Everything has changed.
Well, not everything. But quite a lot. There’s not enough time to get into it, blogosphere. The world is ending and we can only move forward with the knowledge that it’s all pointless so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts. Hey, it’s 2018. I didn’t make the rules.
Kids, before the Facebook hacked our minds, we blogged on livejournal and xanga. You see, in those days, only college kids could access facebook. The social network was exclusive, and we weren’t a part of the club. We created our own club. We met friends through our blogs and in virtual chatrooms on yahoo. One of those friends owned their very own domain and offered hosting services, we were invited into the blogging collective, our very own exclusive club – and membership was focused on supporting each others content. We learned FTP and WordPress and HTML by copy/pasting in notebook from other bloggers’ websites. We learned quickly that our host considered that plagiarism* when our blog was shut down overnight. We were embarrassed and apologetic and went back to xanga with our new knowledge and our tail between our legs.
It was a great learning experience.
Everyone at college was using mySpace and facebook. Social media could be a blog and friend collective at the same time, only instead of a a few score, there were hundreds. Myspace was customizable like livejournal/xanga, but didn’t provide the same community. Facebook fed our insecurities. Facebook could also be used like a blog – but the biggest feature was directly connecting with a community. We found confidence in things that now make us cringe when they show up in ‘memories’. Twitter connected us to a larger community, the world. Linked in made us feel uncomfortable in a different way, but I was told it made me a professional so I reluctantly offered my personal information. Someone told me I should put my theatrical portfolio online to get my side-hustle on. Work my brand. Curate my content.
It was draining keeping up with it. The content I was creating didn’t even hold the mirror up to nature. It was an outrage machine and a manicured lawn at the same time. The words are carefully chosen and the filters are not subtle.
As much as I was tempted to ‘shut it all down’ in the wake of realizing how harmful it was to me personally, I miss the passion I had for owning my own corner of the internet. I wanted to build bridges, not walls. In the 90’s I would spend hours writing my point of view, perfecting the layout, finding the right pantone hex code and fonts. Sharing meant me feel heard, gave me a creative outlet. And soon I was one of millions of screaming people.
Listen, social media helps organizers. I would have never sent 236 postcards the first year of Trump’s presidency without the support from communities like Postcards to Voters and the Women’s March organizers. I canvassed and phone banked and social media influenced for campaigns. I marched for immigrants. I donated and raised money for causes I believed in and politicians I trusted. I gave my time, my energy, and minutes to holding these United States accountable to the injustices against black and brown bodies. I said the names. I went to meetings. I made mistakes and I listened and I grew. And I still have more growth ahead of me. And I still have more time and energy. And, out of many, I am one.
E Pluribus Unum, bitches.