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Be not afraid

25 August, 2017

Don’t be afraid, though your child only wants to eat white bread, pasta and grapes and the food pyramid is burned upon your mind and grapes are so expensive. Fear not because one day, in a month or a year or five, they’ll discover that vegetables are delicious and they’ll crave carrots and mushrooms. Take a breath and think of my flatmate Mel who didn’t eat any vegetables apart from peas until she was 19 and now she is a healthy mum who love stir fries and curries and even salads.

Don’t be afraid, though your children are fizzing shards of asteroid bouncing up the street on a pavement right next to a road where the trucks thunder by and your throat closes as you imagine… fear not, because you call them close and wise them up on staying on the inside of the pavement and you let the next rush of wind behind a bus blow away your pictures so you can focus on the fireworks your child is lighting into the sky with her excited words about her day.

Don’t be afraid, though your daughters are growing up in an image obsessed world, where teenagers photoshop their selfies for Instagram and write their name and address on the depression database.  Don’t fear it, because you call yourself a Goddess and they will see you and know it’s true and they will hold their bellies and called themselves a Goddess too.

Don’t be afraid, though there are facists marching under a president that won’t condemn them and there is more racist grafiti on the walls and vehicles driving into crowds in all your favourite cities. Rest in this; love is more powerful than hate. Humankind’s love is an ocean deep that can absorb the trickle of sewerage. Don’t be afraid; you are raising your children to look into the eyes and hearts of their neighbours, you are raising a generation of people bound by their humanity not cut off from each other, severed by difference.

Don’t be afraid, though it sometimes seems the whole world is doing things differently to you and someone told you you should be doing this and you need to have done that. Fear not, because you are listening to your heart, feeling deep and thinking hard and you know exactly what to do. Lean on your wisdom and shrug off convention and hear thousands of women through the ages whispering to you “we did it that way, too.”

And, finally, don’t be afraid of that, because that hasn’t happened yet and right now, in this moment, you are here and you are trying your best and just this morning you heard your children’s laughter ring out like a peal of bells and you understood that happiness flooded them from head to toe and your love for them is the sea and they are the boat.

Rest easy, mama. Don't be afraid

***

My Latest Youtube Videos:

writing

Good things come in threes… (SO MUCH EXCITEMENT)

6 July, 2017

Four days ago we left our yurt in the wonderful hands of a little family that came to dog, duck and cow sit. We endured a 26 hour plane journey that included a full belly vomit on my lap. But now we are here in sunny Blighty and it feels SO GOOD.

I have three incredibly exciting things to share with you:

PARENT ALLIES IS LIVE

One of the dreams of my heart is live and kicking TODAY (undisputedly thanks to the support of my patrons that gave me the room to make this happen) and I am utterly full of hope and ambition for it. You can find the Parent Allies website here and the Facebook page here and hopefully you are reading this i time to catch me live on Facebook at 9:30AM British time, 8:30 pm NZ time Thursday July 6th. If not you can always catch up with it later.

I would love you to join the network of parents committed to being allies to their children. Please like and share the posts and do all that wonderful stuff that builds a movement.

WILD AND HOPEFUL UK TOUR

Oooof! A tour! So glam! Says she, who hasn’t brushed her teeth for 24 hours.

I am coming to a town near you and I would love, love, love to see your face:

Wild & Hopeful – Bishop’s Stortford
Wild and Hopeful – Bristol
Wild and Hopeful – London

They are going to be super fun events, with lots of laughs and deep, meaningful conversation with some incredible local mamas. You can also catch me in the Guardian Literary tent at Camp Bestival or in Manchester on August 17th (more details to come ASAP.)

 

PATREON

Here are four reasons right now is the best time ever to support my work through Patreon:
1- We have a whole mini-series coming up on how to journal your way to a better you. A more YOU kind of you. If you get me. How to be more intuitive, less triggered, happier and more the you you really are. So many yous. It is all about you. Please join us!
2- Some incredible discount codes for Patreons for the Attachment Parenting UK Positive Discipline Course. One of the best courses I have ever seen with so many wonderful, respectful ways to have a harmonious relationship with your child. Plus other discounts codes for all sorts of things in the pipeline!
3- Free entry to all the Wild and Hopeful events for Supremes and above.
4- Access to all the posts of the last three months worth of rewards including never-seen-before poetry, parenting mini-series and e-book downloads.

lulastic

I feel so full of thanks to all of you, patrons, readers, passionate parents. I love that we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. Just making the world a sh*t tonne more beautiful.

PS – Speaking of beautiful things, here is my latest video, all about an amazing idea Ramona had…

writing

I’m sad today

15 June, 2017

My chest is fizzing and my tooth is throbbing. I hack out a cough and drop my head to ease the worry my shoulders are holding.

I push my nails around this rash I’ve got. It’s a political rash. It arrived last week when I heard mining operations had begun on our mountain. And then it ebbed when Corbyn did so well in the UK. (YAY CORBYN AND YOUNG PEOPLE!) Like it disappeared for the whole day. Then the DUP turned up and my rash came back. Someone tell me you’ve had a political rash before? It’s real itchy. And symmetrical.

There’s an ache in my throat because I shot a lot of footage on Sunday and then deleted it all accidentally as I left the house before dawn this morning.  I’m holding back my tears because it seems pathetic to be so sad about that.

I am sad about that.

It was exciting to be up on the mountain with Protect Karangahake and a hundred other people protesting the mine. And I’d captured the feel of it and was so ready to share it with people.  And then on the way out this morning, heading up the mountain again, this time to try and stop the miners from going to work,  a blur of sleepiness made me hit Erase All On Card.

But I guess, underneath it all, if I admit it, which I’m not wont to do because I am trying to see our mountain activism as privilege and an honour, rather than a drag, perhaps I’m sad about the mining. karangahake conservation land from mining

I’m wracked about living in one of the countries most well known for being clean and green, and they can’t even keep their exploitative hands out of Conservation land.  The only parts of the country we have marked off as being out of bounds from destructive capitalism. Being destroyed.

I’m wracked about the disconnection between humankind and the earth.  That there are millions of people who feel fine about ravaging mountains. Mountains! The jewelled crowns of earth.

And in amongst this grief is this fidgeting sense of having too much to do (the mining, my writing, the parenting stuff – ohhhh, the parenting stuff! People are supporting me on Patreon to do parenting stuff and my whole brain and body is in earth warrior mode and there is guilt around that. For sure.) There’s not enough time to do it and I can’t focus and I’m useless but I’m really not hello I got up before the larks but it still feels like all my energy is dust and I feel like saying sorry to everyone. Sorry for being rubbish.

Ohhhh.

So maybe I’m just sad today.

Someone told me last week that they would never have guessed I had bad, loose-my-shiz days from the internet. I was gutted to hear that as I try REALLY hard to kick out any pedestals set up for me and other mamas on the internet. I only ever want to be completely real and honest.

But thinking about it, I NEVER type when I’m really feeling all the emotions. My writing then comes out in illegible Biro on journal pages my children have already felt tip penned all over. Black scratchings of mind monsters that can’t be read, least of all understood.

So. Here you go. Pedestal builders.

Today I’m sad.

(Sorry for not meeting your expectations.)

It may be because of my video footage, or maybe because of the mountain, or my uselessness. Maybe it’s because every so often sadness swells up in us like the squalls of wind that toss up the burnt leaves in autumn and it’s a seasonal thing. And we welcome it as an honoured guest, a guide. And all that. Yeah.
~

“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
 
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

(Thanks Rumi.)

(Not sarcastic thanks. Real thanks. Honest. Several times a day I remind myself being human is a guest house…)

~

And, well. HAhahaha. After all that. Here’s my video about the protest. My friend took some great video on the day and I have used it in here. It’s not the same but still captures it. And I still feel sad. So there you go.

writing

When Facebook meets Non Violent Communication (Seven tips for being kind online!)

7 June, 2017

I try not to get into debates on the internet. Because I make my living online I need it to be as safe a place as possible. Not a day passes without someone saying something cruel on my Youtube Channel so I try hard to keep the other corners of my internet safe. Most of the time this means me biting my tongue, even when it comes to things I am *really* passionate about.

Sometimes it’s too hard though, just the other day on my Facebook page I was urging people to vote in a progressive government in the UK election this week and couldn’t help rebutting someone who shared an alternative opinion. I was feeling so much in that moment, all the weight of the people who are going hungry, dying because of the stripping away of health services, the rising poverty. Since that interaction I’ve been thinking about how our interactions online must reflect how we live in real life. I mean for most of us, most of the time, they do, right? We use the internet to connect with friends, to laugh and feel joy, to take action on things we care about.

But when a polarising topic comes up it seems all of our values disappear.

And at the moment the polarising topics are in abundance. We have the British election, a huge vaccine debate here in NZ, intense opinions on the terrorist attacks. Over the last week alone I have seen my friends in interactions on all of these topics that have bought out intensely disconnecting behaviour, engagement that pushes each other further and further away.

So a few days ago I met up with my friend Rosalie. Rosalie is trained in Non Violent Communication and works in a community organisation delivering programmes that helps families live without violence. Her business is restoring relationships and helping people keep their connections alive. I wanted to know how she manages polarising debate on social media. I wanted a vision of Non Violent Communication meets Facebook.

Firstly, Rosalie said…

if you do ANYTHING different let it be this: 

Do two minutes of deep breathing. 

When someone says something COMPLETELY IDIOTIC (lol) on Facebook the first thing you must do is turn your back to your laptop and take a deep breath. It’s legit, my friends, take a big breath in, fill your belly, your lungs, right to the top of your chest, hold it in and breath out as though through a straw. For good measure, imagine you are floating on the ocean.

(For even better measure, imagine you are floating in the ocean and the person who said something stupid on Facebook is swimming towards you with cocktails and chocolate and is singing a song- they have a surprisingly nice voice!!-  with lyrics that go like “I think you are truly great and I’m so sorry that I’m such an idiot on Facebook”)

People being cruel or idiotic on Facebook can actually trigger our bodies fight or flight reaction – a biological response that bypasses our the parts of the brain where empathy and reasoning is centred. This flush of anger can set in motion a response that aims to maim someone. Causing emotional pain rather than physical doesn’t make it any better.

If we take just two minutes to breathe and consider that the person receiving your comment is a human being, possibly with a mum in hospital and a child being bullied by her best friend, and job cuts at work and a dog that just did a vomit on the rug, we are SO much more likely to flick the switch on our Kindness function. (All humans have that function, some have just forgotten where the switch is, or the knobs fallen off.)

Last night I watched a bit of David Attenborough’s LIFE on Netflix with my daughters. We watched a bug, the Stalk Eyed Fly, blow bubbles of air into its eyeballs until they were sticking way out on stalks on either side of it’s head, getting a good look around.

I’m going to be like the Stalk Eyed Fly. Taking those big, deep breaths in order to get a better perspective. Keep it kind online

Next, we spoke about activating the empathy centres in our brain. We do this by taking a minute to understand the needs the other person is trying to get met.

Identify their needs

A few years ago my family went through a heart wrenching Non Violent Communication process. The main thing I took from it was that even these people, the people we were in conflict with, were simply trying to get their needs met. We felt deeply betrayed by what they had done, and still now can’t fathom their actions, but I can understand why they did it. I can see that they were trying to meet a need that they had – and every human need is valid.  Understanding this is our first step towards empathy.

It can be really helpful to take a few moments to consider what of their basic needs the person on social media is trying to get met. A good starting place for our basic needs is provded by the Centre for Non Violent Communication:

Connection
Physical Well Being
Autonomy
Play
Peace
Meaning

The person arguing against raised taxes is feeling their need for autonomy is undermined. The person arguing about vaccines is trying to meet their child’s needs to stay healthy or even alive.

Thinking this through can really help us move into a more empathetic conversation.

Make observations rather than judgements

Beginning a conversation with an observational statement without our own values placed on it allows room for engagement. 

“You told me to shut up” (an observation)
vs
“You told me to shut up, wtf, that’s bullying!” (evaluation)

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned” (observation)
vs
“You shared a racist post that claims that Islam should be banned” (evaluation)

Share your feelings

We need to be able to be more free with our feelings, to be vulnerable and honest. This helps the conversation open up into connection but it also can remind them that YOU are human too! I read an article by a marriage counsellor lately that said that the word “OUCH” can help keep a marriage on the right tracks (or some grand claim like that) because instead of revving back at your partner when they say something hurtful, you take a second to tell them that that really hurt you, even though you kinda wanna just barge in and get them back with something more hurtful – which obviously then gets you on a ferris wheel of hurtful comments. Stating our feelings can do the same thing on social media.

“You told me I was stupid and it made me feel angry.”

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned. I felt sad because my best friend is Muslim and she walks my children home from school every afternoon and gives them juice and biscuits while they wait for me to get back from work.”

Share your needs

It is, as mentioned above, your own basic human needs that are at the root of the feeling. So share that too. This adds to the picture you are giving the other person. It adds the context needed for that conversation, it gives them more of you and keep connection firing.

“You told me I was stupid and it made me feel angry. I need to be able to share my opinions on my page without being insulted.”

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned. I felt scared because my best friend is Muslim and she walks my children home from school every afternoon and gives them juice and biscuits while they wait for me to get back from work. I need everyone in my community to be safe.”

Make a clear and do-able request

Making requests rather than demands recognises that we are all free and autonomous humans, simply with the job of being kind to each other. It gives you a chance to get your needs met and gives them an example of how to get their needs met. This is a slowly, slowly thing on Facebook, but, hey, they might read or do this one thing and even that would be a step towards progress in someway!

“You told me I was stupid and it made me feel angry. I need to be able to share my opinions on my page without being insulted. Would you consider engaging in this conversation without insults?”

“You shared a post that claims that Islam should be banned. I felt scared because my best friend is Muslim and she walks my children home from school every afternoon and gives them juice and biscuits while they wait for me to get back from work. I need everyone in my community to be safe. Would you consider reading her article about the attacks?”

Go long

I notice on Facebook threads that people just try and swoop in with one excellent paragraph. We try and squeeze into that paragraph all our braininess and wit and then we swoop away. We come back, of course, because *PING* someone replied to your comment with all of THEIR BRAININESS AND WIT! How very dare they! And we. just.can’t.resist. letting our righteousness shine again.

But the thing is, these huge remarks back and forth are not a conversation! Conversations go: question, answer, comment, comment, question, answer. They are engaged and open. They often build a context to work within. Not fired off in a burst of anger.

To help me see this in action I stalked Rosalie on a thread with a very, very, very angry person. Someone who had a deep unmet need and was taking it out on everyone who had a different opinion. I watched her gently asking questions, being polite, asking someone to read something. It looked SO different to normal Facebook debates.

In a way, it mimicked real life conversation. Gentle questioning and observations and feelings. The best conversations hardly ever look like even the above NVC examples, they are usually spread out with gentle back and forthing. And lots of thank yous. “Thanks for sharing your feelings about that.”

We need this kind of conversation on social media.

***

Before we left Rosalie told me the story of how First Nations people view emotional well being and community.  A Yankton Sioux elder,  Phil Lane Sr., was talking to a large gathering of tribal people. He took a stick and drew a circle in the dirt. “Our people used the circle to explain many things,” he said. “For instance, the circle represents the hoop of the people. All of the people are a part. No one is excluded. The hurt of one is the hurt of all. The honour of one is the honour of all.”

Even though the internet feels like a different world sometimes, it IS our world and the people we interact with on there are our community.

When we hurt each other on social media, in order to make an excellent point, we break the hoop and we all suffer. Every time we put connection at the heart of our interactions we keep the hoop whole and we honour our community, and ourselves.

 

***

 

PS – Thank you for reading this! I’ve had such an urge to write it after failing so hard earlier in the week. If you find my blog helpful, please do consider supporting my work on Patreon through this link!

PPS- I am joining in with the awesome Keep It Kind Online campaign today. You can find their website here and their twitter here. 

PPPS – It is Kindness Week over on my Youtube Channel – see our first bit of kindness in my latest video:

writing

I am awesome

18 April, 2017

I’ve got some big news and some honesty coming up, but first I want to share some numbers.

Next month will mark seven years of Lulastic. It’s funny to read my first ever post and see that I write in exactly the same way! I was quite experimental in those first posts – they were often just one sentence long and included a picture made on the Paint App:

This from the Ominous Silence of Babies and Toddlers

the ominous silence of babies and toddlers

and this from The Day Ramona Discovers Ears Age 9 Months

The day ramona discovered ears

Four hundred and sixty six posts later and I’ve dropped the phone-created artwork and made the writing bits quite a lot longer!! I’ve also become more focused on sharing information, raising awareness about things I think are important, rather than the little tidbits of life as a mother.

It was around four years ago Tim and I quit our London jobs and went travelling. We were confident that I could be the main breadwinner through my blog. I’d begun a little bit of advertising to pay for the costs of hosting and spam prevention and it was an exciting time for blogging- there was money being dished out everywhere! I began to get my first bits of paid writing elsewhere and we were excited about the freedom going freelance could give us.

Over these recent years the community around Lulastic has grown ten fold. Each month around 75,000 people visit and a social media community of 40,000 has grown up around it.  I’m the fourth highest ranking blog (with public records) in New Zealand and the eighth highest in the British parenting charts. WHAT THE HECK? I don’t share that to toot my horn, I promise, I’m embarrassed by even saying it. The truth is,  it completely astonishes me that this many people want to hang out here and read about this alternative living and progressive parenting. I’d always imagined Lulastic to be niche, so niche. (Hello, it’s called Lulastic and the Hippyshake, what sort of nonsense blog name is that?!)

Weirdly, though, despite the wonderful shock of having this many readers and a beautiful, wise, growing community, making money online is harder than when we first made the decision to go freelance. Contracts yo-yo and advertising is gross. I have a couple of solid gigs with the awesome folk of Green Parent and Channel Mum and my ebooks are an awesome source of income but they rely on me spending a full third of my time on admin (I’m so bad at it) and self-promotion (soul destroying!)

One of the hardest parts about creating stuff for the internet is needing things to “take off”, the waiting to see if the thing you’ve spent three days making will reach people, or if it will just languish. Increasingly I feel that my work is at the mercy of savage algorithms and the ungraciousness of timezones. It’s like financial success in this line of work needs me to be more capitalist, less artist.

And have a much more calloused heart.

~

I long to fully prioritise the two dreams in my heart. (I must use this phrase a lot, hopeless romantic I am; Juno recently said “Mum! Mum! Look at this! It was born in my heart!” as she did a roly poly crossed with a cartwheel.)

The first is to really grow the movement of respectful parenting. I want to create free resources and a website and a book and in-person workshops that help parents be true allies to their children. I am desperate to do this and I want to reach millions with these resources. I also want to concentrate on making beautiful films about treading lightly on the earth, to document our off grid life and tell stories that help people connect deeply with nature.

Weirdly (again!) these are the two things that generate the most energy (both in me and readers) but the least money!! I’ve always simply accepted that I can only really launch myself into these two things once I have “established”; once we have enough money coming in to free me up.

In a beautiful moment of syncronicity, this weekend I decided that nope, the time HAD to be now. I don’t have everything I need to do this (I lack the wisdom, the experience AND the money!) but still; the time is always now!!

And then, that night, I decided to support a creator on a thing called Patreon. I’d seen Patreon all about the place for a few months but on Friday night I made a pledge and put my money in to support a podcast for $5 a month. I immediately made Tim sit on the sofa with me and listen to the free meditations and music I got as my reward for being a patron. I spent the day feeling great about being able to support a creator I love and getting access to some awesome resources.

It wasn’t until 24 hours later that I had the realisation that I need to get myself on Patreon!!!! It was like Timmy Mallet bonked me on the head.  I actually laughed out loud that it hadn’t occurred to me earlier. I now think that on some deep level I was struggling with feelings about not being deserving enough to have patrons, despite the emails I get where mamas tell me my posts have transformed their lives with their children.

I am learning to put more faith in the fact that every so often things come out of my keyboard that change peoples lives. And I want to have the freedom to listen and be available for when those golden things arrive, to get them out in front of the eyes that need them!!

Recently, at a workshop with Non-Violent Parenting founder, Ruth Beaglehole, she asked us to list all the values we want our children to have when they grow up. Top of my list was “To love themselves, believe in themselves.” Then Ruth said “If you want your children to have these qualities than YOU need to have them, you need to work on them for you, first.” I’ve known for yonks that if I want my children to be kind, I must treat them with kindness, but I’d never applied the same thinking to all the other qualities I want them to have.

This morning as I was journalling, lying on my bed with three year old Juno journalling next to me (lots of OOOOOOOs) she asked me to write something down so she could copy it. I said “Sure, what do you want me to write?” I thought she might say “buttkiss” as that is her favourite word at the moment, but without hesitation she said “I am awesome!”

Sparks of happiness exploded in my chest. Juno won’t get away with saying that kind of audacious thing when she’s an adult. Women in particular, we get along by making ourselves small, downplaying the treasures inside. Even the idea of saying out loud, as a grown woman, “I AM AWESOME” makes me blush a bit. Especially ‘cos I’m not awesome; I’m messy and blunt and too focused and too unpindownable and too excitable and too damn angry.

But you know what? I want my daughters to be surrounded by people who go for their dreams, by women, especially, who have the faith in themselves to chase their hopes and to make them happen. Who keep that child-like sense of their own awesomeness.

So here we are. My last number.
Lulastic Patreon

Five Hundred.

My first goal is $500 a month from patrons. This will allow me to immediately take advertising off Lulastic and to begin building my new parenting website.

You can pledge as little as $1 a month and get access to my patron-only posts including behind the scenes videos and work in progress ebooks. For more $$ a month you get access to mini series and extra videos. I’ve just begin a mini series on there, Seven Deeds for a Happier Home, that includes reflections and activities to bring more joy into your life as a parent over the course of one week.

Please come and check out my Patreon page and consider supporting my work. As a little incentive to get in quick, the first 10 patrons (even on the $1 tier) will get social media shout outs for their blog/ videos/ business/ projects.

Thank you SO much for the role you have played in growing Lulastic. Never in my most raucous dreams did I imagine being able to write this kind of post. Just be warned though, if Patreon gives me the creative freedom I long for I might feel an urge to make more pictures on the Paint App…

My latest Youtube video:

writing

YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THIS! (Me, you and clickbait)

23 February, 2017

It has been so long since I blurted out a few of there things spinning around in my brain, without really trying to make much sense. Can I do that for a bit?  Today I was killing time in the river while my latest Youtube uploaded (I should have been working, but my entire computer shuts down for six hours whilst I’m uploading a Youtube video!) thinking about how hard it is to create stuff on the internet and then feel completely out of control of whether people will even SEE it, and how far I’m willing to go to get my stuff seen.

I began thinking about how the internet could be better organised so that the screaming clickbait didn’t drown out the thoughtful polemics.

Imagine if the internet was sorted like a library. Alphabetical surnames. You could turn up at the exact point in the aisle and see all the works by your one favourite writer, or you could run your fingers along the spines and select something because of the hot pink typeface. It’d be orderly and calm but you would have to sneak your snacks in, which is a bit of  bummer. Also, you’d probably get people changing their names so they could get their blogs seen. Everyone would be Aaamelia Aaaardvark.

They’d have to put an end to that.

Perhaps it could be organised alphabetically by online business name.  It would be like the phone book, where there are a million business that have come up with a name that begins with numbers and a letter A. 1234AAAXylophone Makers!

That wouldn’t be any better I suppose.

I don’t really have any suggestions for The Internet. (I’d love to know who I’m talking to when I say The Internet.)

But I do have suggestions for Creators. (That is what The Internet calls people like me – who write and make videos and generally post things online.)

And that is – put your content in the title and trust that people who want to read it will read it!

I try to keep to this, although I know there have been times where I’ve put something really WOWZERY!!! in the title in the hope people will get an important message about connecting with their kids. (See The One Word You Need To Be A Positive Parenting Whizz.) (Oh and there was also YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT SHE TURNED THIS BREADBIN INTO hahahahahahahah – I mean, for reals, can you Adam and Eve it??!!!)

If we were all really clear about what we were putting out there in the world I feel like the internet would be much easier to navigate! We’d be less drawn in to time wasting things and we’d have more time to read about the areas of learning we WANT to read, or we’d have more of a chance of actually getting OFF the internet and watching clouds float along a blue sky.

I really don’t want to be responsible for sending someone into unfulfilling internet rabbit holes instead of poking sticks into real life rabbit holes with their children and all the joy that comes of that.

It’s not an easy vow to keep.

And I consciously break it these days on one of my platforms.

The big gnarly underworld of Youtube.

Places like Youtube massively reward clickbait. They don’t even care what is inside the video, they just care how many people are clicking the video. So here is where I drop my ethical code somewhat. My Youtube video titles seem clickbait-y. I try and make people want to click them. But here is the difference – clickbait doesn’t ever deliver, whereas I try REALLY hard to. The content of my video is relevant to the title and I bust my gut to try and make sure the content of the video is good quality…

Exhibit A, today’s video:

Youtube is a bit of a mess. And if creators want their videos to be seen by people they have to play by Youtube’s messy rules.

I also figure that if people are hanging about on Youtube already, I am not driving them away from stuff they really want to be doing with their lives by having them check out my video! I hope that they will click because they think WTF? And then they get a big ole lesson in normalising breastfeeding!Me, you and clickbait

I’m not apologising, I’m trying to be conscientious about my clickbait code. But I am justifying myself to you, because I care about you and the relationship we have in this little internet community.

When it comes to myself as a consumer and participant of The Internet, I try hard to curate the things that come into my view. I have got rid of my Facebook Feed and now only use the groups I am a part of to see what they are reading and doing. I use Pocket Hits to read the latest long form and once a week I read all the news on the Guardian. I use my subscribe page on Youtube, and have bookmarked my favourite blogs. All this means I don’t have swarms of information coming at me every day. It’s not perfect – it also means I might miss some important stuff and am less likely to find a new creator to fall in love with.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you navigate a clickbaity world? Do you have a way of steering clear of things that are irrelevant to you or time wasting? Does curating your internet so rigidly like I try to mean we’ll just end up in big echo chambers?