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Reflection The Internet Writing

Questions to guide what you write online to help shape the internet you want

Replied to Revisiting Remarkable Content to Consider Digital Ecology by Tara McMullinTara McMullin (explorewhatworks.com)

1) Do you create the kind of content you want to engage with online?
2) How much would you enjoy (or at least benefit from) an internet where everyone was creating the same kind of content as you are?

I like these questions and her framework of stewardship of the internet you want to see, which is what I feel participating in the IndieWeb now is about — I can be an ‘early’ adopter of technologies that allow people to interact with others from their website, to help show that it can be done and spread its use a little farther beyond tech folk.

The internet is not some towering behemoth, either. It’s something that we produce every single day. Every morning we wake up and re-create the internet. The more people wake up and decide to create something else, the more the internet becomes something else.

In response to her two guiding questions, I am actually pretty happy with what I’m posting online, and do like to read other people’s blogs. My philosophy to using micro.blog is to be empathetic, enthusiastic, and helpful — to applaud people’s accomplishments, heart-eye their cat pics, and share my advice or opinion when it’s asked for — basically, being friendly 🤷‍♀️ I was mostly a lurker on Twitter and never really interacted using Twitter, so it’s been nice to hang out in an online space where I feel comfortable chiming in on anyone’s post.

I also like to read long articles informed by deep knowledge or research, and cultural critiques. This… isn’t necessarily the kind of essay I tend to write even on my blog 😉 I don’t have the confidence in my breadth of knowledge to feel comfortable writing anything that draws on a solid understanding of history or modern mainstream culture. But, I could consider writing more about my areas of expertise. When I had a day job, I wanted a separation between what I think about in my free time (i.e. blogging) and what I was paid to think about, so I have written very little about the environment online. This could be something to reconsider now I’m freelance.

Her prompt of considering “the writers, podcasters, and creators who excited me,” and looking for commonalities across their work seems useful.

Some of the writers whose online work really resonates with me are:

  • Anne Helen Peterson – journalist applying cultural critique to a wide range of social justice issues
  • Craig Mod – multi-talented writer deeply engaging with place and the physicality of experience
  • Oliver Burkeman – reflecting on the creative process with a no-nonsense yet kind approach
  • Ingrid Fetell Lee – centering joy and the pursuit of happiness through daily life and personal growth
  • David Cain – sharing personal experiences generalized to reflect on making life better and less stressful
  • Courtney Milan –  personal reflections universalized and translated into tea and fiction, drawing on determination and clear-eyed, action-driven hope about the future
  • Robin Sloan – channeling excitement and curiosity and playfulness, and building a sense of community and wonder