If you look at my Archives, you’ll see that I actually used to write for myself, by myself, for years and years. The idea of transferring this to an electronic medium since I sit in front of my MacBook Pro most of my waking hours should be a no-brainer, except for one small detail. I refuse to use it privately; it’s just my personality.

When I was let go by Achieve Internet last year, I realized that unemployment, in a sense, is like forced vacation, and even if you really wanted to get on with your next gig, you had a metric shit-ton of time that you spent thinking about the world we live in, and life in general, and inevitably, you wander into some really deep, frightening places. So when I had all that free time where you literally cannot spend towards finding a job, I decided to type into this WordPress blog several hundred poems that I had written over my formative years in high school and college. And then BURN the original journals in the first camping trip I had taken in years with a couple of friends led by Kleptus himself.

For those of you who stumble across this and are not familiar with WordPress, it makes blogging and publishing so easy even a caveman could do it. The hinge here is that there is security; you can blog all you want and never publish a thing to the general Intarwebz. I think that you owe it to the online community to share; hell, everyone else is doing it and some are even making money at it.

Part of the fascination I have with the World Wide Web — rockin’ it at 14,400 baud since my first AOL account in 1992 where they asked me for a “unique” screenname, and the online presence known internationally as Thee Froggacuda was born — is that no matter how you interact with it, you develop a personality. On AOL in the early days, this used to consist of hanging out and doing free-form text-based roleplaying at something like the legendary Red Dragon Inn, which I just discovered is alive and well (and still has my “Kiss the ‘Tender” apron hanging in its accustomed place behind the bar), unless you were going back to the early, early days, hanging out and doing free-form dice-based roleplaying in Galsteefus’s basement.

The point of this bit of writing is that I have been taking writing for granted because of some sort of personal paralysis due to having a real live audience. And my worst critic is myself. I think that this says a lot. “I actually used to write for myself, by myself, for years and years.” That was earlier in this blog post. The archives are right next to you on the right-hand side under Archives, go figure. Choose a link; check it out.

This is where the public / private thing comes in. Our lives are on camera and on the Internet right now; isn’t it our duty to try to be graceful footage and Facebook for future generations? There is this misconception that old web pages die natural deaths, but I still have all of the HTML code, graphics, databases, and other artifacts from many iterations of my own Virtual Lilypad site, and nothing is safe from The Wayback Machine. Content production on them Intarwebz is, I would suspect, at an all time high and still rising. What are we to do with all of this dreck that we make public?

Whether you keep it public or private, nearly anything you do is capable of being recorded or transcribed or captured. And then traced back to or otherwise attributed to you. Tagged, if you will. I read an article that 1 in 5 US Recruiters Google your ass when your resume comes across their desks. People upload their own videos to YouTube, their own photos to Flickr, and their own shopping interests to Amazon. This is all content that may or may not be of any passing interest to anyone but the people that are adding the content. Where is the value?

  1. Creative aggregation of data
  2. Remixes and mashups
  3. Historical record

1. There is so much damn data out there at any given time being copied and created and beamed around the world, it is literally like a gigantic ocean. Data mining with all of that out there moving and morphing and trending and boiling has got to produce some fascinating art if it could be visually represented. When you dig into this matrix and start following threads, there would be intricate patterns and relationships and chaos theory butterflies, and I would probably just be hypnotized. With an uber dashboard to pan around and zoom, you could literally “zoom” all the way in with search algorithms to find specific pieces of content that are the catalysts for larger currents. Maybe one of those elements is one of these poems, songs, or stories that are contained in the Archives.

2. As most everyone knows, DJ Lurk loves hisself a good remix. He has even made some of his own. So I know how much of a labor of love most remixes are. There’s a relatively new piece of lingo the means essentially the same thing: mashup, which is a little more specific, at least in music, than remix. Most all of the created content on the Internet is public. Even if you think it is private, it isn’t as private as you think — somebody can see it and potentially mash it up with something else. Repurposing existing content in a new way is as much of an art form as making the content in the first place; in fact, many times a fresh take on an old standby is better than the original. Take Vince Shlomi — the Slap Chop is an amazing product, I know — but the Steve Porter Remix “Rap Chop” was so damn good I started following him on Twitter. I was going to spin the remix at the first chance I got but somebody beat me to it already. Speed of information flow is approaching speed of light.

3. History has always suffered because it was a privilege for the powerful and rich to be able to write the accounts. Publishing your own version — essentially documenting your own personality, life, and experiences — is, in and of itself, riches and power directly proportional to the amount of content you produce over that lifetime. You can’t take it with you, but you can sure make a conscious, good-faith effort to provide something for the seething, sentient mass of ones and zeroes to Borg. The value of anything that you do should be weighed first and foremost by whether you find value in it yourself. Then, and only second, think about the audience. The value of this blog is because I find it fascinating. If others do, too, well, icing is my favorite part of Delicious Cake.

I just realized — part of the reason writing electronically versus otherwise is less productive. I find that some of the most fun is using hyperlinks as footnotes. They’re even better because they are in-line, and you can click them if you want extra context or detail. However, they do a damn fine job of preventing me from getting my point across in a coherant manner sometimes. And potentially, other readers. Note to self. On WordPress, no less.

This was not the best content I have ever created, but I do feel like I cracked my knuckles and limbered up a bit before all of the writing that lays ahead of me, both personally and professionally. So, in the interest of reading more writing, well, an enigmatic word to the wise: GreenHouse.

Comments
  1. froggacuda says:

    Anil Dash has prefaced me — independently — way back in December 2002. Well played! http://dashes.com/anil/2002/12/privacy-through.html

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