My last blog post got a bunch of traffic, which — turns out — made me want to abandon my blog altogether.
Which I did, for 6 months, but I’m back now! I just needed some time to hibernate.
I’ve been thinking of the trope-ish pattern where introverts in real life are extraverts on the internet — the image of the quiet nerd who thrives on forums and such — and I’ve come to realize that unlike the trope, I’m roughly as introverted on the internet as I am in real life.
It’s not that I shy away from praise; my god do I love praise, to a fault probably! Like anyone, I like it when people like my stuff and tell me about it. I feel especially good when it’s people I know or people in my community, like my friends or coworkers or Recurse alums.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you hate socializing; it just drains your energy.
So when some internet property of mine goes modestly “viral,” where I’m getting an influx of attention from a fair number of strangers, I find it… draining, even if the attention is positive and wholesome.
I feel the same way offline as well. In fact, this is a large part of why I couldn’t continue a career as a lecturer.
As a lecturer, I would teach a class of 200 students, and I would get to know roughly ~5 of them. Those 200 students, though, would obviously know me! And they’re students, so, … they’re going to have opinions on their teachers and classes.
I hated it. Even if students really liked me, I hated it. It makes me deeply uncomfortable to hold a public figure-like status, even if scoped to a single Computer Science department on a single college campus. I find it overwhelming, to have that sort of one-way attention at scale.
So I suppose it’s not surprising that I’m uncomfortable when the equivalent thing happens to me online. And — not a new observation — the nature of the internet enables this sort of unexpected, ephemeral attention to happen more frequently, and to anyone.
Well, all that to say: It took me six months to realize I can just turn off comments and that’ll probably solve most of my problem.
The blog proceeds, now with comments disabled!
Update to add: Oh yeah, so eventually I’ll continue this series, in 2020 sometime, but not right away. My creative energy is bursty and non-linear, as will be my blog.