Discover more from Welcome to Garbagetown
Where the Love Light Gleams...
A brief postscript to a viral essay
Hello there, quite a lot of people.
I have to be honest, when I posted Stop Talking to Each Other and Start Buying Things, I didn’t expect much of any kind of discussion at all. I just signed up for Substack. I barely know how it works yet. I literally can’t even figure out how to integrate the chat feature yet. Look at this basic-ass template, how embarrassing! I’d been so down about Twitter and social media that I rather thought that stupidly long attention-span-busting essay would fall into one of the lesser-frequented internet memory-holes. What’s more, I am currently in Western Australia visiting family, and thus time-shifted from my usual audience by a truly science-fictional amount.
But mostly, I thought it was what most everyone was probably saying about it, and that beyond reminding a few lonely dead leaves blowing across a text box that a thing called Prodigy existed, I wouldn’t be adding anything new but sniffles. And a lot of run-on sentences.
I have been completely overwhelmed by the response. I’m still working on replying to every comment and tweet/toot (oh god do we have to call it toot? Can’t it literally be anything else, Mastodon? Tweet was always infantilizing enough…). If I haven’t gotten to yours yet, please be patient! I thought no one would care! And yes I know I don’t have to do that. But what was all that about if not building community? And if you want a community, you have to actually do the community part. Interact, respond, discuss, debate, share the meta-jokes and so on until it’s a big holiday table with everyone talking over one another.
I cannot recall the last time I couldn’t keep up with the replies to a 6000 word blog post. It felt like 2009 had come back for Christmas.
But you know what doesn’t feel anything like 2009?
All those comments, replies, shares, commentary, everything. Hundreds of thousands across so many platforms.
And not one of them has told me I’m an idiot, or should kill myself, or need to shut up, or need to learn to respect our Iron Man overlord, or am a fake geek, or in any other fashion am fundamentally Wrong on the Internet.
EDIT: Mere moments after I posted this, the first comment calling me embarassing and over-emotional came sailing in to share its very important opinion. The internet will be the internet, in the end. It’s almost comforting in its predictability. Aw, precious. Way to be your authentic self!
My friends, new and old, I think it’s clear by now that I have been AFAB on the internet for a long time. And thus, I am simply unaccustomed to not being abused for having a digital thought. (See edit)
So thank you for that. Jesus fuck, thank you. After so many years, one gives up on the idea of experiencing anything new online.
The absolute worst treatment I’ve received are a couple of gentle copyedits and a few suggestions that I ought to have been less optimistic, or more adamant about advising people to simply create sites rather than relying on networks, or promoted the Fediverse more strongly.
Good lord, that’s nothing.
I’ll even grant you, it’s not half as easy as just…love will make it all right. And when the holidays are done, I’ll take a stab at some of the harder stuff. But I felt that for me and may for a few others (hi others!), the hope was more important than the tech. The hope was what was needed. A lot of people are working on alternatives and workarounds and decentralization. I am not a programmer. We are pretty far beyond a cup of HTML being all you need to roll your own successful site. Other people are much more equipped to handle that end of it.
I am much better at hope than code. In fact, if I am any sort of a hacker (which I am not) I am a hacker of hope. Occasionally, if I am very lucky and deploy all my skills very well, I can get into systems that are otherwise closed and seed a bit of warmth, down there deep where no one will notice until it’s too late.
And I’m fine with being that, even if I don’t have a hot take on how to get the most out of Mastodon. Or even Substack. I know how to break open despair and change a function or two to hope.
Sometimes. When the stars are right.
So all this is simply to say thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for being kind, thank you for subscribing and paying attention and feeling something about the future with me. Thank you for coming to my table. I like to feed people. Stick around, and I’ll get a new feast bubbling away on the double.
However you celebrate the close of a year and the dawn of a new one, I hope yours is as good and fulfilling as it can be. January is the Monday of the year, after all. I suspect we’ll need all our strength to get through that mess and the inevitable ones that follow.
For those who are following me for the first time, it’s absolutely splendid to meet you. For old friends, what a lovely thing that through all these changes, we’ve kept our connections. For those who bought paid subscriptions, good grief, Charlie Brown, thank you. I never expected even one. I’ll start working up things to make it worth your support as soon as the holiday-addled kid lets me get a breath. (Patreon, in the meantime, is where the most Fiction-Cat exclusive content can be found.)
Onward and upward. More soon.
Welcome to Garbagetown is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.