So now that I have my own website, I have to also face up to the fact that I had been a quite active internet user since, well, 1997-ish. Thankfully the Internet Archive doesn’t have any record of my first Xoom (or was it Geocities) website, where I put mainly pictures of Aliens. I did for a while have also not one, but two blogs on blogspot (one called Think and Explain and the other Ahava), and tried to join a blog collective De Grondslag (untraceable). Then, for mostly vain reasons, I also had a blog on a newspaper portal (Volkskrantblog) called Dit en Dat (archived). I actually posted all sorts of opinions, and even poems (!) on those old blogs. Hilarious to read them back, this one about History and the threats to Western Civilisation in 2006 (in English), or these poems in Dutch:
But then, the monster which ate the internet arose. Facebook. In a way I feel bad that so much content (ideas, conversations, questions, jokes, interactions) have been thrown into the myth of the personalized experience (timeline), and I should (one day) sift through the content I created and/or shared on that platform and somehow salvage it. Or should I? Facebook’s own feature to remind you of your own memories is nice and kind, but it rarely brings to the front the more meaningful (text-based) interactions I’ve have with people.
Well, I do share a lot of things and ideas on Facebook, and care less about the privacy around those messages. Is this smart? Is it a romanticized idea that the Internet still is a great place for conversations with (connected) strangers? Funnily enough, people who I know in real life occasionally thank me for continuing to share stuff on Facebook, and seek to engage in conversations.
And yesterday, it was somebody I remotely know from my old student association Catena, who got somehow inspired by my reckless #public challenging of the Facebook algorithm (not really my intention, but that is how he perceived it, which is great), and proposed that – in order to fix our addition to swiping-sans-thinking – we should just produce more content and seek out public interactions. Makes sense! Thanks, Maarten!
So there is this urge to be visible, to be read and commented upon. Perhaps I just like writing and should do it more? Wouldn’t be a bad conclusion of this short investigation.
Ultimately, what I would like to see more, is opinions and experiences of people. Short incidents, insights. Things that make you wonder and think. Can we do that more? If not on Facebook, where?