Once upon a time, a long time ago, I had a blog. Well, I had two blogs—one personal blog and one family blog that I shared with my wife. I started them to keep family and friends updated on our life, especially since we had our first child on the way, and kept them going because writing is fun. I’ve never had any aspirations to write a novel, but I still enjoy the act of writing.
Then one day, I discovered social media. Facebook, to be exact. Facebook has this undeniable gravity associated with it. It was easy, addictive, and best of all, all my friends and family were there. So I started writing less and less, focusing on status updates and photos (especially of the kids) and getting pulled deeper and deeper down the gravity well that is social media.
For a while there, I joined every social media site I could find. I had Pinterest boards. I tried to answer questions on Quora. I was Tumblr’ing and Tweeting. I was on Ello briefly. I tried to figure out Google+. I was sharing videos on Vine and connecting with the world on Periscope. It was fun. And it was addictive.
After the 2020 election, Facebook got good—really good—at connecting you with content that kept you on the platform. Well, to be honest, it was always pretty good at that. But after the election, the content that Facebook sent my way made me feel more and more hopeless. I wasn’t scrolling because I wanted to see things, I was scrolling because I couldn’t look away. It was dark and depressing, and Facebook had become a horrible place for me.
By this point, Facebook was also a public company and advertising platform. I knew what it was doing with my data, and I was horrified by it. But I couldn’t stop scrolling. Until one day, I did. I deleted my Facebook account. Then I started deleting my other social media accounts. I started getting my news from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal (which also need to sell ads, but it’s a different game). I’m on just a few social media sites (primarily Instagram and LinkedIn), and I try to be mindful of my time there.
So what does this have to do about anything?
Well, I realized that I wasn’t as connected with friends and family as I was before without social media. Which got me thinking, how did I do this before? That’s right, I blogged. I spent time writing my thoughts down, generally in short form, and published them on a website for people to read at their leisure. It was fun. I was cathartic. And it didn’t matter who read them (if anyone) because the point was to write.
So here I am, blogging again. I plan on writing about things that interest me, and those things may not interest you. That’s fine. I will also say that this blog will probably be of little to no interest unless you know me in real life. And that’s fine too. If you’re still here, however, I am glad you’ve made it this far, and you’re more than welcome to join the ride with me.
Wayne Coburn, December 30th, 2022