Link Dump Update
August 31, 2019
Hey, everyone. If you’ve been waiting anxiously for this week’s link dump, I’m sorry. It’s not coming.
I think I’ve decided to stop working on those for now, and I’ve unpublished the ones I’ve already posted. Here’s my reasoning. Each individual link dump garnered me more internet attention than all the other stuff I’ve posted on here combined. I mean, the link dumps were by no means viral, but they got more retweets and likes than anything else I’ve ever done. And I’ve felt two primary emotions in response to this.
First, I liked the attention way too much. And that caused me to spend an outsized amount of my time and mental energy each week working on them. It’s thrilling getting comments and likes and retweets when you’ve previously spent the majority of your internet time basically shouting into an unresponsive, silent void, isn’t it? I definitely wasn’t a prolific blogger before I started posting the link dumps, but after I started posting them, I basically stopped writing other stuff because the effort-to-engagement ratio was just so low compared to other things I’d worked on. Eight of the last eleven posts were link dumps, which I now see is way too much link dumping and not nearly enough writing original stuff. I finally noticed this week that I was spending a crap-ton of mental and emotional energy wondering which of my social media compatriots would like which links, whether or not to include certain links, and whether I should strive for a certain theme or tone with each dump. And then, when last week’s dump didn’t earn as much engagement, I was a little hurt. And in a moment of blinding realization, the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw that I was just playing the same stupid attention-seeking game that so many people on the internet play. You know, I’ve only been on this ride for about eleven weeks, but it’s already too much for me. I’m ready to get off.
Second, I’ve been feeling a little bit of indignation that my other stuff hasn’t gotten as much attention. For example, I’m really proud of my poetry book. It was written over the course of several years, and I put very personal, very tender parts of myself down on those pages. And yet virtually nobody aside from close friends and family members have bought a copy of it or even mentioned it. The point of it was never to make money or to gain fame, though those things would’ve been nice; I mostly just wanted to put something out into the world that had a piece of me in it. But I guess I’ve been irritated that people seem to care more about my link dumps than about my poetry. Look, I get it: in the era of information glut, there’s actually a useful role to play as a sifter and summarizer, so it’s not as though the link dumps had no value at all. There is value in finding the signal in the noise and transmitting it along to others. And I also understand that the people I hang around with on social media aren’t very interested in (for example) a book of poetry for kids, and nobody wants to hear one guy’s constant whinging about his depression symptoms. But I guess it just makes me sad. It makes me feel like the other stuff I’ve worked on, the other posts about my life, the other little projects—all of it matters less than I thought it did.
I’m not at all trying to guilt-trip you. You didn’t do anything wrong. And I don’t want pity. I put myself onto this treadmill of attention-seeking misery, and now I’m going to take myself off of it. For those of you that genuinely enjoyed the link dumps, I’m truly sorry that I can’t continue making them. I hope you understand why I can’t.
In related news, I’m going to see a doctor this week about depression. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression off and on for years, but I’ve never gone to see anyone about it, mostly because it was a frog-in-pot situation in which I didn’t realize until recently that it was a pervasive, persistent problem. I mention all that because it’s another factor in this decision. I might be able one day to return to these and keep making them from within a stable frame of mind. But at the moment, I think it’s just too much to bear. Anyway, thanks as always for reading.