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New Year's Message: Do Something Different


Techdirt has been running since 1997 in one form or another, but since 2008, each year for the last post of the year I've written something where I do a little reflection on the year. The initial reasoning behind this was in response to some questions about how I could possibly stay happy while so frequently writing about depressing stuff, and that's what many of the posts have been about: the general optimism of the forward progress of innovation, despite the annoying hurdles and roadblocks that get in the way. Rage all you want at the unfortunate impediments to bringing about a better world, but don't become so cynical that you miss out on celebrating all the wonderful things that have improved lives around the world in the meantime. If you want to view those older posts, here they are:

2008: On Staying Happy 2009: Creativity, Innovation And Happiness 2010: From Pessimism To Optimism... And The Power Of Innovation 2011: From Optimism And Innovation... To The Power To Make A Difference 2012: Innovation, Optimism And Opportunity: All Coming Together To Make Real Change 2013: Optimism On The Cusp Of Big Changes 2014: Change, Innovation And Optimism, Despite Challenges 2015: New Year's Message: Keep Moving Forward 2016: New Year's Message: No One Said It Would Be Easy... 2017: Keep On Believing. This year, I'm going to focus things a bit differently. Last year, I talked about the struggles of 2017 and the importance of hanging in there in the face of adversity. And, really, 2018, was a lot more of the same.. But, it also had some really fun highlights -- including our successful Kickstarting of a card game, based on a public domain internal (formerly) top secret CIA training game that came to light following a FOIA request. That game recently shipped out to all backers. We also got involved in another game -- a big election simulation game that got all sorts of attention based on confusion over what it was about... though, even that resulted in a fun opportunity to run that game again as well. Those two instances both took me out of my comfort zone and into something entirely new -- and has left me thinking a lot more about being proactive about doing new and different things.

After writing Techdirt for more than two decades, everything I do here is still my number one focus and passion, but it's been interesting to see what can be accomplished by branching out and trying something a bit different. So, for this post, I want to look forward to 2019, and trying some different things -- branching out and figuring out new ways to actually make good things happen. We've got lots of plans, some of which are well in progress (stay tuned), others of which are half-formed and hopefully will grow to reality, and some of which are still just inklings in the back of my head (or in the heads of my colleagues).

One of the most powerful aspects of watching how Techdirt has grown and evolved over the years is seeing how much of an impact it has had on various discussions and debates of importance. But we can, and should, do more. And you should to. One of the big complaints we hear about social media these days, is that it's just people sounding off, rather than doing anything. That's a ridiculously unfair criticism if you have seen at all the kinds of things organized thanks to social media, but there is still an important underlying issue there. If you believe in something: see what you can do to make it happen.

So, that's my focus for 2019: to do more and experiment with different ways of pushing the ball forward. Not everything will be a success (and many things may crash and burn), but if we want to make the world a better place, we might as well take every shot we can get. So stay tuned for hopefully some exciting announcements and plans this year (including, just maybe, one that will be announced, let's say... tomorrow).

Of course, we can't continue to do what we do -- whether it's keeping Techdirt going or experimenting with these other ideas -- without your support. We've put together a handy-dandy page on all the different ways to support us so you can just go check that out (though, I'll call out special attention to picking up our CIA card game, as that's available right away and is only available while supplies last).

And, as I say each and every year, what makes Techdirt so exciting and wonderful to me, personally, is that it truly is an amazing community of people. I still think too many journalism operations get things wrong by pushing off their community, but this site only exists because of the community that has built up around it. I wake up every day excited and energized by this community and the discussions and ideas shared around here. This goes beyond just the commenters (who make up one fun aspect of that community) but everyone who reads and who shares what we do. Thank you, again, for making Techdirt a special place this year, and we look forward to you joining us as we explore new areas in 2019.


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