For Sarah, Rachel and April

Twenty five years ago, I was celebrating my 21st birthday with my college roommates. However, I received a call from my dad that abruptly ended the celebration. My cousin and her three young daughters had been murdered by their father; one of them in the arms of her grandmother who was trying to protect her. He had purchased a gun in Seattle and then drove down to Oregon and shot them in their front yard. The oldest had just come home from her first day of kindergarten.

My dad picked me up from my apartment, and we drove down in silence to my great-grandmother’s house. The extended family was gathering to be together and to try and understand what had happened. Twenty five years later and I’m still not sure any of us understand. Can you ever really understand something like that?

Today, an eighteen year old kid murdered twenty-one people in an elementary school, and those memories have flooded back to me. I can remember that night like it was yesterday. As I try to process this horribly tragic event, I am sickened by my emotions. They aren’t the emotions that I should be feeling. I’m not feeling anger; I’m feeling resignation. I’m feeling a disappointment in myself because I cannot muster the outrage that the murder of children should evoke.

I don’t want this to be normal in the world I live in. But I find that anymore I simply feel helpless. I know that deep within I still have intense feelings of anger, but over and over and over and over again that rage runs headlong into the hopelessness. It just hurts too much.

We should be better. But we aren’t.

I’m sorry Sarah, Rachel and April. We keep letting you down.

A Year of Holidays

If you follow Silverpine on any of the major social media platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) you may have noticed that our logo tends to change around many of the holidays. For the past year, our amazing art director, Nicole Levin, has been creating mini-masterpieces that help us celebrate many of the holidays that Silverpine employees observe.

There are a couple reasons why we did this. The most obvious one is that it’s fun! It’s been a very rewarding exploration of using our logo in the context of a wide variety of different types of holidays. I’ve had many people internal and external comment about how much they enjoy them. However, we also did it as an exercise and demonstration of the intention of the Silverpine brand.

These holiday logos are a demonstration of the meaning behind the Silverpine brand. I’ve always envisioned it as an amplifier for other brands — Silverpine augments and amplifies, but never gets in the way. This logo exercise is a small attempt to illustrate that concept.

Nicole and I have already discussed adding more holidays to the mix over the next year, and perhaps even tweaking or improving some of the past ones. Have a favorite? Let us know which ones you like! My favorite is definitely the Halloween spider pictured here.

The Trouble With Cross Posting

Recently, I setup a microblog ( to supplement my interactions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. After several conversations with my friend Manton, I decided that I would setup a new WordPress site and use that as the content “repository” and use cross-posting tools to distribute out to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

There are several reasons for doing this, but my primary motivations are:

  1. I want to spend less time on the individual social media platforms.
  2. I want to own my content and have better control over it.

After a little bit of consternation over appropriate domain names and blog names, I set about assembling the site and my work flow.

One of my high level requirements is that I wanted to be able to post to my microblog from my phone. Another of my requirements is that I wanted to be able to post entries both with and without images. Of course the third requirement that I mentioned above is that it needs to cross-post to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Naively, I just assumed I could use the WordPress app and setup a few IFTTT triggers and be done with it. As you can guess, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Let’s tackle cross-posting of images first: what should be posted to Instagram for a blog entry with no image? With multiple images?

Realizing that simply posting from WordPress wasn’t going to work, my first instinct was to modify my workflow so that if I wanted to post an image, I would post from Instagram and use an IFTTT action to then cross-post the image to my microblog which would then cross-post to Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, using this method is like playing a game of telephone with social media and the end result looks like this on Facebook:

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.30.16 AM

Several of my friends replied after seeing these asking if my computer got “hacked.”

Images aren’t the only troublesome area either. Take for instance cross-posting of text posts larger than 140 characters to Twitter. It turns out that IFTTT is actually quite terrible about handling these as well:

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.47.32 AM

Simply truncating the text without a link back to the original post is the worst kind of tease and also not acceptable. What a good cross-post tool should do is truncate at word boundaries and provide a link back to the original post. IFTTT is simply not up to the task for this.

In fact, as it turns out, IFTTT is actually quite terrible for cross-posting to just about every platform. I am investigating other alternatives at the moment but as of right now, I am still stuck with those terrible Facebook cross posts, and I have no way to post directly on the microblog and have the ones with images get cross-posted to Instagram.

Fortunately, there are smart people working on these problems! I’m using a beta tool to do the cross-posting to Twitter. The beta tool actually works quite well and I’ve been trying to convince the author to expand to include Facebook as well, but he’s reluctant to add more features at the moment because he’s trying to launch.

With so much out of control negativity and lack of author control on Twitter and Facebook, it feels like there is an opening for something like micro-blogs to augment existing platforms in a positive way. And while I don’t think Twitter or Facebook are going anywhere, I believe micro-blogs can help fill the gap for content creators that are conscientious about their craft.

I’m still exploring other avenues for cross-posting and I’ll try to post updates as I find them either here or on the microblog, but it feels like this is a viable, mostly untapped market.




So this is the requisite “I used to blog and then I stopped but this time I’m serious about it” post. Like many people I have followed a pattern of ups and downs in terms of blogging continuity throughout my online existence, and it is my sincere intent to break the cycle this time around.  In particuar, Manton’s post combined with Matt Gemmell’s article have rekindled a desire to be better about developing and sustaining a rhythm.  I certainly have plenty of ideas, and it really is only my own lack of discipline that gets in the way. Anyway, I won’t blather here longer about new beginnings but if you don’t see regular output here, feel free to remind me of what I’m saying here.