I’m sure I am not the only one who is currently re-evaluating where I spend my time online. Two tangentially related articles gave me lots of food for thought on this topic over the past couple of weeks. First, Dave Rupert makes this point in It takes one person to knock down a silo:
Wherever you end up I want to offer an idea; you are the value. Your ideas, your insights, your compassion, your ability to help someone in need, your dumb puns and dank memes; that’s what’s valuable. This situation has me thinking hard about where I’m distributing my contributions, where I’m adding value (modest as it may be), and who is benefitting.
Second, Jamie Zawinski asks that we Do Not Use Services That Hate The Internet (please read the whole thing, it’s great):
If posts in a social media app do not have URLs that can be linked to and viewed in an unauthenticated browser, or if there is no way to make a new post from a browser, then that program is not a part of the World Wide Web in any meaningful way.
I like how these posts urge us to consider how, before Facebook and modern social media, the “social web” was pretty much just labors of hypertext love, loosely held together by the online equivalent of duct tape—RSS, trackback links, blogrolls, IRC, etc. I’m not saying we should go back to those old tools specifically (although ooh.directory—”A collection of 951 blogs about every topic”—is pretty sweet). But maybe it’s worth going back to why we invented those awkward solutions in the first place. We saw an opportunity to connect with like-minded people online, to form communities around niche interests, and to make our worlds bigger. Those are worthy outcomes, even if the solutions we had at the time might not be ideal any more.
So where should we post now? I’m going back-and-forth on that a lot. Depending on the day/time/mood, I either want to go all-in on this blog again, or revive Tumblr, or give Mastadon a solid try, or just double down on the newsletter… In short: I have no idea at the moment, but I know I want to keep writing, so I’m trying a bunch of things and hoping at some point I find something that works and that doesn’t make me feel gross. Wherever I end up, I hope that it’s a place like the one Dave describes in the post above:
I hope you’re somewhere that values your value. Somewhere where the stars, hearts, and thumbs up feel like authentic relationships. Give your contributions to someone or some place that appreciates them. In Biblical agrarian parlance, “Cast not your pearls before swine.”