Saying goodbye to "PKM Beth"?

my content is changing a bit- a check in

tl;dr my content is going to change a bit going forward. I’ve sent this post to everyone so you know what direction my content will go in, and you can decide if you’d like to stay subscribed or not.

Changes

  • I want to talk about traces, essence, finding meaning everyday, and other things alongside content I’d normally make. I explain more about what this is below, but if you’ve ever liked any of my journalling posts, you’ll probably like the new direction, if not, I understand if it’s time to unsubscribe.

  • My newsletter will be a bit more general going forward but I still want to include real insights into my systems and things like that.

If you want to read more about these changes, and the why behind them, I’ve written about it below 👇️. If you’re no longer interested, scroll to the bottom of this email, you will be able to update your subscription preferences 🙂 

I started PKM Beth accidentally in 2021 when I created a new Twitter handle. The decision making process was simple.

Who am I? Beth.

What do I like? PKM.

Voilà.

That twitter handle slowly turned into a brand in 2023, and now it’s everywhere in my life. It has completely changed my life and will therefore always be very important to me. But in all honesty, I’ve been having somewhat of a crisis about it since February.

What is PKM?

I actually cannot tell you. I have been thinking about this for months, and I still can’t tell you. So really, it no longer feels right to use the term at all.

answer: no to notion, no concrete idea what pkm is

“It”, whatever it is, is just how I live my life, and the idea of “management” is a bit icky to me right now. I’m talking about flourishing, growing, learning, engaging, things like that. I don’t believe all this is captured by “PKM”, and that’s ok, but for me it means it’s time to move on from “PKM Beth”.

I find myself just wanting to be Beth. Beth with good ideas, interesting points and an enthusiasm for ~ all this ~ that makes other people feel this is a safe space to explore things that matter to them with tools that make that easier and more joyful.

But then a critical voice comes in - what will this do to your brand? Will people even know who I am without the little orange avatar?

Before this week, every time this question popped up, I’ve just carried on as normal and changed nothing. But on Monday afternoon, a series of serendipitous events occurred, which made me think differently, so please humour me while I tell you about it.

On Monday, I was working on some social media posts for Capacities whilst listening to a playlist of songs from my childhood. "Someone’s watching over me” came on and took me back to being about 8 years old crying at the emotional ending to the film in which that song features.

a list in twos of other songs that get me in the childhood feels

I looked away from my laptop for a moment and enjoyed a nice moment with my past self. 17 years later I’m still listening to these songs, whilst taking a break from my wonderful job in my lovely new house. How time has flown.

The connection between my current self and my 8 year old self in that moment was Hilary Duff, my childhood idol, singing that song. I call these types of connections ‘traces’. I’m obsessed with traces.

There are always things, physical or otherwise, that come with you through life. They might not be omnipresent, they might fade into the background for years at a time, but they are there and they can be reminders of how far you've come.

They’re varied things for me- Hilary Duff, the Hannah Montana movie, the mirror I cringed at spending £19 on before university because of how much money that was, the necklace I wore with Twenty One Pilots lyrics on for some dark years of my life. These traces are very special to me. Sacred, even.

So once I’d started thinking about them on Monday, I was obviously a bit distracted. I took a break from scheduling socials and scrolled Twitter. I saw a link to an article that highlighted the term ‘research as leisure activity’. The whole article is a masterpiece. It was like reading my own brain.

This article references a website I’ve never heard of: are.na. I clicked on their page, curious about what they do, and I saw these 4 statements:

You can read this here. “Build a path for yourself to walk down later” - I literally drew a path in my Resonance Filter post.

I 100% agree with them. I feel so seen by them. Again, I felt I was reading my own brain. These statements are implicit parts of the life practice I have now, the one I think is now too deep to call PKM.

Anyways, I was still on their landing page. In their footer, I saw they have a merch store, and I was interested in what merch they could make. On the landing page for this store is their 2024 annual. Guess what the theme of the annual is. Trace. 🤯 

Photo from their store.

I’m one of those people who believes the human experience is a search for meaning. So the journey to arena’s merch store meant something to me, and the overwhelming feeling I had was I that wanted to write about it.

Ironically, not so much about my traces, most of that is way too personal to share with the internet (though I realise this is exactly what you’re reading about now), but about how traces might be an interesting idea for others to explore too.

How can you collect traces? What tools can help you here? Why might it be helpful, important or even just fun for you?

That’s what I want to write about sometimes, but every time I start (and believe me there are loads of drafts waiting), I get scared. “It doesn’t align with my brand”, “people won’t like it”. So they remain as drafts.

I leave traces (yes) of these ideas in posts I do publish, but to me they seem so vague I doubt they’re even noticeable.

some drafts I’ve been too scared to post

Well on Monday I decided to make a change.

I remembered how I am not trying to make a big brand for myself or be a full time content creator. I work for Capacities now, which is perfect for me. My content has gone back to something I do on evenings and weekends. So because I have less time, and no need to worry about an income from PKM Beth (sure it would be nice to cover my costs, but it’s ok if that doesn’t happen), I need to re-evaluate how I want to show up online.

If I think about my content as my stamp on this corner of the internet, the digital traces of who I am, then I want to make sure I’m authentic, and in reality most of my practices are about honouring the traces, finding essence and joy and happiness every day. Finding infinity in the mundane, as I saw this tweet put it. I just enjoy using cool apps to do this with, and I like to talk about that.

If I died tomorrow, these are the messages I’d want to be remembered for. I don’t want to be remembered for the 5 apps I was enjoying using in April.

Before now, I have been too scared to show these core parts of my human experience through my content in case I got a mean comment. The thing is, I’ve realised, the mean comments will come anyway, I may as well just create the content that resonates with me, and hope it resonates with others too. Do it scared, and all that.

So is it goodbye to PKM Beth and hello to Beth McClelland, my full name?

Yes. Slowly. It’s terrifying to start using my name, but I’m in this for the long run, so perhaps it’s time. In reality, I think as with any content creator, my content will evolve as my life does, so my actual name seems the most sensible, long term route.

To be clear, I’m not changing all my content, I still love apps and reviews and other fun stuff, but I want to add some discussion of traces, essence, meaning and the bigger picture behind why we feel so happy when our systems work, and so frustrated when they don’t. Systems are extensions of us, we need work, our systems need work. But the right ones, with the right underpinning ideas and structures can be transformational.

I think I have ideas that might help others here. I also value the conversations I have with readers more than anything. I love learning from people, with people, because I’m young, I know I have so much to learn and I’m committed to doing that. But I have things to share too, and I want this to be a safe space for myself and others to explore these themes in.

I think this new era of content can live alongside the types I was making before, but can hopefully enrich my digital footprint a bit further.

So if anyone reading this resonated with the sentiment of this post, I hope you stick around. It would be great if you could reply to let me know what resonated specifically, or what you’re most interested in hearing about.

If this isn’t for you, I understand 🙂 thank you for being a part of my journey thus far.

Beth

I’d like to think little me was taking notes there

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