It’s amazing how we stayed in touch before 2006-ish, before Twitter. Before Facebook. We emailed one another, texted, called. All things we can still do, but none with the endorphin rush of opening up Instagram and seeing the likes, and a peek inside the lives of hundreds of our closest friends.
And IG Stories – oh my goodness! Videos, horror, outrage, kitties – it’s like shots of espresso right into the eyeballs.
Lately I’ve been spending more time on Flickr, as I think I wrote before. Pick a tag, any tag, and get lost in amazing photos. Sort of like Bandcamp, which you all know I love.
It’s the open web. No algorithm. No influencers. No computer-bases trickery to keep me engaged, plugged in, and scrolling. I mean, I love street photography, but there’s only so much I can look at.
The one thing, though I do enjoy with Instagram is the number of runners I follow, and they post some pretty inspiring imagery and stories and videos, and that sometimes helps me get out the door.
Years ago I was super active on Flickr, and I forgot that I started this Bicycle Commuter group back in 2005 – freaking 15 years ago.
I was living in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn at that time, riding down Putnam Ave then North to the Williamsburg, Bridge. God damn, I miss those ride. I miss the city riding, the flow of those streets, the bike lanes, and those bridges.
Morning rides over those bridges. Evening rides. Rainy rides. Night rights. Biking in the city, any city, is fucking magic.
One of the remarkable things about scrolling through these photos on Flickr is the web-first experience. Things on the web seem just slower paced, as opposed to the social network feel on mobile which is focused on speed.
Lately the mobile experience just feels like go, go, go. This is partly because of my day job, and what I do for a living, but I’ve really enjoyed putting the phone down, closing my email, and getting back to checking a few websites that aren’t Google News, or ESPN.
Tonight I watched Meg Lewis eat take-out from the Olive Garden on Twitch, which is really a sentence I never thought I’d type, but hey, it’s 2020, right?
It’s all fun and games, of course, but she also mentioned World Central Kitchen, which is doing some pretty great work, and could always use more donations. If you’re feeling bummed, watch Meg Lewis (she’s fantastic), and give some money if you can (I swear, donating money when you’re down is a great pick me up).
Spending time on writing on a blog seems almost pointless. I could tap away a few things on Twitter (where I’ve had an account since 2006, and was one of the first 3000 people to sign up), and get a few likes. Maybe a reply or two.
But it’s there for a second, and then it’s gone.
The web is here, and is sticking around. You can read this post the second it’s published, or three years from now. Good luck finding one of my three week old Tweets.
I’ve been thinking about books, after hearing an interview with Ainissa Ramierz who just release ‘The Alchemy of Us.’
A book. In 2020.
But my habits aren’t everyone’s habits. From idea, to writing, to publishing, to releasing, to marketing… a book takes time.
A Tweet comes and goes. Even if it goes viral, another takes its place in 3.4 seconds.
This quote is just the tip of an iceberg, a rabbit hole stemming from an offhand Tweet, to the struggle that BIPOC / LGBTQ+ face everyday in life and work:
On one hand, I find myself thinking, “astrology is a silly thing to get worked up over, especially when there are such big, important issues going on in the world right now.”
But on the other hand, it angers me how deep these systems that marginalise women, POC, queer people, and any other group that’s not cis men, run in our lives.
And most people don’t even realise that somewhere in Cupertino, a white man is sitting in a conference room making decisions about what categories of apps can and cannot even exist for you to download onto your phone.
I wrote this in a recent Metal Bandcamp Gift Club newsletter:
I don’t know when I’ll be able to thumb through any used CD bins, or be surprised by an opening band on a Tuesday night. At the moment everything is laid out in front of our face. There’s no surprises.
That’s why each birthday wishlist is hidden, a mystery! No mention in the subject of the email of whose birthday it is, and you can’t mouse-over to find out who it is, either. Do you dare click?!
When can we dig through a friend’s record collection again? Well, not today, probably. But today you can scroll through someone’s Bandcamp wishlist (today’s has over 800 releases), or their collection, and probably find something new, or a release you forgot about.
It’s not the same, but it’s the best we can do for now, I guess. Thank you for clicking.
In those newsletters, the link to someone’s wishlist doesn’t mention their name, and mousing over the link only reveals a Mailchimp-created tracking link (at least in your inbox, on your desktop), so you still don’t know who it is. You have to click.
In this world of click bait headlines, it’s hard to trust any link. Thankfully the Metal Bandcamp Gift Club newsletter has a click-per-unique open of like 60%.
Build trust by giving, serving, filling.
Metal Bandcamp Gift Club exists to funnel traffic direct to people’s Bandcamp wishlists, where people buy albums as gifts for their birthday. In 2020. This is driving album sales, and putting money into the pockets of artists. It’s a wonderful thing.