- Cyber Patterns by Jason Levin
- How Me and My Internet Friends Are Using AI
How Me and My Internet Friends Are Using AI
Long live AI Twitter threads
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It’s May 2023 and the AI revolution is alive and well.
A ghostwriter friend of mine is making $9,500/month writing strictly AI Twitter threads. I just signed a new AI client. For a completely separate client, I’m hosting an AI demo night at a VC firm in NYC. Generative AI startups raised $1.6 billion in Q1 of 2023. AI is here. It’s gone mainstream.
So I figured it was about time to talk a bit more about how my internet friends and I are using AI.
First, this is how I’m using AI:
Let’s say I’m doing content writing for a startup and need to come up with 10 tweets per week, I often ask ChatGPT to come up with ideas.
A typical prompt would look something like: “Write 10 witty insightful tweets about the future of venture capital with 3 sentences each with no hashtags” because everyone knows using hashtags makes you look like a bot.
ChatGPT will then spit out 10 tweets. Maybe 3 out of 10 will contain an interesting idea. All 10 will be written poorly with no style or flare, so I’ll take the good 3 ideas and add my style to it. That knocks out 3 tweets for the week. I then use my good old brain for the rest.
I’ve experimented with using ChatGPT to write threads as well with prompts like “Write a Twitter thread containing 12 tweets each with 3 sentences about why it’s important to be a good reader.” I’ve also used it for writing blogs. But again, none of these are written with any style or flare, so I spend a long time editing them to meet my standards.
The moral of the story: You can’t just copy and paste ChatGPT content. You have to add your style. ChatGPT is an excellent idea generator, but a terrible writer. The same goes for any AI writing apps.
All the visuals for Cyber Patterns were created using DALL-E 2 or Midjourney, but not completed using AI apps alone.
I prompt an image on Midjourney with aspect ratio 2:1 with the function “--ar 2:1” at the end of the prompt. Then, I always use Photoshop to touch up the images, either by changing the hues to match the Cyber Patterns colors or by using the content-aware fill function which fills a selection with similar pixels.
Done. I do this every single time. I can do newsletter cover images in 10 minutes or less now. Voila. Thank you AI.
Again, you see the common theme: DALL-E 2 is a great place to start, but basic Photoshop skills will get you to the next level. Spend some time experimenting with writing prompts and playing on Photoshop.
P.S. At the end of the day, the key to solid AI image prompting is knowing what you want. If you want some help on your branding, book a time with me.
How my friends are using AI:
Randy Ginsburg, Content Agency Owner (@GinsburgRandy)
Randy’s one of my close friends and runs an agency focused on ads and blogs. As a digital nomad, he tries to remove himself from his business as much as possible so he can spend time sightseeing.
“One of my favorite ways to use ChatGPT is as both a copy and developmental editor. It quickly catches any typos or spelling mistakes and often suggest new angles for the article that I previously haven’t thought of. An example prompt might be ‘read this blog and point out any typos, grammatical mistakes or areas of improvement’ and then maybe add another line like ‘I’m looking to achieve ‘x’’ to give more context.”
This is pretty brilliant. Plus it helps remove him from the business even more. He just told me he’s creating a prompt library for himself and his employees. So now his employees will be able to ask ChatGPT for help instead of him. More time eating croissants and sitting on sailboats for Randy!
Kiernan Geoghegan, Programmer (@kiernangeo)
Kiernan is a big-brained programmer still in college. One of the smartest kids I’ve ever met. When I asked him how he’s using AI, he said,
While kinda crazy, Kiernan’s experience is not unusual. There’s been loads of people learning new programming languages thanks to ChatGPT.
Robert Scoble, Blogger (@Scobleizer)
Robert has been blogging about tech longer than I’ve been alive. He’s been super supportive of my work and let me know how he’s been using AI.
“I'm part of a growing group of people who use AI first. First to make my toast in the morning (June Oven). First to drive me and my kids to school (Tesla FSD). And first to seek before making any major decision (OpenAI's GPT). Using AI first leads to better human outcomes. It does strategy. It does a lot of things people have no clue about. But even if it gives you a shitty answer it helps you think and covers the bases.” I never thought to consult ChatGPT on strategy, but I just gave it a try based on Robert’s suggestion.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to grow a cultlike following for Cyber Patterns so I told ChatGPT “Pretend you're Steve Jobs. How do I build a brand that is like a cult?” It then gave me 5 pieces of criteria and I started journaling on my own about how I could hit them. Quite fun thought exercise.
This is same theme I’ve been seeing for writing and visuals. AI gives you the basic ideas, but you of course still need to add your human touch.
Nathan Baugh, Writer (@nathanbaugh27)
My friend Nathan Baugh is using ChatGPT as a partner to write a fiction book. It took him years to write his first book and now it’s been a much faster process thanks to ChatGPT.
“A lot of first-time authors go from idea to published book in... 7+ years. You have to write the book, get an agent, and find a publishing house. My guess is most authors will hate AI, but a little speed in the industry may be a good thing. I guarantee you a lot of people are doing this. But doing it behind closed doors without letting anyone know their work was at least co-written with AI. I'd rather experiment in public with it.,” he tweeted.
Nathan’s experiment reminds me of a new feature in Khan Academy’s unreleased AI bot KhanAmigo. Students can go back and forth with AI on a story. You write two sentences, AI writes two sentences, etc. Super interesting.
Jordan Mix, Nerd-In-Residence (@jrdnmix)
Jordan is the Nerd-in-Residence over at Late Checkout. He currently leads an AI newsletter and community called You Probably Need a Robot.
“At the beginning I used chatGPT as an assistant. Now I use it as a coach. I’m learning how to talk to robots, thinking about it in first principles and only adding tools into my workflow that really help and aren’t just hype.”
Ok “I’m learning how to talk to robots” is officially the coolest thing somebody has ever said to me. Love how we’re all learning right now.
Justin Fineberg, AI Founder (@JustinFineberg)
Justin grew his TikTok to 200,000 followers talking about AI and ChatGPT. He’s also the founder of an AI app currently in beta tasting.
“ChatGPT is the ultimate creative partner. For someone who has tons of ideas on a daily basis it allows you to move quicker because it helps articulate your ideas into a series of words that is most impactful. At the end of the day, It still needs to be your ideas and your creative expression, but it can help you articulate your ideas better.”
The same common theme: ChatGPT is great for idea generation, but you need to put the finishing touches on it. You need to put your soul in it.
Don’t sell your soul.
Last week, I mentioned the difference between “soul in the game” and “skin in the game”, a contrast I stole from Nassim Taleb’s Skin in the Game.
Like you can tell when a blog or tweet is written solely by ChatGPT, you can tell when someone’s soul isn’t in the game. They may be posting under their real name and have skin in the game, but they’re just copying and pasting ChatGPT so their soul isn’t in it. Using AI isn’t selling your soul. Mindlessly copying and pasting AI generations is.
The moral of the story: It’s your soul, your weirdness, your uniqueness that makes your content special. Use AI as a base layer, but don’t forget to always add a touch of your soul as the icing on the cake.
3 things that helped me be a better creator this week:
📘 As of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with work, money, and time — and how I can balance all of them. If you’re thinking about these things too, I highly recommend the books Pathless Path by my friend Paul Millerd and Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman.
🚀 I’m a huge fan of The Growth Newsletter from Demand Curve. It’s one of the most thoughtful, genuine marketing newsletters out there. It’s not just a bunch of growth hacks, but includes a lot of valuable information about growing companies and communities online.
🤝 I found this piece How I Promote My Content by Harry Dry at Marketing Examples really helpful and true to my soul. He includes a bunch of promotion avenues I never really thought about like Indie Hackers or Slack groups. Plus he’s a big believer in giving away free value online and making internet friends.
Thanks for reading nerds.
Create some cool shit this week.
P.S. Want to really upgrade your content strategy?
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😂 For my book about meme marketing, head over to Memes Make Millions.
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