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Jumping the shark

I've talked in the past about how important it is to sometimes make something for the fun of it, without the intention of learning something from it (though that can be a nice side effect) or for work.

When we make something for the fun of it, it can help remind us why we enjoyed this in the first place, and freshen things up a little bit.

It helps break up the grind.

As a content creator focusing on educational content, it can turn into a grind as well, and I have to do different things to break things up a bit.

That's one reason I enjoy live streams.

Lives help bring a different dimension to things, letting me interact with people and sometimes go in different directions than I'd intended. One of those live streams was a challenge brought up in the community: to try and code while blindfolded.

It was a blast to do live, and the chat was really into it, so I decided to edit it up and put it onto YouTube.

When editing it, I realized it wasn't the type of content most people subscribe to me for, but I thought it might be a fun way to break up the monotony on there as well.

It seems that people have enjoyed it for the most part, but some people feel that perhaps I jumped the shark with that one*. And yeah, they're probably right 😂.

*jumping the shark means going too far over the top and away from the original content. It's from the TV show Happy Days where one of the characters was water skiing and literally jumped over a shark.

Those comments made me reflect a bit on my brand, and what I make videos for in the first place.

I don't want to dive that deep here, but I've got to here by creating educational content and by helping people with CSS, and that's what I want my brand to be centered around.

Looking back at that video, I'm still happy that I did it, though it wasn't very educational.

The live stream was a blast, and in general, while the lives do get into educational content, the vibe is very different. But that's the thing, live streams aren't the same as the regular content I put out. It's a smaller, more intimate audience.

In general, live streams are fun because they make the person you're watching more relatable. You see the mistakes they make, the research that goes into things, and all of that. And it's a bit like hanging out with someone.

I do think I could have approached the YouTube video differently.

Rather than just editing the original live stream, I should have done a "lessons learned from coding a website blindfolded" instead.

As ridiculous as it was, coding blindfolded did highlight the advantage of the forgiving nature of CSS.

Some people don't like that CSS doesn't fail as other programming languages do. But - and I say this a lot - CSS doesn't work like other programming languages, and for good reasons.

We've had some annoying things pop up because of it, such as vendor prefixes, but the idea that I can write a line of code that the browser doesn't understand, and it can just keep on going is wonderful.

I use this on my current site, using a masonry layout on my course page. Sure, most visitors to my site don't get the masonry layout. But they still get a perfectly fine experience.

It could look a little better, but it's functional, and once their browser of choice gains support for masonry layout, they get an improved experience.

Progressive enhancements are the best, and CSS makes it easier than any other language to implement because of the forgiving nature of how browsers handle it.

I could have focused on that side of things, but instead I focused on the sensational side of things.

I won't stop with some silly content every now and then, but I do plan to think about it a little more before porting it over to YouTube, and focus more on the "why" or "what can be learned from this".

Not because people don't like it. I'm not here to make people happy. I am here to help people learn though. To get better at what they do, become less frustrated with CSS, and hopefully get a job, or a better position, because of what they've learned.

Whether we like it or not, seeing more sensationalized content over educational content will change people's perspective on the value that comes from a certain source, and I just need to keep that in mind in the future.

And if you'd like to be a part of the sillier stuff from time to time, do give me a follow on Twitch (which is full of non-silly stuff as well!), and if not, then that's cool.