The humble author is a fan of anachronistic media—it’s probably worth getting this point out of the way before getting into my reasons for launching a personal blog in 2019. I collect records, books, prints, and ephemera, and love them ardently. I can’t imagine conjuring such passion for Spotify, though I use it nearly every day. I am tech-literate luddite, a curmudgeon, somebody who bemoans plenty while selectively subscribing to tech’s various “innovations” and “disruptions.” Lately, I have been a bit flummoxed by the way tech and politics have intersected. Like many, I am disturbed by the privacy implications of uploading a lifetime’s worth of data to enormous corporations with opaque privacy policies. But aside from the ethical questions that tech has lately raised, I am struck by another fact: quite frankly, Web 2.0 stinks. It’s rotten. It’s no good. Feeds? Could do without ’em. Ads? Cool, yeah no thanks though. “Networking?” I’ll pass, honestly. I launched this blog simultaneously with a move away from social media, and also away from services provided by major tech conglomerates. I am a longtime shittalker as far as Amazon is concerned, but I have decided to switch away from Google services as much as is practical as well. To that end I set up a Fastmail account, and will continue to use DuckDuckGo as my search engine, as I have for several years.
My resolution to blog rather than “post” and “share” was motivated by (1) my desire to control my data. It is widely known that the major “free” service providers in fact capitalize on user data. Harnessing WordPress—free, open source software—to post to private server space just feels better. (2) My desire to engage deeply and intentionally with the internet services I do use, while cutting out pointless, wasteful “scroll time” on crummy social media apps. Platforms like Instagram are designed to promote maximum engagement… but do they promote learning or meaningful connection? This line of inquiry might be hopelessly naive in 2019, and perhaps it reveals me for what I am: a sentimental reactionary(?) but I have to believe that these are questions worth asking. Because if we’re not spending our time learning and forging meaningful connections, what are we doing, really? (3) A desire to decouple myself from services offered by tech monopolies. Break up big tech. Caveat: I can’t help but love Twitter.
The idea is to make this blog my “home” online, the primary, self-directed manifestation of my digital avatar where I hope to post a variety of reflections on the IRL world I spend most of my time engaging with. I am looking forward to seeing where this journey takes me.