This is a year of a number of anniversaries. In September I turn 60. In November, I will have lived in San Francisco for 20 years, a third of my life. This marks the 10 year anniversary of the death of my father, aunt, and a beloved cat who was with me for 18 years. And next months marks my tenth year of blogging.
Social media and, more specifically, Facebook existed back then, and e
mail communication had been around for quite a while as well. But the idea of sharing your life, or your life’s story on the internet was still something of a new frontier. I ventured into it full heartedly, also having an early precursor to the iPhone, a Palm Treo, and I took delight and capturing grainy photos and videos as I walked the streets of the Mission.
My first posts on Blogger back in July of 2006 feel like they came from a stranger. I was in a writing group at the time, and was quickly becoming disenchanted by it because so many of the members were writing memoirs that I found taxing to listen to them read. I now the hypocrisy of sharing so much on a blog.
My first few months of posts garnered few if any comments or reads. But I slowly built an audience by visiting and commenting on others. Over the next couple of years, I built a virtual community that resulted in a number of long distance friendships, most of whom I have never met, but about a dozen or more whom I have.
By 2009 the shift to Facebook seemed to be quickly breaking up the old blogging community. I persevered and continued to post, eventually transitioning to the Word Press platform in 2011. Over the past two to three years, this has evolved into more a repository of drawings, collages and photos. But I have been finding myself wanting to return to content, sharing actual words and thoughts.
I have no desire to go back to the type of entries I used to post, but I have found myself slowly drifting away from engagement with Facebook. I remember it first coming into the limelight after the Virginia Tech shooting in April of 2007 as a way for people to keep informed and feel supported.
Nine years and countless shootings later, I found it especially disturbing that the Orlando Pulse shooter was posting to Facebook as he continued his rampage. It reminded me of what I miss most about my past heyday of blogging, what felt more like a virtual salon instead of being in a public square where everyone is shouting or uninvited people join in conversations to which they were not invited.
In an election year of so much nastiness, I find myself wanting not so much to disengage, but to remove myself from the feeding frenzy of hate on all sides. I hope but do not promise to post more content again. Not to provide a memoir or details of daily life, but occasional essays and reflections that I hope have some value.