It is Sunday afternoon and I have decided to re-open my blog.
A bit of history: my relationship with writing and Internet publishing -or more accurately- sharing of ideas and connecting with others online.
I was born in 1992 and pretty much grew up with the Internet. When I say I grew up with it I mean very literally with/next-to it. I remember the arrival of our first family computer when I was about five years old, and I remember the horrible-yet-fascinating sound of the dial up Internet connection, having to wait for minutes (sometimes hours) to load a page. On Sundays my father would print for me my favourite forum page (you used to pay the connection by the minute, so my father wouldn’t allow me to waste a single minute of connection by reading already-loaded data). The forum was a children-only site. Children that would even publicly share their home addresses in order to receive post from other children. Cybersecurity wasn’t a thing back then. I would write letters to kids I had first known by that forum. In the consecutive years, the same website that hosted the forum launched both an electronic mail and chat service for children. I started to write e-mails to my postal-friends once a week. In very special occasions I would get permission to chat with them -and kids I didn’t even know in person!
The Internet very quickly got faster, cheaper and more accessible. Got my first laptop when I was eleven (after a lot of persistence) and since then, actively participated in most of the Internet pandemic trends on socialising forms and knowledge exchange. Remember first hearing on the radio about Wikipedia and fantasising on re-writing the course of History to my advantage just for the fun. Wrote to strangers in multiple chat rooms on both the most usual and bizarre subjects. Reinvented my own identity on chat rooms testing my self-perception, the limits of sanity and multiple personality disorder. Learned CSS just to be able to redesign my Myspace page to my liking and connect to my generation. Spent hours chatting on Microsoft Messenger with both people from my everyday surroundings and people I did not know in person. Dated cyberloves I never got to meet in person, and first got in touch by the World Wide Web with people I still call my friends today. But out of all these forms of communication, there is one that have prevailed through time in my system: blogs writing and reading.
I opened my first blog being twelve. At first I would just share my fictional narratives and read what adults were writing about out there. No children wrote in blogs back then. Tavi Gevinson hadn’t happened yet, born in 1996.
I come from the south of Spain, and grew up in a very small city compared to the one where I live now. I never really struggled to make friends, but I struggled as a child and teenager to find people who shared my interests and who could advise me on how to progress on my ambitions. The fields of human knowledge that interested me the most remain the same today: 0.reality & perception, 1.art & art making, 2.human behaviour, psychology, romance & creativity, 3.technology & mechanics. As a child I never felt disrespected in my circles, but nobody could care less about what I was up to with my camera, what was I writing about or why would I spend so many hours on the computer not playing computer games. I enjoyed being alone more than being with people, but my introversion wasn’t due to social panic, rather I simply had a preference for consuming information about my fields of interests. Yes, in order words: I was kind of a nerd and I did not know any other nerds; in fact, I didn’t even know that being ‘a nerd’ was a thing. I found refuge to my intellectual isolation on the Internet, and mainly through the simple task of writing and reading blogs. After my first blog becoming a major failure in regards to audience levels – aka. nobody read me, I launched a new feed based on images and shorter amounts of texts. My audience levels went from 0 to about a 100 visits a day. This was not only exciting in numeric terms, but also made me realise that I was not alone and indeed some people cared about how my pictures looked, what I had to say and which things interested me. Since then I continued to share my ideas online, and I continued to learn by the simplest educational system: democratic feedback. Giving and receiving. Sharing (information).
To an extend I could summarise the experience saying that I graduated three months ago as a Master of Arts in Royal College of Art partially thanks to the Internet. Yes, I got to know about London, other bigger cities and back then what I saw as its ‘cool-kids’, on the Internet. As a very young teenager I thought I would end up studying International Law and Politics and become the kind of lady who wears a two pieces suit everyday and writes all the difficult paperwork for important men in a Spanish Embassy. Today I am the kind of lady who wears a two pieces suit, yeah, but I do my difficult paperwork for myself. And this is because even though I grew up somehow isolated from ‘the real world’ (and this was maybe for my own good) people who I hadn’t even met in person made it possible for me to believe that even me, a geek who had never written anything outside of her notebook or blog could still try her luck into creativity, re-thinking and art making in the ‘real world’. I followed so many inspiring blogs. And I knew of these people’s existence because of their blogs. None of these blogs were focused on the personal life of the person who wrote them, but rather in their artistic, scientific, literary… any sort of intellectuals findings and interests.
I saw the creative diary of very young artists who generously shared their processes and made it possible for audiences like me, to wonder next to them, to think about how could they improve their projects, see how they also started by taking notes sitting on a tiny desk next to their single beds to achieve their then-master-today-maybe-naive projects. It was all about often silent (occasionally written) cooperation. That inspired me enormously. I think I remember seeing a picture of Jonathan Willian Anderson attaching coloured crystal and stones to some boots on his own blog before becoming JW Anderson. I discovered a young Alex Thorn and his music machines in early stage of development as he referred to them in his YouTube chanel. There were so many young artists sharing their creations in their blogs. So many pictures of realities so different from mine taken by people who in many cases were my same age or just a few years older than me.
I lived in Cadiz, it might not sound like such a remote place, but it definitely felt like miles away for a teenager who was hungry for adventures, anxious for a better education, extremely curious for how an artist studio looked like, wanted to go to all the gigs and had already read all the books on art available to her. Cadiz was not New York nor London nor even Barcelona or Madrid. No fanzines, no fancy-artists-shows, no Djs, no gigs, even the most ordinary magazines would not be in the newsstands. Also there’s in Spain a general tendency – I think it might come from Franco’s regime times-, in which Spanish culture is prioritized to the point in which what’s happening outside is completely ignored. I encountered many adults who would even question my interests, they could not see how nothing was happening around me and how I could see that so much was going on somewhere far from home that I could still see from my browser’s window, on those blogs.
Today pretty much everyone who has access to the Internet actively participates in social networking. Social networks have somehow replaced blogs, but I cannot help to see social networks as a synthesised – and not so exciting – version of the past I was referring to. Social networks in general require very little time and effort to post and very little time to react to posts – eg. like button, follow users, emoji replies; but because of their accessibility I find it harder to focus enough into something or someone as for gaining a real interest. The focus is rather in the ephemeral, in the direct, in the very personal and private experience, in the now and latest, but doesn’t give much space for analysing topics in depth or getting to actually connect with an user’s ambitions. It strikes me how personal the content has become, how the process of creation, or learning has been completely forgotten. It’s all either about personal success or sharing of final results, and this enormous anxiety into creating content for followers and for gaining more followers. The content feels irrelevant and the important part is to post something to express that you are alive. It’s something like the mainstream version of what early bloggers and Internet enthusiasts were all about, a mass consumption version of what blogging and image sharing was about that I cannot help but identify with noise. The share of photographs in digital media has become so inherent to our means of communication, constantly using images to tell the world who we are, how we want to be seen or even what are we doing now. The Internet has become so democratic in regards of content sharing that it has also made it pretty difficult for us to focus into anything specific. I can barely read a post from start to end without being distracted and whenever I am about to comprehend an image I am already scrolling or clicking into the next one. At the end of the day I end up with this collection of misleading information packs to realise I haven’t actually truly seen anything or given enough attention to any thought as for actually engaging with the content and learning something new. This is why day by day I found myself abandoning little by little and more and more social networks without even realising it. I am probably unconsciously putting myself away from all that visual noise which my brain cannot tolerate for much longer.
I want to go back to reading blogs.
I want to go back to waiting, for having something interesting to say on my blog.