Monday Swatch: July 12, 2021

A peek behind the curtain and some new features

One advantage an online publication has over its dead-tree colleagues is the editor/publisher/creator can make changes regularly if some things seem off.

Case in point: My publication schedule.

If you’re a non-famous, niche writer (like me) and you’re depending on paid subscribers to assist with, well, living, a tension in the Substack world is figuring out the ratio of free versus paywalled material. How much you give away and how much you reserve for the folks who are kind enough to send their money your way.

I’ve decided to send a fresh entry (“content,” … ack) three times a week. The tyranny of regular deadlines keeps me from becoming a slacker. 

What to do, and when?

It’s important to me and you to continue delivering a primary feature weekly. Bring you something new or a different angle on a topic I’ve already addressed. They’ve gone over well. I have fun reporting and writing them. They’ll continue to be out there for anyone to read (OR SHARE, hint, hint). Those will appear midweek.

I also need to improve my multimedia skills. Podcasts and video blogs are popular. I spend a lot of time listening to and watching them. I was late to the party, but I enjoy them more than I’d imagined.

Share Social Fabric

My initial podcast with Genavee Brown was a hit. The tech was easy enough to tame. So … the second “free” weekly entry will be a podcast or vlog. I created a Social Fabric YouTube channel (please subscribe!!!).

I’ll post vlogs on the YouTube channel. They’ll also go out to subscribers as part of the Social Fabric Podcast channel on this fine outlet. I aim to post a new one each Friday, unless events get in the way, forcing me to move the date that week up or back. (Behind the curtain: I’ll run podcasts as often as I can find guests to appear on them — particularly if the subject is timely. I’ll use vlogs as a way to keep multimedia material flowing each week. I have to take my video editing skills up several notches to do vlogs regularly and well.)

I’ll also move videos I’ve created for Substack from my personal page, which includes the ridiculous ukulele videos I share to the Ukulele Underground Forum, to the Social Fabric page. If you want to see my mediocre singing and playing, have at it. You may wish to avoid this aspect of my leisure activity entirely. You’ll have a choice.

The pods and vlogs will be shareable (nudge, nudge).

And part of the “free” subscription.

I’ve also created a Social Fabric Facebook Group (socialfabricnews, if you’re searching). It’s private but “visible,” so anyone who asks can join. Please ask. I’ll sign you up. Start yakking.

Paying customers will get the Monday Swatch. It’ll include interesting books, articles, or other media I’ve run across; events worth considering; projects I’m pursuing; previews of entries in the works (what you should see on this site soon); and other potpourri.

FYI: I’m posting some of the Social Fabric archive on Medium. Different audience, new revenue stream (maybe), chance for something to go viral, etc. Substack remains a better outlet for me to do what I want and provide the best stuff for you. If I can draw more people here from Medium, why not?

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What goes on?

I’ve mentioned Lauryn Stroud and Sara Buxton, founders of the Raleigh Night Market, in the context of our uke jam. Three years ago Sara, who was working at Pelagic Beer & Wine, where we play monthly gigs, asked David if we wanted to bring our outfit to their fledgling monthly pop-up market in the historic City Market district near Shaw University. He asked. We agreed. 

We had a great time that first year. So did a lot of other people. The market exploded. Every available vendor spot was taken. Several thousand people would amble along the narrow, cobblestone streets, checking out vendors of crafty stuff, buying food and beverages, and listening to the music. There were spots for performers on several blocks.

By year two, the crowd and the ambient noise overpowered our (mostly) unamplified instruments. Performers at nearby sites with serious amplitude made listening (and playing, for that matter) problematic. Sadly, we performed a couple of times and then didn’t return.

No hard feelings, though. We got blown out by the (excellent) competition, and picked up some new ukers along the way.

Meantime, Lauryn and Sara are building a community empire, if that’s possible, with night markets in several nearby cities and towns — and other events in Raleigh. Yesterday I visited the newest one — BrunchMoore Market, the second Sunday of each month at the freshened up Moore Square Park across from City Market.

I’ll write about what I saw and what these two dynamic social entrepreneurs are building in Wednesday’s installment. If all goes well, we’ll have a podcast with one or both as guests Friday.

Over the transom

Damon Linker wrote a provocative article in The Week about the perils of loneliness as online networks become more alluring than in-person contact. David French offered a thoughtful response in his Sunday “French Press” Dispatch newsletter (disclaimer: I’m not an Evangelical Christian, but you can take secular lessons from his argument, too).

The Atlantic re-upped an April article from Arthur Brooks about friendships. It’s relevant to Damon’s and David’s thoughts. 

Maybe that should be the first thread in the Facebook Group: How do we build and maintain friendships (“deal” and “real”) in a pixelated world?

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