I’m not alone in noting the level of intolerance and reactionism that has come to plague online social spaces. I have seen the following quote from Warren Ellis mentioned by a few people I follow as they nod their head in agreement:
Sometimes I wonder what it’d be like to go full-bore blog again, like in the old days. Twitter’s only real use is as a notification system, after all, so you’d just pump out post links to it from your blog. You know, the way people used to, when having a place for your own voice and your own thoughts was a good thing.
I miss that long moment when the web seemed full of people doing the same thing, or thinking in public. It happens in the Republic Of Newsletters, now. But it was nice to have all those little radio stations broadcasting in the night.
I like social media. I like keeping in touch with friends and family, and seeing the little day-to-day things they share, for the most part. But it’s become a cacophony of bits and pieces of things without context, followed by a string of reactions with little to no thought put into them. By nature, these fly by so quickly, that there is an obsession to keep pumping them in order to stay relevant and in people’s faces. Internet time was already fast, and social media has made it almost nonexistent.
I like the idea of slowing down a bit, of going back to a time in Web 2.0 when we were all sharing, but at a more measured pace, and with some modicum of thought put into the message being posted. That’s what blogging does: it forces the writer and reader to slow down, to think about the message, not just what but how it’s being said. Yes, some people treat blogging as their own personal Twitter/Facebook timeline, with short and constant updates, but in my experience, that’s the exception and not the rule. The platform calls for you to write in sentences, not just soundbites or quotes.
Ellis further writes,
“I’ve seen the idea circulating for a while: come off the streams, own your own platform for your own voice and your own complete statements. It seems like a reactionary step, from some angles. But maybe that great river, The Conversation, was, like every river followed to its source, a dead end.
There is still merit to social media, aka The Conversation, but right now it is a toxic wasteland of passionate intensity (in the way Yeats meant it in The Second Coming, which isn’t a good way). I prefer to come back to my online home and sit on the porch, where I can compose my thoughts having taken the time to think, analyze, research, and organize, rather than just blindly agree with, or spew vitriol at, the thing right in front of me each passing second. I can still take limited part of The Conversation by sharing my posts, by inviting you back to my porch, where we can both slow things down and think, not just react.
I have my RSS reader ready.
Bring on the New Age of Blogging.