Planting the Seed
It feels like there’s been a tremendous lead-up to even writing this post—ironic, considering how I tried to make it as easy as possible for myself. (With some concessions made for a simple, pleasing site design, and Eleventy, my site generator of choice. ❤️ u, Eleventy.)
I’ve been on the internet for a long time, and writing for the web used to come much more easily to me. It’s likely that some of this just came from being a motormouth kid with not-too-many outlets—thank you, undiagnosed ADHD! But I think it’s also the case that until quite recently, as far as “online” was concerned, long-form writing was simply the default. Even before the web had really made inroads with the general public, there were technologies like Usenet and Gopher and BBSes, and of course the mid-to-late-'90s was the era of the home page, when folks flocked en masse to sites like Angelfire and Tripod* to erect hypertext monuments to their lives and hobbies. And that’s all before “blogging” as a term had even entered the public lexicon—so there is some history behind the internet as a place for writing measured in paragraphs, not characters.
But, well, times do change! I’m quite a few years out from my last LiveJournal post, and I enjoyed only a year or so of regular posting on Tumblr after that.* So most of my last decade’s worth of writing has been for Twitter, an SMS-derived platform best known for perfecting the art of short-form yelling. Yelling about your favorite TV show! Yelling about politics! Yelling at the customer service rep for your bank! Yelling at wife guys! I am not much for yelling, so I didn’t get much more than constant anxiety from this part of the platform. But at its very best, all those years ago, Twitter evoked the feeling of hanging out in your favorite chat room of the '90s, cracking jokes with your semi-anonymous friend group. And I did love it, for as long as that feeling lasted.
So here we are now in 2023, almost a year out from my big Twitter exodus. My preferences in technology have shifted pretty dramatically in the last few years, so I think it was an inevitable departure, even if certain events hadn’t hastened the whole process. The fediverse has been a pretty comfortable place to set up shop in the aftermath of everything; most of the neighborhoods you’d want to occupy are relatively quieter places, but it’s a change that’s been good for my mental health. The chat, as it were, moves a lot slower now. But there’s also a lot less yelling!
I’m hoping that this site can fill a slightly different niche outside of what I’ve found in the fediverse. I like the idea of digital gardens as spaces for learning in public, and I think these are enjoying a bit of a moment, at least partly thanks to popular tools like Obsidian and Notion. But I also appreciate the blog as a representation of one’s self at different moments in time, especially as someone who’s lived so much of her life online. (I loved Jason Kottke’s piece for the 25th anniversary of kottke.org, which, I think, runs fairly close to this line of thought.) Maybe there’s a good fit for me that’s somewhere near one—or both—of these? So, in the spirit of learning in public, here’s my first collection of words for this space. I’m planting the first seed! Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll stick around to see what it becomes. 🌱
- Both still around to this day! I know. I couldn’t believe it, either.
- I still have and use this Tumblr account because Tumblr, for all its quirks, is my very favorite of the larger social media platforms. My feed is a wonderfully curated selection of Primo Internet Content: shitposts, miniatures, zines, fancy cakes, cat videos. Bliss!! But I did archive and delete all of my old college posts, because they are mortifying.