43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Everybody needs a personal "status" page

Lots of sites have status pages. I wish more people had them.

  • My friend, Leslie, used to do an excellent one that included updates on her beverages, hair, and stress level
  • My pal, Jay, posts his monthly expenses and to-dos
  • I manually update a stripped-down status that shows roughly how busy I am

Yeah, status pages for people should be more popular, and I also wish they were a bit easier to make and maintain. It would be a nifty way to display information like:

  • current projects
  • number of unanswered inbox emails
  • iTunes/Last.fm "Now Playing"
  • Netflix queue
  • amount spent this month on lattes
  • current crush
  • current nemesis

I've long had a Lazy Web wish for a little perl script that could cat all the txt files in a directory into a Markdown-styled HTML page (that you could then skin with CSS).

That way you could maintain a bunch of easy lists and the script does all the building and posting automagically. You could fake this with a blogging tool, but I like the idea of having it all updated in the background.

Got a good personal status page? Seen one you liked? What would you post on yours? Have a fast trick for helping noobs make and post status points to the interweb? Care to pick up my Lazy Web gauntlet?

Gerard Morentzy's picture

Okay, I'll be the lone...

Okay, I'll be the lone naysayer. I don't get it! Why is it important for others to know what is in your Netflix queue? What song you're listening to? How many emails you have left unread? And, who the heck cares what any of our stress levels are at any given time? There is something about all of this that simply strikes me as a tad narcissistic. However, there have always been people who have had trouble being alone, and spending time by themselves is difficult if not downright impossible. Now, it appears that this same, well, insecurity, has spread to cyberspace, with a need to let others, even those who only know us as a name at a URL on the Internet, what music we are currently listening to and what we had for dinner and what movies we're getting ready to watch and what mood we're in as we prepare to watch it! I can't imagine our grandparents hanging out a sign on their front porches that read, "Status Update: We're watching Gunsmoke, had coffee with cream around 3:00 - and we're in a foul mood to boot! By the way, 11 pieces of mail are on our dining room table unopened and unread." Why the need these days for so much of our lives to belong to everyone else and live them not so much for the enjoyment of life, but for the "sharing" with the "community?" And not just conversation (an age old back and forth that our grandparents did plenty of), but exclaiming the minutia of our lives for any and all to read? Nope - I don't get it. Maybe I feel my life's minor details aren't important enough to share with the world, and I'm just envious of all the other people leading exciting lives who are looking for creative ways to let others know about it. I usually love the ideas from Merlin and 43 Folders, but I don't understand this need for micro self-disclosure at all; and I truly think it's time to take a step back before we all walk into this brave new world of sharing and baring of our lives in such public fashion. Is it just me?




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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