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Introducing: The Shift

01-14-16 Sparkbox

A writing project designed to help us produce and consume unique perspectives on topics relevant to the web industry.

Lately we’ve been thinking...

Writing is Hard

There’s no doubt about it, writing is hard. Though it can be an amazingly cathartic and educational experience, staring at that blank page can also be soul-crushing. It doesn’t help that most of us have some level of imposter syndrome nagging us. Combine these challenges with our yearning for instant gratification and to have our ideas supported, and it’s easy to see why social statuses between like-minded friends have replaced more thoughtful, long-form writing and healthy discourse.

Twitter is Brutal

Twitter has become a dumping ground for ill-thought-out opinions. Removing the barriers to publishing seems like a great way to encourage people to be a part of discussions they might not otherwise. Unfortunately, for all its possibilities, the platform can actually discourage well-thought-out conversation.

You Grow the Most When Challenged

It’s comfortable to follow the writings and opinions of people just like you. But the best way to grow is to actively seek information and experiences that challenge your perspective. Without an intentional effort to diversify the content you consume, it’s difficult to change your actions to be more inclusive. In other words, you are what you eat.

Introducing The Shift

Thoughtful, challenging conversations will only happen if we work to make them happen. So, we’re excited to introduce an idea called The Shift—a writing project designed to help us produce and consume unique perspectives on topics relevant to the web industry.

Here’s how it works:

  • a topic is announced on the first Monday of each month

  • if you’re able to contribute, you announce publicly that you’re participating in this shift using “#startYourShift” hashtag

  • everyone is invited to research, consider, and publish about that topic on the last Friday of the month at noon Eastern

  • all contributors share a link to their piece using “#startYourShift” hashtag on Twitter and any other platforms where they please

  • we all get to be part of an industry-wide conversation on a specific topic

There’s no requirement on length, although we’d encourage you to be intentional with your words. You get a topic, a few weeks, a deadline, and a group of other people working alongside you. You’ll be part of something bigger than yourself, and you’ll be considering a topic of importance to the web industry. And, hopefully, we’re all challenged in the process.

This project is open to anyone with the desire to listen and grow. We encourage you to invite those you know—especially those from underrepresented groups—to participate in the conversation.

Start Your Shift

January’s publish date is coming fast, so you’ll need to get writing quickly. The topic for this month is “How to Make the Web Better.” This first one is intentionally vague, so write about what you believe will help us make this industry a better place. Friday, January 29th, at noon Eastern is the time to publish.

Follow @startYourShift to be notified of each month’s topic and to be reminded as the deadline approaches.

We hope you’ll join us and help start The Shift.

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A portrait of Vice President of Business Development, Katie Jennings.

Katie Jennings

Vice President of Business Development