As a bit of a disclaimer: Although I make some statements that come off as objective, this post is an opinionated post. As the content on this blog grows amd evolves, I am hopedul that my writing abilities will too.
..So, some of you are probably wondering "What the hell, epithet? ..and what's with the name anyways?"
A long time ago in a galaxy far away stood a boy with a fascination of information and technology and a yearning for connections past the superficial. He actually sat, at a chair in front of his family computer. And from the setting of this chair and family computer, he found a wondourous world of unlimited possibilities and potential. This world is what we now know as the internet. The boy did not have many material items, nor did he have much of a social presence due to his family relocating more often than a growing boy would prefer. While some aspects of his life seemed to never stay consistent, there were others that he could rely upon for stability.
Of the many sources of stability, came his experience in that chair. At the tip of his fingers existed an endless source of unforseeable destinations. Each destination requiring a small amount of effort, a bit of intent, and a desire for exploration. Along the way and throughout time, the destinations changed. From individual user homepages, to blogging platforms, to small social communities, to communities oriented around a game or tool, and then eventually to what is now known as social media. A long time has passed since those days in the chair in front of the family computer. Along with time, so did people. The names that were used, as well as the relationships changed. The whole experience transformed over time. But the desire to explore, and the fascination for information remained.
If it wasn't obvious, this is a (very brief) history of my experience on the internet. Through this journey, I have found that over time the limitless destinations and endless possibilities seemingly dwindled, or so it feels. While there is great value in a limited selection of unified or standardized platforms to interact with your friends and family, and I have reconnected with many people whom I otherwise would have no glimpse into the life of, I am increasingly feeling like the interactions on these platforms are by nature inhibited.
In a platform where you are presented with every friend or family member's most meaningful posts and comments, by the hundreds or thousands, sustained personal connection is seldom found. Social media seems to foster a sort of unspoken competition between individuals to continually move the goal post of personal success, and otherwise show the world through a series of unremarkable images and words. It fosters a superficial environment in whoch individuals are less willing to allow themselves to be vulnerable to their peers. This may not be the case for you. Many people are very happy with their experiences on social media, and I have absolutey no intent to change their persoectives on this. It would be naive of me to assume everyone has the same wants and needs in life, or even a particular tool.
On that note, the phrase "if all you have is hammer, everything starts looking like a nail" comes to mind. For a certain time, I found myself bored of my experience on the internet. My gaming friends will tell you I don't game anymore, and those that follow me on social media have undoubtedly wondered if I'm okay based on my lack of activity. I may be a bit of an introvert, but the truth is that I'm very outgoing if I feel I am in a comfortable environment. My social media account felt like the only avenue for me to share my thoughts or experiences with my friends across the way, and seeing that my experiences with social media as been lackluster, I simply stopped sharing.
The "other web"
To go a bit further, I have to admit that for a short while I felt like society has been devaluing spoken/written word (I might eventually make a post about this specifically, but let's keep it moving for now). Long ago, I would write pages and pages of writings. My experience with social media had left me with this feeling that since (to get back to the analogy) all I had was a hammer, everything i wrote felt like a social media post. I felt as though if I wrote words in my personal journal, or any old notebook laying around, the pressure of social media weighed on that piece of writing . I began feeling the same way about writing as I did about posting. It may sound silly or even like a poor excuse for a lack of motivation, but I was being completely honest with myself in recognizing this feeling.
I even went as far as to devise an expeirment which confirmed this but ultimately backfired on me. The failure of that experiment is what lead me to creating this site (i think that will be topic of my second post, but no promises). The intent of this experiment was to see what effect distancing myself from social media might have. The result was that I found myself in a much better head space, but was missing the interaction with my friends and family. With this sentiment, I sought out to find an alternative to my usual social media experience. The search lead much to be desired. Along the way I found there are groups of individuals who have removed themselvse from mainstream social media, and exist in a completely isolated echo bubble. Based on my previously described experiences, you can imagine that this was not what I was seeking. What I did find in this seach was a group of people who are attempting to build up the "otherweb". They hold this ideology that the golden era of the internet was the late 90's/early 00's, a time when we would browse the internet by following a trail of personal websites loosely linked together. While the presentation of information was far from standard, there was a sort of status quo amongst these loosely woven sites. Flaming text, blinking backgrounds, low resolution images, and the old Guestbook were some of the commonalities amongst these sites. However, the most notable commonality was that each of these personal sites were custom made by an individual.
Personal websites were the ultimate precursor to social media. In essence, it was the original social media (on the internet). Rather than swifly scrolling past a post or picture from all of your contacts in one place, it required intentionally navigating to individual websites. Unfortunatly it has become seemingly more difficult for individuals to have a personal website. Not due to the cost (in fact it's cheaper than ever!), but more due to the lack of exposure. A large amount of people experience the internet solely through social media, as these platforms have become a have-all do-all sort of environment. Their goal is, and they are doing so quite successfuly, to keep their users' attention within their platform.
So, that brings me to my goal with this blog. My goal is not to disconnect and completely remove my social presence, but rather broaden it. Rather than posting content directly to social media, I intend to post to this website first and then cross post to my social media profiles. If you are a friend or family member, I would like to suggest that you might save this website as bookmark and frequent it often. I very much hope that when you come to this site and read some of my posts, that you will take a moment to reply or comment. Single words and one lined responses are welcome, but if you could take some time out of your day to give me a pragraph or two, I would be absolutely elated.
And my hope? I hope that reading this website will inspire you to consider posting a bit of content of your own on the otherweb. There are plenty of easy ways to do this, and whichever method you chose is ultimately up to you.
Thanks for reading!