|This water pipe possible symbolises G+|
There were a few years of my life, from around 2001 to about 2007, where I think I didn't actually talk to anyone. I'm sure I must have spoken to people at jobs I was at, and my parents and people serving me at shops, but, essentially, I have no particular memories of those years.
If you imagine the figure of a kind of badly, or awkwardly, dressed and awkwardly proportioned white male of indeterminable age, fat, bad haircut, stamping grimly down a street in an otherwise industrial zone, or a residential area that's falling apart. Someone with heavy shoes, who's clearly walked to get there, (they either can't afford or won't use public transport, and looking at them you know they don't have a car).
This is the kind of person that your eyes quickly turn away from. They are someone who looks into restaurant windows as they pass but who will not be seen looking out. Someone continually moving but you know they have nowhere particular to go. That was me from around 2001 to around 2007. And still pretty much me if you see me on the street about 50% of the time now.
I do not have a clear or distinct memory of those years. They are a painful blur. It's like I wasn't really there.
The recently announced death of Google Plus, and the complex feelings it has evoked in me, as well as Davids post about productivity, have lead me to think of all the things that social media has given me and has taken from me. It's quite a lot on both counts.
All of the books, a lot of the success, all of the friends and 95% of the enemies. Most importantly, a purpose. Something for me to do. I am no longer walking nowhere.
What is has taken has been more subtle and invisible. A great deal of drama and angst, a kind of intangible chipping away of attention and, therefore, selfhood. That man stomping around Liverpool may not have spoken to many people but he read a lot. Much more than me.
I have begun to think in the last few years that the internet in general, and social media in particular, is a kind of Demon Mirror. Over time it has a kind of ethereal ability to shape itself to whatever the darker, more hidden aspects of your personality are. The invisible angers, hatreds, fears and resentments that even you didn't fully process were there and which are made all the more powerful due to their invisibility. Because its not you doing this - its them. It's the internet. And for any individual event that might be the case, but as a whole, over time, it is you.
There's that old Gaiman line about tools being the subtlest of traps.
So interacting with the internet over a long period of time is a kind of strange moral educator, but in the most terrible and destructive of ways. You come face to face with the demon without realising that's what it is. It warps you and twists you. Then you either break away, and to do that you have to realise that its a reflection, that the demon is, to some extent, you.
Or you are trapped forever in glorious and pseudo-meaningful eternal war. Like a warrior inside a magic gem.
Watching the internet, and the development of social media, over the last few years especially, has been like seeing an entire culture get trapped before the mirror.
Any yet, any yet it is truly a cornucopia. Tomorrow I go to the airport to meet someone who's been incredibly important in my life and I would never have encountered them without the internet and without social media.
It has made the impossible possible, brought people together across continents, given lost and lonely people meaningful society, it is largely responsible for giving me someone to be and something to hope for other than death. Many the highest possible dreams of the technophile prophets of the past have been fulfilled and are enacted before us. They were right.
And is is also a demon in a mirror.
So, as G Plus is dying I am not going to be looking for something to replace it. At least, I will try to resist looking for something. My hope is to try to use the energy released from that site to read more, produce more, blog more and create more. I was always happier making things than doing social media stuff.
|Possibly I am G+ in this image, and the donkey is me?|
I'm also trying to meet and interact with, actual, real people more. That's what a lot of the 40k stuff in my feed has been about.
As it is, you can find me in the following places;
Facebook is a damned stupid and impossible to organise mess. Putting stuff on there is like throwing a leaf into rapids. Nevertheless, I am on there and will continue to drop the blog posts on there. I will add almost anyone who is clearly not a robot. I do not interact much on there.
I'm on Reddit. I don't know if people are going to start dropping more stuff on the r/OSR subreddit, but that's always a possibility.
I'm still kind of obsessed with minis and sculpture. This tumblr is purely for images of sculpture, miniatures and form, I will follow you on here if you produce images I like and I do not follow many.
So far my Instagram is purely for pictures of minis I have painted. I'm hoping to try to keep it that way.
I'm on Goodreads. I've been trying to review every book I read on there, to rather mixed results. If I review something I think fits I might put it on the blog a well.
Here is a Tumblr for art based on my stuff there is precious little up there but much of what is there is good. I don't use it to follow anyone.
And I also have a handful of interviews on Youtube. I may add more as and when the mood or the ideas take me.
As G+ goes away, I'm planning to post a lot of stuff that would have been there, here instead. So get ready for the number of posts to rise and quality to plummet. Since stuff won't be going to G+, I'm hoping to actually engage with commentators more. A strange new world beckons. It's essentially the old world, but with the new knowledge I have from my travels.