A part of me holds nostalgia for this aspect of the Internet I grew up with. Back when blogs played a bigger role in shaping and developing the Internet culture, and being the exemplar way of how we sought to express ourselves online (or, perhaps for those of us who find both solace and agony inside written language).
Blogs were (mostly) safe spaces where we could share our thoughts and views. We were often influenced to think we were sharing our thoughts and views with the world, but really we were writing to a known audience. We were writing to the people who read our blogs; unless you were a 2006 Internet celebrity or mom blogger, our audiences were small and narrow. Perhaps both to our benefit and to our detriment.
How does this compare to today? Most online content by the masses is condensed into bite-sized thoughts: tweaked for the tweet, fed to the feed, and longing for the likes. Our thoughts and ideas are in competition in a race where attention is sparse. But to blame this solely on social media is not fair either. More consumers and producers exist today than we had fifteen years ago. We have more means to produce content today than our bandwidth-challenged dial-up connections at the turn of the new millennium. Social media went mainstream in our society because it was at the right place, at the right time.
As we progress further along in this decade, the art of blogging as a vehicle for human expression becomes sidelined further in nostalgia. Maybe in part because we have less collective time than we did before. Perhaps also because we became lost in this mirage of how we are supposed to appear and how we are supposed to act when our lives are lived out in this strangely self-controlled yet algorithmically influenced existence. Blogging, as a form of expression dating back to the earliest times in the Internet, exists partially outside this algorithmic existence.
Yet it still exists. For me, my blog is still online. But my blog maintains an absence of these kinds of emotional, artful expressions that better show me as a human being, not just a contributor or participant in some technology projects or communities.
So, lost somewhere in that cyclical loop of (self-defeating?) nostalgia, I push my thoughts out into the sea of the Internet; a message in a bottle without a final destination. Just a thought: here for a moment and gone in the next.