Not all online banter deserves to be heard.
I read a lot of bullshit online. The comments on a sports media outlet’s Facebook post. A random thread identifying all types of abuse and sloven behavior on Twitter. Once I read about a man who had a Jolly Rancher in places one should not have them. And that brings me to Reddit. The front page of the internet. The place I’ve likely read as much as multiple volumes of Dostoyevsky. The time sink of the internet.
In 2007 I really hit blogging hard. It gave me a way to voice different ideas about marketing and the freelance jobs I was taking at the time. It was interesting and I made quite a few acquaintances during that time. People that I still see tweets from and the occasional Facebook post. But back then we were like a community. We had sites like Entrecard and Stumbleupon to engage us and to bring us new visitors. We lifted each other up. I remember helping a fellow blogger put together a graphic for his sidebar. Someone else stopped by and helped me fix css on my site. And we all marveled at the large audience blogs. Heck, I even posted a guest blog post on one of them, and a few others. The site where I used to blog was purchased 13 years ago and I named it jasonboom.com.
Today I decided not to renew that domain.
It’s been gone for a few years now in all actuality. I have a backup of it, but it’s not online. I’ve thought about putting it in a separate directory for old time’s sake, but I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.
That transition, from owning to not owning the domain, started me thinking about what it is I do with my time now compared to then. Back then I didn’t have a smart phone. I logged many hours reading blog posts, writing blog posts, bettering my website. Then Twitter came along and I hopped on there, like so many other bloggers at the time. We engaged and had fun, but somewhere along the way I lost my voice. I stopped interacting on sites. I only consumed the content, and rarely made myself heard. In an online game I used to play our officers had a policy that new members could only read the text of the chat, but they couldn’t communicate until they verified with us that they read the rules. We called them window lickers. The look but not touch users of the digital era. I feel like that now and I’m not sure I know how to really engage in modern social media. It’s all a bit overwhelming. Even Twitter seems like a giant vacuum of smart people all clamoring for attention.
My life changed too around the time I started blogging. I was recently married in 2007 and we welcomed our only daughter in 2009, so there was a short window where I was a newlywed without much disposable income. And during that time I enjoyed the golden age of blogging. I miss it.
Sure I have more I can do today. I have better toys, a bigger house, a job that’s way more fulfilling. But I’m still missing something from that time. So I decided why not try to bring it back, even if no one is listening. Here. On this blog. Where I can again find a voice among the many online. I can stretch my imagination. I can recapture what has been lost among the comment threads, social media snapshots, and the ten second attention span.
And maybe, in the process of enlivening this site, I can also cut down on the phone use. I can stop reading the meme driven comments on Facebook. I can put down the dull threads of chaos on Twitter. I can dive into the interesting ones on Reddit and stay away from the time sink as much as possible.
Maybe. We’ll see. At least, this feels like a start.