So, as you can see, I’ve started a new blog. It’s not my first attempt at blogging but it’s my latest shot at trying to have a place I can call my own online. With the dawn of Web 2.0 all those years ago, when websites turned from glorified libraries with pages of fairly static information and transformed into something much more interactive and richer where users became creators, relationships formed and commercial activity began, I think I had a view of a brave, new world on the horizon. A place where communities could thrive; where freely available information would democratize knowledge, where debate and interaction would be fun and accessible and a new age of enlightenment could be forged. Twenty years later I’m sat here with hate-speech, trolling, revenge porn, a clandestine dark web, fake news, the rise of extremism in all its nasty forms and the world’s most popular social networks farming our data and selling it to the highest bidder. Where did it all go wrong?
That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. I just cannot understand it. When I meet people around and about in real life, whether at work, in the pub, on the street, or at an event, I see all types of humanity. I’m not saying I like 100% of them but in general they all seem okay. They have friends, love their family, try to do their best, and by and large interact with the rest of the human race with a modicum of decency. So who are these people hiding behind their keyboards sending nasty tweets, spreading hate, and sharing messages of intolerance. Is it the same people alone with their darker thoughts? A disenfranchised underclass? A brainwashed collective of the quietly angry? And in response, what do we do? Well, for my part, I’ve started this blog. I’m not trying to change the world or even change anyone’s mind. It’s just a place for me to be unrestricted, unconfined by 280-character limits or likes or shares or retweets. Just putting a few words online and trying to make sense of it all and wondering where it will take me.