Introducing Notes, my new microblog

So I have a new blog. It’s a microblog, which is what the kids are calling tumbleblogs and status streams these days. It’s short form and designed to be an alternative to all those corporate silos that are finding themselves accidentally enabling fascism in their quest for profitable global dominance.

When I quit Twitter I’m not ashamed to say it was weirdly uncomfortable. Having trained myself over a decade to turn my notable experiences into short bursts of text it was mildly alarming how addicted I had become to the platform. I initially felt that this would wear off and I’d get over it, the same way I got over nicotine, but then I remembered long-form blogging, like this post, is not what excited me about the form in the first place. Sure, there was journaling, which had its antecedents in diaries and letters, but blogging was originally about the short bursts and links. The noting of a thing and the creation of an archive of notes. I had moved this form of blogging to Tumblr and then Twitter and there was no reason to abandon it there.

I realised that it wasn’t the posting of notes to Twitter that was the problem; it was the ecosystem into which they were posted. The toxic outrage machine gets the easy headlines but there’s something panopticon about the measurable awareness of others, the likes and clicks and retweets, augmented by the unknowable algorithm. Even after unfollowing everyone and only auto-posting from this blog (ostensibly as a service to those who use the platform) I still checked in to see if anyone had faved those posts, or checked how many times the link had been clicked. That’s the sign of a powerful dopamine injector. (I’m happy to say these checks have decreased and I’ve logged out of Twitter on most browsers. Eventually I hope to forget it’s even there.)

I’ve been posting to notes.peteashton.com for a couple of weeks now and I like how quiet it is. I’m writing for an imaginary reader but it doesn’t matter if they’re not there. It’s on the micro.blog platform which means it can be followed within a stream of other micro.blogs but there’s no obligation and I’m not really interested in that side of things. I’ll stick with my RSS reader, Feedly. (Other RSS readers are available.)

I shall post things to Notes. So far “things” includes links, photos, diary blurts, quotes and thoughts. It will please me to have those things posted to a place where they can be found together. They will create a context through their juxtaposition. Others may look at these Notes and find some value from them. Or they may not. I will have no idea, and this is a good thing.

Most of all I like how it reminds me of my first blog on Blogger in June 2000. Pure and quiet and utterly obscure.