This is my 32nd year online. I used CompuServe and DDials in 1984, sent and received email on BBSes for the next 8 years, and switched to an internet-connected unix shell account in 1992. I’ve seen the birth of the web, the rise and fall of Usenet, the widespread adoption of online commerce, and the rise of social media.
I’m overwhelmed. Global communication has been one of the most transformative technologies ever created, giving voices to those who have none, and bringing people together. It has also become the new Eternal September. When everyone has a voice, the end result is cacophony. Social injustice, political blathering, personal melodrama — I’ve had enough. I can’t selectively filter any more. I can’t “just ignore” what’s in my feeds because 90% of it just makes me feel bad about the world, myself, or both. (Even from well-intentioned people who are just trying to post good news about their family or achievements; it’s not their fault, but their good news reminds me of what I haven’t accomplished.)
In an act of self-preservation, I’m going off the grid for a while. My online communication will be limited to email for the forseeable future. I’m uninstalling facebook, twitter, youtube, instant messaging, and newsfeeds from my phone, and likely won’t reinstall them before the end of the year. Some of my most proudest accomplishments were achieved before all of this noise existed; I’m hoping reducing the noise will increase the signal.
If you need to reach me, contact me. Email, phone, or texting is all fine. (I also highly encourage you to come see me in person at this year’s Vintage Computer Festival Midwest, September 9-11th.) Just don’t expect me to be scanning the entire world listening for your voice; it’s a drop in the ocean, and I’m drowning.