A supposed friend, one who had often said “if you ever need someone to talk to, you can call me, I’ll be there for you”, to whom I had told the same and has had my contact information for as long as we had known each other, spent a month on the Internet pouring out their sadness and depression into the void over platforms like Twitter, Twitch, and Tik-Tok—the terrible T’s—to zero engagement off of a supposed audience of hundreds and never once, not once, thought to pick up the phone and call me, or write an email. By the time I notice that they were on a downward spiral it was too late because a year ago—frustrated by the cold indifference of content creation, the one-sided relationships of parasocial interaction, and the movement away from direct contact as a means of communication toward the impersonality of text messages—I extricated myself from the toxic morass of social media.
Should I have been more vigilant? Or is this a testament to how, in the process of choosing to surround myself with only positive-minded people, one or two end up left behind?
These days it is difficult to find self-sufficient individuals. Or we do not find these truly positive, supportive people who have their own houses in order because they are too busy having their lives together to even cross paths with those who do not. The burgeoning, endemic dependence on technology coupled with years of authority-mandated isolation have warped a subset of the population into misanthropic hermitage. If suffering were a fuel, we could power whole cities from the millions of lonely tweets and thousands of hours of empty livestreams that go out daily.
Someone recently said that if Twitter died—or at least, the version of Twitter in their mind that had somehow been better before Elon Musk took over—that they would lose their only social outlet. They had spent the last three years indoors and had come to rely on the platform for interaction. When did the telephone die? It was around the time that the trust in our friends died. When we became convinced that our closest companions posed a serious health risk not only to ourselves, but our wider circles, and a slip-up with a loose mask or lack of injections could kill someone seven degrees removed. When we chose to withdraw into endless scrolls of ideas that were far more infectious and a magnitude more dangerous than any virus.
Yet for those of us who have turned away from the black mirrors of mobile device-driven distraction, we who have stopped generating mental illness and sadness with each upward flick of the thumb, there is a life that goes on, and has gone on, since the beginning of time. A world where tradition still holds, grass touched, and trust still earned—and broken—as it has always been. We are at a point in history where there is a clear divide in the developed world’s mindshare between those who have chosen to think for themselves and those who are living by the dictates of machines. Fortunately, it is a gap that we can easily traverse, no harder to hop than a narrow stream, but I fear a day will come when it is a raging torrent that only the bravest dare ford.
And that day is coming soon.
I’ve transcribed all the Goodreads books reviews to the appropriate location here on DARK ACRE. I’ll still continue to cross post, though the benefit of doing so is dubious.
Speaking of dubious cross posting benefits, come January 2023 I’ll return to using Twitter and Instagram for posting notifications of content updates. I won’t be using them for anything other than that. I plan to do this for at least a year, linking new posts from this site alongside the appropriate hashtags, and measure the performance. I feel like it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t deal, but as the expected time investment is minimal, I figure I might as well. I still recommend using either the mailing list or RSS feeds from the front page of this site, as those guarantee you won’t become ensnared in any social media shenanigans, but I understand that not everyone is in a position to do so.
As of this post we’re up to entry #163 in the 365 days of writing project, and they’re getting rather good. I’m particularly happy with the last half dozen. Check them out if you’re keen to read some micro fiction. Postcard stories? Short shorts? Whatever.
Oh, and as per the opening thoughts in this post: if you know how to get a hold of me, and need to, I hope you won’t hesitate. I’ve got nothing but time.
This morning, as I collected my nearly 300th free computer game from the Epic Games Store, I felt a pang of regret for leaving Twitter. I used to seek out video games giveaways and tweet the associated links. I did it because I didn’t want anyone to miss out on a free video game. It was fulfilling to think that I might have saved someone a few dollars. A large part of the persona I’d adopted for my livestreaming career had been all about refusing to pay the exorbitant retail prices for new games. I still believe that no video game is worth more than twenty US dollars, regardless of economic factors. This is truer every day with the myriad subscription services that are swollen to bursting with top shelf games for actual pennies on the dollar. Combine that with the regular giveaways from digital storefronts, the ever-growing selection of premium, non-predatory, free-to-play titles, and the undeniable devaluation over time of every single AAA release and it’s apparent that we’re living in a golden age of gaming where a player’s only expense need be the hardware.
Here's a list of my current sources for free or near-free video games:
I’m sure there must be dozens of social media accounts dedicated to doing what I used to do, and they likely do it more extensively than I did, but if you’re like me and avoid exposure to infinite feeds it’s a simple matter to set a few weekly and monthly reminders and maintain control over your mental health.
The more I write the more I realize that most people are comfortable spouting unsubstantiated claims on social media, snippets of ideas that masquerade as deeply-held personal convictions, yet would never dare in their lives sit down and write a cogent essay on such topics for fear of discovering that they have no clue about what they're talking about.
2022.12.12 – 2022.12.27