Why I Blog

Here’s the tweet in its entirety: “Fuck you and everyone who thinks like you.” That’s what Twitter thought I wanted to read after coming back after three days.

Shamus Young on engagement algorithms and quitting Twitter

I’ve all but quit social media. I haven’t so much as looked at Facebook in years, and only look at Twitter for the period of time between when someone or something links me directly to a tweet and the time when I remember that Twitter isn’t optimized for people who want to read anything important.

For the most part, this wasn’t a very deliberate decision. There was no cost vs. benefit analysis, no hand-wringing over social costs or Internet addiction, no personal attacks driving me from the square. I just stopped having fun and stopped logging in accordingly.

Reddit appears to be the last holdout. I just deleted the app from my phone and my login on my computer has timed out, and I’m not particularly feeling the urge to go back.

When I first started writing this justification, I worried it was redundant. Surely everyone knows the dilemma by now; the greater web is a hive of outrage, addiction, outrage addiction, mingled with stuff we really want. Then I realized, the “stuff I really want” is the real heart of the problem.

It’s not that I need to read. It’s that I need to write.

It’s bizarre that I haven’t explicitly noticed this until recently. Until I’d already set up this blog. But when I stopped to think about my output explicitly, I suddenly noticed that I write hundreds or thousands of words daily, for fun. Regardless of how busy I am. And I’ve been funneling it into blog comments and forum posts and reddit and the like.

Anything you contribute, that might be of use to the world in the longer term (where the world can mean your friends up to the actual entire world) should be in a form where the world can use it and refer back to it, to build upon it.

Zvi Mowshowitz on the problems with Facebook

Reddit’s not as disposable as Facebook or Twitter, but it’s still too far in that direction for me to keep expending my kind of time and effort on it. If something’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well, and this blog doesn’t turn out to be Doing It Well then maybe I’ll have given myself the motivation to spend my time more wisely until I feel good about what I’m doing.

The final straw was the realization that I have things I want to write that don’t belong anywhere else. Yesterday I held myself back because I thought it would be poor form to write a thousand-word essay as an offtopic comment on someone else’s blog. Isn’t that what blogs are for? Why don’t I have one again?

We’ll see where this goes.

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