In a massively impulsive move nudged by some Twitter feedback, I recently launched the Exportober challenge. The TL;DR version:
- Put up a piece of content* everyday between 27th September and 30th October, with the possibility of skipping one day per week;
- Post a link to your content on Twitter with #exportober
- That's it, actually. 🤷♀️
What's allowed in #exportober?Is this for me? #whybother with #exportoberI want to be in, but I stoop no lower than meaningful masterpieces... This sounds like fun, but I have no idea what to make.
I was deliberately vague about the terms-and-conditions that goes with the piece of content piece above. The rules I mentioned were minimal: since there are no restrictions of age, keep the content SFW and generally legal. Other than that, anything goes, for example:
- Can I doodle? Yes.
- Can I meme? Yes.
- Can I make a comic? Yes.
- Can I quip? Yes.
- Can I tweet a thread? Yes.
- Can I tweet a single tweet? Yes.
- Can I song and/or hum and/or dance? Yes.
- Can I react? I am unfamiliar with this genre, but yeah, why not?
- Can I just quote? Uhh, ok-fine, sure — maybe be sure to include a reaction?
- Can I commit? Yes, please! Oh, you mean — can it be a GitHub commit? Right, yeah, sure.
As you can see, there are no restrictions on format or length or quality. It can be whatever you want, and however long or short you want it to be. The point is to get into the habit of putting a bit of yourself into something tangible that you'd want to share.
So while you could technically schedule thirty pieces of Harry Potter trivia in advance — that would kind of defeat the purpose.
In general, I imagine only you would know if this is for you — this may not be a priority or a point of interest for you right now, but if you're reading this, possibly your interest is at least mildly piqued?
What this is about is setting aside some time for yourself and to participate alongside friends who're in it for fun and profit:
- The fun bit is in the making and sharing.
- The profit bit is the hope that we trick ourselves into making this a bit of a regular habit for life.
Longer term, you may or may not want to be sharing or publishing on a daily basis. But hopefully, longer term, you are engaged with the process on a regular basis.
Personally, there's almost nothing that I do consistently on a daily basis, not counting the things one needs to do continue being alive. I'd like to see if I can change that a bit*, and apparently doing such things bit by bit — and with some public commitment — is a good idea, hence the micro-nature of the challenge.
*c.f. the next section for a different perspective.
Hmm. One way that you could still make this work for you is to build out your masterpiece bit by bit. If it's a tutorial, you could plan it out in advance and work through one coherent section a day. If it's a sketch, you could share your partial progress as you go along, and even put it together in a timelapse at the end? That would be great to see!
There are some types of long-form content that aren't naturally amenable to this type of chunking; say you want to put together a video exposition, make an origami sculpture, or crochet a Klein bottle. In this situation, you could either use the challenge to document your process and progress; or you could just claim to engage in #exportoberlite with a reduced frequency of production — say once a week, or one masterpiece at the end — you'll just have to still tweet it out so I can catalog it ❤️
Also, while on the subject of masterpieces, there's the parable of the pots. On the other hand, everyone does have their own process, and the idea isn't to force a format: this process is temporary, flexible, and optional 🙌
Oooh. Maybe just ping on Twitter if you are in this situation. I do imagine that there are folks who have more ideas than they can handle, so if you have the bandwidth, it'll even out nicely! For some starter inspiration, just in case it is useful, here are some of the post types that I'm planning for the duration of this challenge, in roughly increasing order of desperation:
- Trying some of the Chai and Why? experiments and documenting
- Puzzles and programming contest roundups.
- Lecture notes for classes/talks I'm teaching and/or attending.
- Highlights from whatever podcasts I'm tuned into.
- Clean up draft essays from previous lives.
- Random doodles. And VSCode keyboard shortcuts.
- Hot takes on inconsequential debates.*
*Let me know if you want prompts.
I also have a few black holes nurtured over time — I'm looking at you, all my Read-It-
NeverLater apps, the starred section in my RSS app, my YouTube watchlist, and relatives. Maybe about time to go down some of these rabbit holes with the excuse of commentary to follow.
So yes, that'll be all for now! Let's see how this goes 🤞 Meanwhile, please hop on and spread the word for all of us? Thank you! 🎉
PS. You might be curious about what participating will look like. I'm trying to setup a separate page for each participant in the challenge that will pull in all your tagged tweets. I'll share a preview soon!