A blog is part of the problem, too. And what is the problem? The whole dang internet, it seems. Social media has made us all turn into assholes (turn into from what? is not a question I’ve heard yet). This has happened because things started out free and then money had to be made so then there were ads, and ads work on the Pavlovian principles of behaviorism so there you have it. We’ve been trained like rats in the service of the almighty dollar (or ruble, or whatever). This, at least, is the new common wisdom emanating from luminaries such as Jaron Lanier, one of the idealists who paved the way for all this in the first place.
It’s a compelling revisionism, but it seems to me that the internet started out “free” because there were few other mechanisms to entice adoption. The model still serves. Companies regularly offer free or discounted service for the first month, or the first year, before the real fees kick in, and the internet was no different, just on a larger scale. In 1992 there were not that many people logging on to AOL. By 2002 the world had changed. It made no sense for the internet to serve as a vehicle for mass propaganda before it was where the masses were. Now the masses are here, so the power-hungry follow the crowd and lap it up.
In the process we can mourn the innocence lost. I recently paged back to the beginnings of this blog, back to 2006, when free was still a thing and the blogosphere was people expressing themselves and appreciating each other. I enjoyed the people I followed then more than the social media stars I follow on Twitter today (where I do most of my followings). Most of them have long since left blogging. Blogs ain’t what they used to be at all. Where they started out as general takes on the world at large, most honed down over time to specializations. My own veered off into the weeds of free self-publishing, another lost and vanished idealism.
Eventually this blog became just one more self-publishing outlet for my shorter fictions and I’m fine with that. I’ve long done most of my fiction writing on private blogger.com sites, because it’s already backed up “in the cloud” to begin with so I don’t have to be further uploading anything anywhere.
I’ve done the same with my (admittedly mediocre at best) music stuff, on soundcloud.com. Lately I’ve been using text-to-speech engines to produce what I call “machine spoken word” stuff. The latest idea is to take some of my recent flash fictions, from Fragments from Books that Don’t exist, and get them told by bots with electronica – today’s selection features voices from the new Amazon Polly service. This here is Hoonang Tea: