Writer, editor, professor, etc. For more information, see jaygabler.com.
My Macalester students have started posting to our class Tumblr. This week they looked at the Wayback Machine, and it’s pure gold.
When I first started looking through the WayBack Machine, I had no idea what websites to browse. I thought to myself, “What website (that I frequent nowadays) has been around long enough to have anything interesting to reflect upon?” I wanted to make it a somewhat personal, stupidly nostalgic adventure, and I had no clue where to begin.
Then I remembered something:
It all started with Livejournal.
I don’t know about y’all, but I distinctly remember my Livejournal days. I must have created about five different blogs; maybe even more. As I look back on my time on the internet, I realize I’ve made a digital imprint of my life (screencaps?) on it. Why didn’t I recognize the early signs of a blogger “addiction” [read: habit, haha].
I read the Introduction and the “Envoi” of Briggs/Burke and I couldn’t help but think of Livejournal as my first social networking site—although my original intentions when signing up for the site had nothing to do with meeting strangers on the web, I ended up collecting a few very good friends (who I later added on Myspace, what a dud that ended up being). Page 248:
There were many new business entrants to the Web in the period covered in this chapter, the most successful of them developing what were quickly called social networking sites. The success of these proved that many users were not seeking isolation through the Internet, but interaction: they wanted to make contact in cyberspace with other users.
So many times, with so many different demographics of people, I’ve heard that an addiction/habit of the internet creates isolated, loner people. I frankly dislike that sentiment. As someone who could claim the “blogger” identity, I think it is amazing that we are witnessing this development of solidarity/community building that links people from all over the US, and all over the world (recognizing issues of access, of course). Is this another way of triggering what it means to be a global citizen? Does this count (not asking from a lazy perspective)?
WayBack Machine has sparked some serious nostalgia in me, but has humbled me as well. I picked up a conversation with a friend last night about how this generation has often been defined as a lazy one, one that is too busy checking their facebooks and tweeting to do anything of any value. Yet here we have the WayBack Machine, reminding us of what we’ve been witnessing for the past two[ish] decades. This is a world that we’ve created and meshed into our being. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting too emotional over how much I love the internet (likely).
What I’m wondering, which is something that is touched on in Briggs/Burke’s book, is how this web machine is altering the way we interact in society, and how it is changing the face of culture, the face of activism, how it can effectively be used to—pardon the language, but “get shit done.” Also, all of these questions can be restated to ask of the future of the internet, activism, social justice, etc. Cuz of course I’m interested in that, too.
I don’t know, this might be coming from a biased point of view because although there are some definite faults, I fucking love the internet.