I’m back – and it is a clean slate.
According to my webhost, I had been running this website for nearly 10 years. In this time, I muddled through a PhD and a variety of different jobs to support that PhD. So the purpose of this website was a sort of ‘catch all’ for that journey, a sort of professional(ish) space to write and think about stuff outloud (and to quit my PhD publically on… ha! Those were the days) – and it suited the way the Internet was during that time.
After a year of ups and downs, challenges and recovery from those challenges, I decided that holding a decade of half-formed thoughts that (now, on reflection) represented aspects of imposter syndrome and semi-justifications for perfectly normal concerns about work- as well as using my blog as research data and reflections from my PhD, it was time for a change. Plus, I had stopped writing. Dead. And that’s sad. I don’t like it when I stop writing.
And inevitably, Twitter had become shorthand, a distraction rather than taking the time to flesh out ideas, half-formed thoughts that never materialise fully. Nuance is lost when you try taking a stab at making sense of early thinking using Twitter alone, and ends up being the source of all frustration as context collaspes and have to spend your evenings and weekends swatting away random accounts that you don’t even follow that have found their way into your mentions. Often with some pretty nasty things that they feel they must tell you.
Similarly, you don’t anticipate when you are in the flow of a bigger project that it is much easier to knock out a blog post or two. It is easy to do when you are already writing loads. But also, I have felt like the year post-PhD has been stopped, start, stop, start, not really getting very far and hitting dead ends, reversing then hitting another dead end.
So it has been a full time job to just get the motor going again. Speaking with friends who have been through similar, this is normal. If this is feeling familiar, it is a perfectly normal thing to happen. Doesn’t mean it is ok or feels particular great, it just means that it isn’t you that is the non-functioning one. There is no preparation for the fallout as the momentum from a big writing project suddenly ends. It’s back to the beginning again, blank pages and trying to figure out wtf you want to do next.
Also, I have been procrastinating on getting my website back online after a certain incident involving a very niche subsection of Scottish twitter decided to rifle through my online baggage for clues to discredit me. It happens. Note, words I wrote in 2011 meant something different than they do in 2018 – especially if you want to tell your own wee story with them. But explaining ‘context collapse’ to those who operate behind a sockpuppet is wasted energy. More and more, the value of attributing your words to your face and your actual name leaves you vulnerable, but never the less, accountable to the words you wrote.
Similarly, I began a part-time course in digital journalism at the University of Strathclyde which I will be pottering about with for the next 2 years. Journalism was always something I wanted to do, to the point of getting accepted into a program at the University of Salford back in 2006 – but instead, bottling it and deciding academia was for me. Ha, that’s for another day. Funny that I’ve come full circle, after writing and observing alternative media and citizen journalists for nearly a decade, I’ve never actually worked in a newsroom. Yes, DIY, bootstrap culture has a place – but not in sacrifice of journalism and the freedom of the press. More on that to follow.
Finally, I am writing this blog post from Austin, Texas. I am attending #credcon, a 2 day Hacks/Hackers ran hackathon exploring credibility in journalism and technology. The event kicks off in an hour or so, and I’ve been asked to write 4-5 articles about my time here. I needed my blog to back up, if simply to make sure I have a place to put those words.
So there you go, if I had all the time in the world, I would have waited until I had at least a few pages up before I went live again but tbh, I just want my website back up and functioning again. The rest can follow later.