On New Year’s Eve in 2019, I announced I was back to blogging for 2020, then put up one post about doing a photo project and just … disappeared. I’m pretty sure you know exactly where I went––into my house, like everyone else, with my three weeks of food and other essentials to last out the pandemic, ready to return to the real world in April.
Is it April yet?
We are now heading into the fourth year of living in a society rife with COVID, where a stranger’s cough two aisles over in the grocery store sends fear through the hearts of immunocompromised people like me. This winter is shaping up to be possibly the worst flu season this century so far. And then there’s RSV and the common cold, and that weird fifth thing no can seem to identify. We have war in Ukraine and protests in China and unions striking all over the US because wealthy CEOs can’t be bothered to remember that the people who work for them are, well, people, who need to feed and take care of themselves and their families. Who need to get off their feet every once in a while and rest.
Don’t even get me started on the very tenuous state of our government in a nation that’s holding on to democracy by the skin of its teeth. (I love that expression. It’s so absurd.) And the cherry on top: We’re losing our town square on the internet, where we shared thoughts and knowledge and discussed these important issues, because a billionaire wanted to get his way.
The Twitter situation, the ensuing mass exodus to Mastodon, then Hive, and now Post, and the controversies surrounding all of these social networks––it’s reminded me why I’d wanted to start blogging again at the end of 2019.
Back then, I said this:
Social media, I think, is really good for selling things and for keeping up surface connections, but it’s rarely good for deeper connection and it’s pretty awful for memory keeping. And with everything that’s come out about how Facebook uses its algorithm to push controversy and fake news, and how its employees read private messages, and the refusal from Twitter to curb white supremacy and other hate speech, social media has begun to feel less social and more media. It’s a place where my life––my thoughts, experiences, and relationships––are sold or traded between companies for profit. I’m not okay with that.
Here we are three years later and things have only gotten worse.
Back then I was leaving Facebook and feeling all kinds of mixed emotions about it. Three years later, I have zero regrets. Facebook was terrible for my mental health. But I do regret not sticking to my commitment to writing more here. I talked in that post about holding space for creativity, but I let worry and stress have that space instead. Now, I’m reclaiming my time.
In my 2020 goal planning, I asked myself how I can have more ownership over my data. Then I detailed out steps for moving my photos and memories and thoughts here. During that first year of the pandemic, I worried about pulling away from town squares like Twitter. I wanted connection. I think we all did. But we can have connection without giving billionaires and AI scrapers our words, thoughts, and art. Without losing ownership of our digital history. We can have our cake, eat it, and still control the usage of the yummy cake pics that we share with our friends online.
Mmm. Now I want cake.
I’m not planning to dump my social media just yet. In fact, I’m happily signing up pretty much everywhere in hopes that one of the fresh crop of social sites will become our new and improved town square. But I’ll be keeping more of my photography here, and thinking and writing more deeply in this space. And logging memories, because the story of my life should be in my control, not Facebook’s.
I’m not going to commit to a posting frequency just yet, I’m going to let that be organic. But the list of things I want to devote time to talk about here is growing long, so I’m hoping this time, I’m back for good. As always, expect a mix of topics, with photography, memories, recipes, writing-related stuff, favorite books and films, and lots of small furry friends making frequent appearances.
I hope you’ll join me on this new adventure, but visiting here, or by starting, restarting, or sharing your blog with me. And if you want or need any tips or help getting your own site set up, hit me up. I’m always happy to share!