June moves into the home stretch! And onward we push through those thirty posts nearing the end of what I’ve been writing every year this month. For the fifth year in a row I’m back to a month of daily blogging: each day a new post on a new topic, but on the same blog-per-day topic as last year, creating another set of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be about something that I want:
To Break… This Conversation
The internet is broken.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, part of me used to believe in the inherent goodness of people and the idealism of a world where everyone at least partly strove for some kind of quasi-state of reverse entropy. That together we were building something really cool. That together, working in unison, we would add to this collective sprawl of knowledge, art, beauty, and clarity.
Idealistic, I know, but there’s still part of me that would rather be hopeful about the universe than depressed about whatever current perception demonstrates. Head in the sand. Pollyanna syndrome, perhaps.
But call me Ishmael, Ahab whatever, because my white whale is the digital anonymized rage of our online humanity.
See, I’ve been watching, reading, participating, and doing my own little part to add (I think) positively to the aforementioned collective in ways that (I hope) entertain, inform, or simply amuse a small handful of people. It’s just me writing and posting and sharing, but I try to do so against a self-regulated code of philosophical beliefs that nudges the things I do share towards creating and enhancement of the lives of people who read this, and avoiding adding to the rot whenever possible.
idiots will ruin beautiful things
It’s a little thing.
That said, people will be people, faceless and anonymous idiots will ruin beautiful things, trolls will be trolls, and entropy is a far easier way to leave a mark than the opposite effort. To break an egg is simple, to put it back in it’s shell is nigh on impossible.
I’ve been watching and thinking about this for a long time, but its only really started to bother me in the last year or so. For a while I thought that diving into the fray with both feet and trying to understand it would improve my overall taste for it. Instead, it just pushed me to get more and more annoyed by it. I’d peruse some article on a respectable news website, then get caught up reading (never feeding back into, but absorbing a little bit of) the raw hate and anger of the comment thread. I’d throw my two cents into the Twitter stream, and like a venomous splash of spray be hit by the backwash of merely having an opinion in a space where true identity is selective and barely real. I’d post a few words or a photo to other so-called social spaces and discover that occasionally and unrecognized by themselves, even the most sensible and level-headed people I knew from real life could act in the virtual space like spoiled movie starlets. (No, really, I’m not talking about you.)
I am no better. I am just the same, I know. In fact, I am probably capable of being the worst of them.
Blah, Blah, Blah
These words may come across as a bit of a blog tantrum, I realize, and though I’m trying to write it in a rational and even-minded way there is no way to write that you are pulling back on something for a while without someone claiming that “you’re just taking your ball and going home.” I get it, but then it’s not that either.
hey… you’re just taking your ball and going home
Take this blog, for example. Participation here is virtually zero. I can’t tell you why comments are as rare as they are. People are visiting. People are reading. No one is saying anything. Oh well… I guess. The thing is that when I look at places that are able to drive commenting, it is sadly much worse than my near-zero participation: in fact, it is oh-so-rare for those comments to even resemble something additive to the conversation that in the noise of the trolls and the anger and the venting and the raw digital vandalism for vandalism sake makes me cringe in horror at the dread of someday actually become popular enough to be the target of someone else’s vacant-minded derision. In some ways, I’d rather just be talking to myself and shouting into the void than attracting the sorts of people who seem to have the time and energy to write comments on popular websites.
I’ve occasionally made it clear that this blog is a letter to the future more than it’s a conversation with the present. So, do I really need to pretend that it’s both?
Thus, I’m breaking illusion that a little more. For now. For a while. Nothing is permanent and knowing myself I also know that I’m as changeable as the seasons on these sorts of things. A few months ago I withdrew from active promotion of this blog in those social spaces and effective July first, exactly half way through this year I’ll be pinching off the intake pipe for whatever dribble of conversation was flowing back in towards me. I’ll be turning off my comments completely. Something tells me no one will even notice.
I’ll still be lurking in those other social spaces, but this space is no longer a conversation.