Over the last few years I’ve walked away from one blogging platform after another – leaving WordPress, Medium, Tumblr, and Blogger along the way.
Somehow or other I ended up at Substack, which did less to annoy me than any of the other platforms. I’m still not happy though. There is a huge temptation to self-host.
Don’t get me wrong – Substack are doing a lot of things right – it’s quite amusing to find yourself rubbing virtual shoulders with Chuck Palahniuk and Margaret Atwood – but Substack seem to be busy building a walled garden in exactly the same way that every other platform had done over the years. It annoys the hell out of me.
Yes, I could host a blog myself, on my own domain name. But it would cost money, and I would have to look after it. Perhaps putting up with a few annoyances is worth it in order to maintain the laziness of being able to post when I like without maintaining anything. The email notifications are nice too.
I don’t know. I really don’t know.
I need to sit on my hands for a while.
One thing is certain – my road out of Twitter is now assured – I didn’t realise they had removed their misinformation rules. Anybody in a position of influence can spout any harmful lies they want now with no recourse. While some will of course take up literary arms to fight the onslaught of idiocy, a greater number will walk away. I’m walking away.
In the moments I might have perused Twitter in the past I have been exploring Mastodon – but even that is not not immune from growing pains. A growing number of people are mandating what people should think, say, and do – instructing rather than shining lights. It’s not a huge leap from there to the toxic cancel culture caused by various activists that has ruined many other social platforms.
Maybe it makes sense to return to independent blogs, rather than any kind of platform. Twenty years ago we posted our words, shared links to other writers in the form of “blogrolls”, and invited passers by to leave a few words in guestbooks. No platforms sold added abilities, or paywalled functionality available only to inhabitants.
Maybe I’ll get a beret for Christmas, and start some sort of revolutionary campaign. The internet equivalent of a nutter on the street corner handing out insanity filled manifestos.