Every couple of months I am utterly amazed at the amount of time has passed since my last post on here.
So here are my reasons:
I am skeptical about the amount of sharing we do as a society.
A lot of it is noise. Some of it is even state-sponsored noise designed for a specific purpose.
I share pictures on Instagram fairly regularly, though. It’s my way of saying to the world: Look, there are beautiful things everywhere you go. In everyday life. There could be something beautiful or interesting or touching anywhere. You just have to know where to look.
I want to make my contributions to the world meaningful but the reality is that I’m not sure how to measure that. Part of my day job is to share content on social media on behalf of the organisation. So I wrestle with this every day: is what I’m sharing helpful? Is it meaningful in any way? On a personal level, those questions become even more important. Who wants to just add to the noise?
The format of much of the content available just gets boring after a while.
I consume a lot of content online. And whether you like it or not, it seems like in order to get people to read what you write your piece has to fall into a certain category, follow a certain pattern. It has to be a listicle or be a how-to or answer a specific question. Doesn’t it just get boring after a while?
I’m not sure I can conform to the patterns and that may just be a lack of practise or skill. What makes me uncomfortable about much of the content available to us is its lack of depth. A listicle about what to do about your depression can be helpful but it doesn’t look beyond to all the complexities of the illness. One can argue that that isn’t its purpose anyway but the size of the audience and the amount of times we share this kind of content ought to matter.
Listicles and how-to’s and very narrow questions also inform the way we think about our lives; they reinforce the idea that things need to be solved if you follow certain steps, that a little information is enough, or that there aren’t other questions to be asked.
A lot of the content we create, consume and pass on seems to stun rather than encourage curiosity and creativity.
The stuff I want to share is messy and uncomfortable and it stirs too many emotions (mainly mine).
Recently I read a piece called The African Enlightenment. It is a great piece. Reading it made me think about an ongoing conversation I have with my boyfriend: what ideas underpin racist beliefs? How can we move past them? How do we challenge people? And ourselves?
Talking about something like racism is never easy. Anyone who’s ever stood for something they believe in online knows how it can backfire.
Some of the things I think about a lot include:
Mental health; does depression every go away? Will mine? Are people really as reluctant to talk about it as they seem?
What makes a healthy relationship? A real one, not a film-friendly one, not an Instagram one, not a “we-have-everything-in-common-and-have-so-much-fun-all-the-time” one.
These things aren’t comfortable; they aren’t comfortable for me, mainly. They cut deep into places I’m often afraid of going. At least publicly.
I haven’t yet learned how to write (or think) in little bits. In my mind, and for lack of a better expression, everything is connected. I haven’t learned how to keep to the 500-800 word norm of the internet. Maybe it’s lack of skill. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of the response. Maybe it’s lack of confidence: whatever I say, someone else has said it or will say it better.
So in the spirit of the New Year (and because this will be the last year of my 20s *gasp*), I want to challenge myself to learn how to write better. I want to challenge myself to share my thoughts and hopefully contribute something meaningful in the process. I can’t really confine myself to a single topic or a single format but I will try to bring something interesting. I hope you join me in the journey.