In January of 2019, my primary website Distorted Perspective officially turned 20, which became this fairly significant milestone in my personal life, mostly because of its general insignificance otherwise.
Since that point I’ve been constantly considering how growing up with the internet, at the time I did, and being the person I am, has impacted both how I perceive the world & function within it. It wasn’t long after starting my website where I would begin to think of how to frame things through its projection, and this was in 2002; and because this was an age before social media, this wasn’t about some group exercise of representational experience, but more an individual exploration of an uncharted space.
& now blogging (for lack of a better term), on this site or another, has become some kind of essential process for me. Even as I work across one medium or another, if I look back over the years and places, this medium has been the one constant to where I can reliably just post if I need to vent. It’s worrisome at best—over the years of friendships and relationships gone sour there is always a constant of my shutting down, & I wonder how much of that is from relying on self-publishing, and not the council of others over the years, as a kind of coping mechanism.
This is on my mind as I’ve been able to control my own digital life experience, because owning and operating a website is 100% DIY (outside of yearly hosting fees)—but isn’t so much for how everyone younger than me is online. Now that Gen Z is old enough, the generational wars have returned, and they’re all based in corporately-owned information flows. For those that did grow up with social media, I wonder how my near-reliance on my own website will translate to their needs to post on certain spaces—the way the Boomers grew up with an allegiance to Marlboro or Lucky Strike, it’ll be Instagram or TikTok with these kids.
The question is, how will the mental health of all these wildly expressive (and equally vain) performers fare over time as attention inevitably shifts away? Building an economic infrastructure on people’s need to feel desired en masse is fucking dangerous.
What also is increasingly devastating is how both the internet (in its various forms) and our tangible life are increasingly becoming immersed in The Spectacle, to which all presence feels projected and fake and increasingly real-life experiences are being made solely for the supplement of a digital lie.
But, in the end, I keep writing into the void, because it’s something, at least to me; though there are these complicated feelings I have toward the internet’s form and function, this is still the closest thing there is to what I think the most honest form of expression online can be, which holds some meaning. There’s some weight there.