Since the All the Things That Mean Nothing post, I witnessed some more toxification at the peripheries of the digital spaces I am bound to, further shaking everyone else’s faith in the constancy of platforms. (For context, I’m talking about the schrodinger blockification of Kickstarter, the fence-dancing of Patreon, and the farcical PR meltdown of Gumroad) More and more I’m thinking, boy, how far into the nuclear fallout of Web 2.0 will I tolerate until I say, eff it and bunker underground?
I am still out here in the world outside my island, because guys, I just love gossip. Despite everything I keep opening the virtual newspaper (Twitter) laughing over the latest disasters, checking in on tech academia and the folks with extensive experience in the open web for their takes, and shaking my damn head at the latest sucker to the pyramid.
I long for the days when I was solely obtaining my nutritional requirements through highly produced Youtube documentaries of niche online history and obscure historical unbelievables, but by golly, just my luck! I now live in a present that’s an idiotic mainstream combination of both.
Anyway, I gotta keep up. Keeping up is essential only because I need to know when it’s time to run.
… Or preferably, ideally, I’d be one of the first to get front-row seats to the implosion. Just as it had happened for WeWork and Theranos and AirBnB and Book of Face and countless unicorns. Instead of tokens I am gambling my psychic health to get the big prize of a popcorn fest that will rival any Hollywood thriller. You see, Dashcon and Fyre Festival had hooked me. I so so so want to be there before the editors at Pocket collect those articles for their daily newsletter.
Then again… maybe it’s not worth it to gamble my psychic health for a glorious dose of spiteful vindication. Wisdom at near-30 suggests my time is better spent doing things I can’t actually do because of Omicron, you know, like: travelling, eating good food, meeting old friends, hunting for cute, emotionally-competent himbos to date, sketch-walking, learning archery…
But when the ugly thing is plastered everywhere on billboards, friend feeds and concrete walls, it’s hard to not keep up. Or not to feel any desire for said vindication.
I’ll probably burn out of keeping up at some point*. And that’s when I will actually be going underground.
*it worked when I binge-read reviews for my debut books in 2020. I no longer have any desire to actively look at what other people say about my books unless it’s by the specific audience I wrote that story for. Which is not most people, RIP. The only exception is review-hunting as a means to enjoy aesthetic flat-lay photos. And boy, some of the photos for Seance on Instagram are amazing.
Even with all this talk about digital islanding, I still have no idea what a life being away looks like. I do know what it was like before Google RSS Reader died, and that’s the experience I’m evoking when I tell you (the void) I want to be left alone to vibe on the interwebs.
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that it’s no longer safe to indulge in offline experiences since everything has to be online now. Which would be fine except everything’s forced into platforms so we’re all stuck with Big Web 2.0 to tell us about the latest niche events. Including the aforementioned toxification of everything.
Another part is that I somehow have one foot in the post-Google RSS world through my stubborn insistence of staying on Tumblr (the original hellsite that’s become more like a ghost town protected by rabid millennials), my gradual migration to an own-name site/blog, building long-form habits, keeping my webcomics sites active, and the increasing desire to only talk to a small circle. Which have all brought me joy and peace from eyes. But then I am thinking, how the heck do I make all of these things easier to commit to. Because I am lazy by nature. Because I am spoiled by platforms. Because a lot of my friends from 2017 onwards are all still using the platforms.
Go offline, man! Go offline! This is the solution and always has been. Except we’re living in the third year of the pandemic!!! What can I say!!
Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.
She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.
Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.
Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur
French Book Tour, January 2024