Yay Computers

Here’s a note I made in the most recent CSS-Tricks Newsletter which, yes, you absolutely should sign up to as quickly as humanly possible. We take the latest and greatest news from the web design community and deliver it straight to your inbox every week.

This holiday weekend I’ve been learning how to make Twitter bots and I’ve been having a blast. In fact I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun programming and doing stuff with computers. The bot is a simple little jokey thing but making the bot’s not really the point to be honest, it’s all about confidence building and being bad at stuff for long enough to get good at it.

It’s been one of those rare moments where I’ve had lots to learn in a short period of time: figuring out the basics of node, learning how to use npm modules within an app, tinkering with requests in an API and figuring out how to plot coordinates in an SVG chart as well as figuring out what the heck a CRON job is. The reason why it’s been a blast though isn’t necessarily because I’m now the smartest human being alive and feel completely invulnerable to the passage of time, although that certainly does has something to do with it, but the reason why I’m so excited about all this stuff is really because of the community I found along the way.

It’s buck wild to have so many helpful resources available to help us at any given moment: from blog posts and books to random node.js conference talks that only have 8 views and 7 of them are now mine. So I think this weekend has reinforced my faith in blogging and sharing what you know, where random notes left on some developer’s old blog have helped me tremendously.

Anywho, on a similar note, I’ve been thinking a bunch about how social networks prioritize fame over value. If you publish something on Medium for example and it only gets a single clap then it makes you feel like, why bother? What’s the point if no-one’s reading this thing? But I think we have to fight that inclination to be woo’d with fame and social-network notoriety because I wonder how many helpful blog posts and videos weren’t made simply because someone thought they weren’t going to get half a million likes or retweets from it.

My advice after learning from so many helpful people this weekend is this: if you’re thinking of writing something that explains a weird thing you struggled with on the Internet, do it! Don’t worry about the views and likes and Internet hugs. If you’ve struggled with figuring out this thing then be sure to jot it down, even if it’s unedited and it uses too many commas and you don’t like the tone of it.

That’s because someone like me is bound to find what you’ve written and it’ll make their whole weekend a lot less stressful than it could’ve been.