TagMedium

Using Facebook Group emails to post updates

I’ve spent 942 hours playing Destiny That’s 5 weeks 4 days 6 hours 8 minutes 45 seconds of my life I’ve spent inside a world created by Bungie. I love this world and my gaming friends. Bungie puts out news about the game on their blog which some of us read religiously and some ignore completely. In an effort to get the information into people’s hands more easily, I wanted to set up a way to get the new post to our Facebook Group every time Bungie publishes a new update.

I thought this would be simple through IFTTT but they removed the Facebook Groups channel. I learned that each Facebook Group has its own URL and Email address. It’s usually Groupname@groups.facebook.com. However, my group’s address did not work. I had to setup the address since we never had (and didn’t know we could.)

Facebook provides a good article for creating a web and email address for a group I administer. In short, do this:

To create a customized web and email address for a group you admin:
1. Go to your group page and click the … in the top-right corner.
2. Select Edit Group Settings.
3. Next to Web and Email Address click Customize Address.
4. Enter your web and email address.
5. Click save.

Now you’ll be able to post to your group using that email address as well as being able to access and shared the Group’s page directly at http://facebook.com/groups/GroupName

I used this to create an IFTTT recipe to send Bungie’s Destiny updates to our clan’s page.

IFTTT Recipe: RSS to Facebook Groups (via email) connects feed to gmail

This recipe can be used to send any RSS feed to any email address. Not just for Facebook Groups. But it solved the problem I had.

Infrastructure

I’ve thought a lot about the follow your passion mantra. Building your life as you wish you had it and doing meaningful work. And that’s great for people who are able to do it.

It’s great to have the entrepreneurial spirit and have the skills to make a go at working for yourself. I applaud you. My wife works for herself. My brother works for himself. My family either is self-employed or was before.


I’ve always worked for someone. Most recently for a string of government agencies for a longer list of government contractors. It’s not where my passion lies. And it’s not meaningful work to anyone outside of myself and my customers. But it pays the bills and provides financial stability so my wife could quit her job and work for herself.

I am the infrastructure that makes it all possible. I think about this a lot because I wonder who else is the rock behind the scenes supporting a loves one’s business while they get going.

Who else is the rock bringing in the steady money working the unimpressive job?


Do I wish I could work from home and make my schedule? Sort of. I’m not a great person to work for. I’m highly motivated and go above and beyond. But I also have my days where I can’t do anything and want to lay in bed or waste the day.

Would I be a good employee? Maybe. Would I enjoy the freedom and flexibility? Absolutely. Do I have any idea what I’d do for myself? No.

I don’t know what I’d do for myself. I don’t know where I have the skills to make a living for myself. So I trade my time for money. I go to work. I answer phones and support others. I come home and turn my brain back on and enjoy life.


It reminds me of an article I read awhile back. “Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from

Here’s my life. My husband and I get up each morning at 7 o’clock and he showers while I make coffee. By the time he’s dressed I’m already sitting at my desk writing. He kisses me goodbye then leaves for the job where he makes good money, draws excellent benefits and gets many perks, such as travel, catered lunches and full reimbursement for the gym where I attend yoga midday. His career has allowed me to work only sporadically, as a consultant, in a field I enjoy.

The author is able to write and live the life she wants while her husband works a job that support their lifestyle.

While his job sounds better than mine, I do the same thing for my wife. I sponsor her while she gets her business up and running. I make sure we can pay our bills, go on vacation and put some money into savings. I have been as lucky as I’ve been smart with my career moves and negotiation.

I don’t have catered lunches or a gym membership, but I have doubled my salary in the past 5 years. I didn’t attend Master’s program nor did I pay for expensive certifications or training classes. I worked hard and I learned a lot on the job. But I also fell into a lucky niche that was interesting, easy and paid well.

Comfortable

What am I doing here?

I just turned 35 and I’m working at a help desk. I just turned 35 and I spend my days answering phones telling people their user names or reactivating their accounts. I spend my days doing the same thing I did the day I left college.

I’m very well paid for the work I do. It’s not fulfilling nor interesting. It’s not something I enjoy or think about. This job has no emotion to it at all. I go in to work and I shut off my brain. I don’t need it. It’s rote memorization and repetition of questions and facts.

But that’s also the point of this job. I don’t need anything challenging. I don’t need to spend my days struggling to solve hard problems or make the world a better place.

I perform a job, a function that’s needed and can’t be turned over to a robot. I answer phones and I talk to people. I enable them.

I’m an enabler. I help them where they would fail without me. I give them tools to complete their work. I fix problems and guide. I help.

My job is a job. I work. I go home. I don’t think about it any more. It’s not a challenge. It’s a job. It pays me. I can afford a nice place to live. I pay my bills. I can afford a nice life and to travel and live in a nice house with my wonderful wife. I can afford to be comfortable.

I buy comfort with my job.

The callers keep me comfortable. They fill the hours. They pay my bills. They keep me working. They keep me comfortable.

Comfortable isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Medium over Message

The medium doesn’t matter. Ever.
You could be furiously scribbling into a notebook fueled by black lights and caffeine.You could be typing frantically into Xanga, LiveJournal, MySpace, WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter, Textpattern, or some home-brewed app. The medium isn’t important. It’s the message.

As a geek I tend to get distracted by the newest, shiniest blogging platform. Some new way to get my thoughts out of my head and on paper to share or just to get released. To a degree I’ve cared too much about where and how I display my words.

Writing was always my release. All through school from 7th grade, where I had a teacher who introduced me to the power of my own written words. All through high school and some of college. I wrote.

I wrote poetry. Rambling prose. Techno-laced metaphor mind trips into my deepest fears. In college, humor was the refuge of my passion. I wrote an anonymous humor column for a few years. Until my time ran out as did the funny.

Nowadays, there’s such stigmas about certain places. LiveJournal is as a wasteland of whiny teens penning complaints to their peers. Xanga is practically the lower caste of writers. MySpace is… well… simultaneously the meeting place of musicians and artists and a place I actively avoid due to its eye-bleeding graphics and pages. It’s the worst of GeoCities/Xoom/Homestead 1990s reincarnated.

Then there’s Facebook, the college public square. Now infested with the same skeevy corporations who push credit cards for T-shirts online as they do on campuses.

And of course Twitter, the medium quickly becoming the goto spot for…. everything. Promotions. Announcements. News-sharing/gathering, inane breakfast lists, and anything else you can possibly think of.

It’s not where you write, it’s what you write.

I started a blog in 1998 as a badly coded HTML page on my members.xoom.com page. After NBC bought it up and turned it into nbci.com and killed the hosting I moved to Xanga where I wrote for a few years. Then LiveJournal when I was able to secure an invite. (Remember those days?)

Then I experimented with WordPress/MovableType/Textpattern/Expression Engine and a hand full of others until finally deciding to live in the Textpattern camp.

And now, I’m more in favor of Tumblr’s simplicity and ease of posting and sharing. Mix in a bit of twitter and it’s a delectable soup of inane banter and commenting.

My blog withers away while I try to find my voice and my focus. As this piece wanders haphazardly along so does my writing.

What I’m trying to say is it doesn’t matter where you write or how your words make their way into the world. Just write. Just let out the feelings and stories locked inside your head.

Find a lovely font to type in or a comfortable pen and favorite notebook and let the words flow.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the medium. It’s the message that’s important.