If you are reading this, I am assuming one of two things has happened:
- You have happened upon this site by accident, in which case you are truly wandering down a strange rabbit hole or two.
- You knew me (or of me) once and wondered, “Whatever happened to that guy?1”
Surprisingly enough, I am still here. Well, sort of here.
This site has never been really all that active, but it is downright buried in the digital dust now.
There are a ton of reasons why I haven’t really been engaging online. Certainly, the present chaos (pick your chaos of choice or mix-and-match—there are so many options!) has made online engagement feel both fraught and meaningless. What do I have to add to conversations that have already been dominated by people like me and rarely for the better. Do I really want to drown out other voices in a pathetic attempt to say, “Look at me!” I don’t want to be a political pundit. I am happy to share my views and my experiences and (when I can) raise up other voices, but it is too easy to get caught up in the anger. Sure, I love a good rant, now and then, but I don’t want that to be the core of what I do.
My own journey over the past two years: from grad school and academia, to corporate life, to nonprofit data/communications with a smattering of freelance work here and there has led to a distinct shift in my professional communities. When I say a shift in community, I really mean a dearth of community and the impacts of COVID have not helped there, at all. This makes posting professional content difficult. If I am writing for an audience, I no longer know who that audience would be.
I think I wondered if, after my dissertation, I was just out of things to say, or at least things that I wanted to discuss in a more open forum. I thought about using this as a forum for posting research, but I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to do that. As I noted in my last post, I do have some projects in the pipeline, but the up-and-down nature of research in the pandemic, especially when done with professional constraints, makes regular posting either repetitive or depressingly short.
That said, there is a lot going on right now that I want to talk about. This has been a tumultuous time in my life where I am rediscovering old things in new ways, and learning completely new things. I am writing again for the first time in several years. I am using the work I did for my doctorate to help improve things. I have found and continue to seek out opportunities to use my training as an educator, my research skills, my writing, and my technical expertise all at the same time. It terrifying and challenging, and I wouldn’t it any other way.
I want to talk about technology, the Internet, and society. Societal conceptions of technologies and platforms we use (something I directly discuss in my research) are undergoing rapid change. These tools were imagined2 as emancipatory forces freeing us from corporate and government machines but no longer. The growing dominance of corporate tech and the expanding realization that the supposed advantages of technology were really only provided to a privileged few have radically changed how people think about and interact with technology. As someone whose entire life has been dedicated to working and writing in and about technology, I am excited (and sometimes a little concerned) about what is coming next.
I am also getting older. I am now officially well into my midlife (practically post-midlife), and there is ton to talk about: getting healthy in spite of my biology and a culture of food and consumption, reflecting on and coming to grips with the past (the good and bad we all do) without being consumed by it, planning for the future in a world where the future is looking pretty grim, starting (or maybe more branching into) a new career and the stresses and complexities that come with that.
And finally, have you seen has happened to roleplaying games? They have become a massively popular activity, and I am so incredibly pleased to see the arc, however wobbly, the industry has taken. In the 80s, I was trapped in a fundamentalist family that taught me roleplaying games were evil. By the 90s, I was running games for a bunch of nerdy players in basements and back rooms. By the 2000s, I was running all sorts of games. Now, there is a growing movement of players from every corner of the world who are telling stories with each other, sharing art and cheering each other on. I love that, but I am silent. The modern roleplay experience is something my younger self never imagined possible. Here it is, yet I haven’t talked about roleplaying games once on this site. That needs to change.
So here I am full of text and hubris3. A lot of changes are on the way, and I plan to be here more often. I am not expecting daily posts, but I am aiming for a post two to three times a week. I spent the last few weeks setting up a new development workflow for this site, and I think I like it.
I am not sure if this will amount to anything, but I am interested to see where the next chapters take me and to share a little of the journey where I can.