Letter #17: The Beauty of the Internet
A few thoughts
I am likely going to sound like a grandma here (I assure you, I am, in fact, technically a millennial), but the vastness and scope of the internet really does amaze me sometimes.
Yes, hello. It is I, a fellow youngling. Video credit: 30 Rock Official
Let me explain: I’ve watched YouTube forever (like 2009?), but I didn’t actually make an account until this year. Yeah. Seriously.
I made my first comment yesterday.
My phone has lit up several times since then with people liking or replying to my comment. (I only find this surprising because I literally didn’t expect anyone to read, like, or reply to it, so literally anyone noticing it surprised me.)
And the two thoughts that kept popping into my head with each notification were 1) “Wow, it’s really sweet that people seemed to resonate with this so much” and 2) “Look how many people have actually seen this.”
This is a sentiment that creeps into my head every few videos I watch. I know videos aren’t considered to be widely viewed if they’re under say, 1,000 views. Or even 15,000 views. Or 35,000 even. The channels with the most subscribers and most watched videos get billions of views.
Still, the ides of 100 people seeing something. 400 people. 1,000. That’s still a lot of people to me.
I don’t do a lot/enough (yet) to promote myself or my content online, so when anyone sees something I’ve written or made, I really do find it pretty amazing that someone found their way there. I love having stats on my Substack dashboard to see how many times someone has clicked into one of my letters. I love seeing where the traffic comes from. I love seeing how many people have checked one of my (few and far between) Instagram stories.
It’s the fact that there is a person behind that click*. Just something about the way the Internet brings so many people who may never have been able to interact without it that just really hits me.
Where Am I Going with This?
There are always so many directions I can go with my content here. That’s part of what I love about this newsletter; I can make whatever I’m passionate about, so long as it’s me. Dorky. Word-centric. And connecting in some way to trying to brighten my little corner of the universe, pass something on, and/or make sense of the world.
I think that’s what so many people want to do too. Most humans, as far as I’ve seen, want to live in a good world and just make sense of this place we live in. That’s been an especially relevant sentiment, given the pandemic.
People have coped by turning to breadmaking or sewing masks or diving into bullet journaling. I turned to a whole lot of webcomics and graphic novels, podcasts, and YouTube channels. So many, many content creators helped shine a light in during that time and (most every day since!). That’s part of why I always mention my favorite creators’ work so frequently; it means something to me.
I see these creators’ content working like a fandom: 1) it lifts spirits, 2) fosters a community of people with shared interests, and 3) lets you know you’re not alone.
The age of the Internet, parasocial relationships, influencers, and huge fandoms is the world I’ve grown up with and in. It has shaped so much of our world, including my own.
Sure, there are always negatives associated with really everything. (Believe me, I am very aware of the negatives. There’s a reason I’m usually focusing on the good in these letters; it’s just as much my way of trying to share some good with people as it is me trying to push back against all the catastrophizing and worrying about all the bad.)
But today, I just wanted to focus on the good surrounding the intersection of all things Internet-centric. (New word, anyone?)
Hey, Thank You (to You, and You, and You)
So, thank you to all those content creators out there. If you’re reading this, please keep bringing your own unique voice and light to the world.
If you’re a reader, watcher, listener, consumer of media of any kind, thank you! History couldn’t have had the Renaissance without its patrons and our present and future can’t have our content creators (making livable incomes) without audiences and patrons. (Patreon knew what it was doing with those terms.)
On this note, please check out Elle Griffin’s posts about the burgeoning modern renaissance in the world of publishing and content creation. Her insights and dedication to both her craft and community are revolutionizing this industry and I’m so pleased to have hopped on for the ride!
Thank you for reading, whether you’ve been here from the start or just decided to stop by today. I truly appreciate people popping by to read the ramblings of a smol ghost as she makes sense of her world**. I hope, little by little, you’re making more sense of your own.
Until next time,
*There is probably a person behind that click. However, I do know people have developed robots and AI to get around CAPTCHA.
**I originally had written “tries to make sense,” but I’m working to eliminate “try” from my vocabulary as much as possible. I’ve come to think of tacking on try/trying to a verb as a crutch or a vehicle to procrastinate improving. Like I would say, “I’m trying to get better at this.” But in the wise words of Yoda, “there is no try, only do.” If I’m putting in the effort, I am improving, not trying to improve. Even if the improvement is so slight I can’t see the progress, I need to focus on the effort of improving. Not on the outcome. So I’m out here, doing my best. Not trying it. Doing it.
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Quote of the Week:
“Petit a petit, l'oiseau fait son nid: this proverb translates to English as, ‘Little by little, the bird makes its nest.’” -Shreyashi Chakrabaty (qtd. in Victoria Magazine)