You CAN Make a Difference

I just finished watching this video:

It's just under 6 minutes. Go ahead and watch it. I'll await...


Great! Did it move you? Did it stir something inside of you that said, "Something is wrong with the world. Something is wrong and it needs to stop!"

Something stirred in me.

2013 was, for me, a year of consumerism. I consumed a lot of media. Twitter. Google+. Email. Blogs. Webcomics. Even Facebook. If words were calories I consumes a few hundred thousand a day. I was a digital Blerch. I was in bad shape and I knew it. I wasn't really engaging my family or friends, and I knew that needed to change.

For some reason we, as human beings, have attached meaning to the more-or-less arbitrary time of the New Year. This particular year I felt like things had to change. I needed to stop consuming so much, and start producing. I needed to contribute. So I did.

I love writing (though I used to hate it - I'll post later about what changed), and I came across Draft. Distraction-free writing. It's beautiful. Previously I had been using a combination of Vim and Pelican to create my blog. But my writing and publishing process wasn't clean. There was too much involved. So I created a tool to make it right. That tool is called Draft-in-a-Flask. Written in Python, it's a little stand-alone web server using Flask, runs on Linux, Windows, Mac (and you can even get it running on your Phone) and with a little bit of setup lets you publish directly from Draft to Pelican. It's also free and you can find it here.

I felt inspired to write a post about the feelings that I had publishing my first package to PyPI, which I did, and published using my Draft/Pelican workflow. And then I tweeted about it:

As you can see I pinged a few people that created the amazing tools that I used.

A few people retweeted or favorited it. A link was posted to PyPI.

Then something amazing happened.

People started downloading Draft-in-a-Flask. At last count it was over 600. I don't know how many people are actively using it, but the fact that so many people have tried it out has made a profound impact on me. I doubt I even know any of them.

I did something. It made a difference. Something beyond the people I know and see face to face in my daily life. It may not have been a huge difference, but something I did made a difference

And you can make a difference too. Just pick something! Anything! Write an email to your Senator or Congressman. Write an email to your governor, or the editor of your newspaper. Make a phone call. Share this article or video with your friends, and tell them how you feel about it.

And you will make a difference.