobs have been built out of this technology. The kind of easy and instant connection that we can create with people across the entire world was the stuff of science fiction novels even just 30 years ago. It's all really cool!

Before then, it was something that couldn't even be comprehended, much like how we can't predict what the future 30 years from now has in store for us. Will we be able to beam holograms of ourselves in front of other people's eyes? Will we implant computers into our brains? Or more likely, will we isolate our physical selves further from each other in favor of easier virtual connections?

Whatever it is, rest assured that we’ll be doing things that would blow our present minds and it’ll reach everyone across the globe. I like to think that maybe future technology will have an increased focus on betterment for individuals and all living beings. I want to see electric cars fill the roadways, nuclear power plants lighting up cities, and our reach into the stars extending further than we’ve ever gone. There’s so much incredible potential for our future.

But for the present moment, social networks like Instagram have helped create issues in people. Serious mental health issues.

It’s no coincidence that Instagram is experimenting with hiding like counts now. Instead of a person’s followers seeing “Liked by dandycatdesign and 247 others,” they’ll instead see something like “Liked by dandycatdesign and others.” Removing the number of likes is intended to alleviate the competitiveness of Instagram and make it a safer place on the internet. I think that’s a welcome change. A social network should be about connection and community. It shouldn’t be about feeling like crap because you “scored” less than someone else.

That competitive aspect of Instagram is a contributing factor to the increased reporting in depression and anxiety in people.

Something I’ve seen play out, as an example: a person flicks through their feed and stops at a new picture. They’re following thousands of people, so there’s no end to the scrolling. They stop at that picture, glance at who’s posted it, realizes it’s from someone they’re on friendly terms with, and double taps the image to “like” it. And then the process repeats itself many, many times. That’s done because it’s expected of them. If they don’t like every picture their friend posts, then they’re not being a good friend. They could face some serious interpersonal consequences if they don’t “like” everything.

Sounds like a whole lot of anxiety in something that’s supposed to be fun.

That obligation and gamification to Instagram makes me want to go away and take a nap. This is coming from someone who loves their phone and the technology in their life.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand it all. There’s pleasure and camaraderie in social media. You get to connect with so many people and be part of an activity that can bring joy to yourself and others in your life. That’s wonderful.

But I think I’m looking for an opportunity for deep connection. An opportunity for storytelling that I can’t seem to find in a place like Instagram (which I’ll admit may be a failing in me).

If you’ve been reading these newsletters for some time, you’ll notice that the’ve changed recently. They’ve become more about the words and my thoughts and less about my products and blog posts (although my plugs for those items won’t be going away). That’s because I see an opportunity to create a more profound and meaningful connection with you than I can with a platform like Instagram. I can tell you about my thoughts and my story in a place that’s more likely to be seen. It’s harder to scroll past an email you signed up for than it is just another image on Instagram.

And I’ve been loving this new format.

So kudos to Instagram for hiding likes because I think it should help them achieve their intended result: fostering stronger communities and allowing their users to connect with others in a meaningful way. In other words, making the internet a safer and cooler place. That’s a good thing.

But still, emails are where it’s at.

Want some great new Dandy Cat Design items? I've got 'em for you!

There’s a new, speedy blog for you today: Quick Tip: Give Someone Squarespace Account Permissions. It’s about, well, giving someone else permission to do things to your Squarespace site.

Why in the world would you want to do that? Well…

  • Perhaps you’re working with a team of people and want them all to be able to modify your site
  • You’re creating a site for a client and want to be able to edit their site if any issues with it pop up
  • You’ve got regular contributors who need to post their own blogs on your site

It could be any number of things. This post goes into how to invite anybody with an email address to join your site and begin working with it right away. It’s a powerful feature that makes collaboration a breeze.

And hey! I’ve got three brand new CSS Plugins in store for you now. And two of them are being offered for the low, low price of FREE!

Need to hide the header and footer of a page on your site? Get your new plugin.

Want to automatically adjust the length of your line blocks without adding spacer blocks? Grab that plugin!

Want to have a killer Scroll to Top Button added to your site? Go and get it! This one’s especially cool and handy.

Think of these new plugins as an early Christmas present. And you didn’t even have to leave out cookies to get them.

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then leave a comment on Instagram or at the end of one of my blog posts. Or heck, reply to this email.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.


Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶

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