What’s going on with Bite Size Vegan? Where have I been? What have I been up to? Find out about all the developments and what you can expect moving forwards.
- What to Expect from Bite Size Vegan Moving Forwards
- A Note on Getting Notified
- What I’ve Been Working on with Bite Size Vegan
- Why Bite Size Vegan Is Still Just Me
- My Apparent Absence from Social Media
- Closing Thoughts and My Deepest Thanks
I have been wanting to publish a formal update for so very, very long about all the developments with Bite Size Vegan. While I’ve been doing my best to keep my patrons in the loop, I know that—for the most part—there’s been radio silence on the website and my social media platforms.
A lot has happened since I had to stop regular content production in order to focus on the foundational and internal aspects of Bite Size Vegan. While there’s no way for me to run through everything, I wanted to touch on a few highlights. But first, I wanted to tell you what to expect from me moving forward.
I will be moving back into producing new content on a regular basis. However, my video release frequency will not be the same as it used to be because, in addition to the videos, I’ll be devoting time to:
- creating free eCourses;
- writing free comprehensive downloadable guides for all stages of veganism;
- enhancing the accessibility tools and resources for all existing and new content on BiteSizeVegan.org; and
- ensuring that I can continue providing quality content at a sustainable pace.
Plus, not to bore you with the details, but there is a lot that has to happen behind the scenes—like accounting, data management, website updates, social media management, and plenty of other mind-numbing minutia.
I have to say that I’ve struggled greatly with how to communicate the last handful of years in some abbreviated summary. I equally struggled with how much of the difficulties to share, as well as how to convey the progress and victories. I’ve had to accept that it’s simply not possible to encapsulate everything. Until mind-meld technology becomes a thing.
I’d like to start with the biggest announcement that I’m the most excited about. I’ll then share other activities from the last few years, and finally, address why I’ve been largely absent from social media platforms.
One of the main projects I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into is the complete rebuild of BiteSizeVegan.org from the ground up to serve as the epicenter of Bite Size Vegan content and provide free resources and tools to the community. tweet this
Non-vegans, new vegans, and activists alike can utilize new feature such as:
- an advanced guided search for finding just what you need—allowing you to create living curated results pages for yourself, generate vegan cheat-sheets, or send specific resources to non-vegan friends and family, with a custom note and everything;
- “Get Started” guides for every phase of your vegan journey;
- free eCourses that combine Bite Size Vegan videos with new course content and quiz questions for a complete educational experience; and
- ways to search for content by topic, or browse all content using powerful filters.
I’ve always intended for Bite Size Vegan to be a living library of information about veganism, bringing together the accessibility of engaging digital and social media content with the integrity and depth of research-backed, transparently-cited educational content. However, before rebuilding the site, trying to find what you needed was like walking into a library with a big pile of books in the middle of the room. Good luck! Information is only as effective as one’s ability to find it.
I founded Bite Size Vegan on the belief that everyone deserves access to solid, factual information on issues impacting their health, our planet, society, and the lives of other sentient beings. With this belief at heart, I poured countless hours—and taught myself a few computer programming languages—to make it easier than ever to find exactly what you’re looking for. I’m so excited to give you an overview of the new features in a dedicated video. Of course, you can check them out for yourself now.
Another significant change is that Bite Size Vegan is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. In my mind, Bite Size Vegan has always been intended as a public service, so shifting to a nonprofit made the most sense. Though the process was far more extensive than I’d realized—and I cannot ever get back the mind-numbing, soul-sucking time of reading dense governmental regulatory documentation—I felt it was important to align Bite Size Vegan’s structure with its mission.
Bite Size Vegan being a nonprofit doesn’t mean it’s now a large organization. It’s still just me. I’ll explain why that’s the case later in this announcement. As always, any support goes directly into the creation of more educational content and resources, but now, your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law.
Not everything during this time was mind-numbing admin and dense computer coding. I also delivered speeches around the United States to primarily non-vegan audiences; spoke on three panels at the National Animal Rights Conference: Veganism as Social Deviance, the Power of Language and Rhetoric, and the Power of Videos in Advocating for Animal Rights; and had the honor of speaking (via Skype) to vegan activists in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia at the Animal Activists Forum.
I published the Sydney speech, “How to Speak Non-Vegan | Effective Activism Through Mindful Language,” so if you happened to miss it, be sure to check it out. If you’ve ever struggled with how to effectively speak to non-vegans about veganism—and especially how to communicate your message without sacrificing your integrity—that’s the speech for you.
A completely unplanned project during this time was the Alive by Accident documentary. On my first visit to Iowa Farm Sanctuary—our state’s first and only vegan farmed animal sanctuary—IFS co-founder Shawn received a call from her husband, alerting us that a semi truck carrying cows to slaughter had flipped on a highway about 45 minutes away.
In the two-part documentary, I chronicled that fatal livestock trailer accident—which granted eight cows bound for slaughter a chance at life—and the subsequent rescue.
In part one of Alive by Accident, entitled Impossible Rescue, you join Shawn and me as we visit the crash site, begin the long search for survivors, and finally bring the eight surviving boys to their new forever home. In part two, The Survivors, you get to meet the survivors—each an individual in their own right.
The final project I want to highlight is the new book: Vegan Voices: Essays by Inspiring Changemakers. It is a comprehensive collection of compelling essays from a diverse group of vegan voices. I had the honor of contributing to the book with my essay “The Harm of ‘Humane,’” which delves into the reality behind humane labels and animal welfare legislation.
You can learn more in my announcement about the Vegan Voices release. This incredible book is all thanks to author and editor Dr. Joanne Kong.
Now that I’ve shared some highlights of what I’ve done during this time, I’d like to do my best to explain why Bite Size Vegan is still—for the most part—just me.
When I had to stop regular content production, one of my primary focuses was to bring in other people through a combination of professional service providers, a central employee, and a team of volunteers. Delegation always appeared to be the most logical solution to the ever-increasing demands of Bite Size Vegan.
Coordinating volunteers, assistants, or employees is a full time job in and of itself, so I’d never been able to do so while actively producing content. I was cautiously optimistic that I’d be able to find and involve others with Bite Size Vegan such that I could focus on what I’m good at and leave the rest to them. However, despite many, many efforts, this simply hasn’t been the case. It’s difficult to explain exactly why—the reasons varied with each situation.
Aside from financial considerations, a major factor complicating this entire area is the nature of my Autism. Despite what you see in my videos and speeches, communication is profoundly challenging for me—especially when it comes to logistical things I’m uncertain about and emotionally close to. In order to communicate what, to many, may be the most basic logistics—for me requires such extreme time and mental energy that I’m left with neither to focus on my actual work.
I’ve had to accept that I must find a way forward that works for me—with all my challenges and limitations. This means, in part, that involving others will remain much more limited than I’d like.
I appreciate that this will not make sense to many people. My inability to communicate the nature of my difficulties with—well—communication, is a source of great frustration. Accepting that is still very much a work in progress.
Before wrapping up, I’d like to address my apparent absence from social media. My infrequent activity has not been due to my walking away—far from it. The catch 22 of social media is that creating the “appearance” of activity (meaning regular output on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube) consumes so much time that it inhibits actual activity and work.
This may not be the case for everyone, but for me, as an Autistic, I have to shut those doors to be able to focus on what’s important. So, what may have appeared from the outside as a period of inactivity was, in fact, quite the opposite—I was working extremely hard on a number of fronts, some of which I’ve already covered.
The nature of social media platform algorithms has been—and remains—the primary barrier for me when it comes to finding a sustainable way to operate Bite Size Vegan.
I chose to make Bite Size Vegan digitally-based—utilizing social media in order to increase access to solid information that’s usually made inaccessible either through paywalls, educational requirements, or the sheer lack of time most people have to conduct in-depth research. I wanted to reach people where they are, which—for better or worse—tends to be social media. I still stand behind this mission; open-access to researched, non-biased information is a passion of mine that runs as deep as my veganism.
However, the reality of social media algorithms is that, in order for my content to actually reach people—for subscribers and followers to be notified, as well as for the content to be recommended to others—the platforms demand constant output. While I believe in quality over quantity, less frequent social media posts means that the content I do create reaches less and less people.
Yet, the logistics of writing and producing the kind of content I do at the pace demanded by social platforms was—and is—simply impossible in the end. So, I’m left with the options of either:
- producing less content and maintaining quality, but sacrificing the reach of that content, or
- producing shorter, simpler, fluffier content more frequently, thus sacrificing the integrity of the content—though, perhaps increasing reach.
One of my focuses during this period of limited content production has been finding how to balance the goals of Bite Size Vegan and the demands of social media. Or, more so, how to reach people with Bite Size Vegan content and resources without compromising the integrity of the content—or my own sanity.
I have to admit, I’m still unsure of how to achieve this. This is one of the reasons I’m encouraging you to subscribe to the newsletter or follow the Bite Size Vegan Telegram channel. Telegram doesn’t operate on an algorithm to decide for you if you really want to be notified of Bite Size Vegan content. You just are. Same with the newsletter, aside from spam folder and Gmail Promotions tab issues.
I’ve always erred on the side of integrity over reach, though it is frustrating, as my goal is to reach as many people as I can about veganism. However, I also have to ensure that the message I’m reaching them with isn’t diluted. So, my mantra has become: quality over quantity; substance over social media.
I want to thank everyone who has been so patient and supportive during this time of transition for me and Bite Size Vegan. To my family on Patreon, and independent supporters, whose steadfast encouragement has been a rock for me through uncertain and tumultuous times. To everyone who’s not given up on Bite Size Vegan—your belief in the importance of what I’ve set out to do has spurred me onwards.
No matter what, I refuse to give up. Everyone deserves to know the truth. Our planet deserves our attention and care. More than anything, the sentient beings in our animal products industries deserve freedom and safety. They deserve everything I have to give—and I intend to give them my everything.
I hope to have you along this journey with me. To stay in the loop about new Bite Size Vegan content and updates, remember to subscribe to the newsletter or follow the Telegram channel for the most reliable notifications. Now go live vegan, and I’ll see you soon.
— Emily Moran Barwick