Thank You & Welcome to New Readers

I find myself in the strange and delightful circumstance of having been Freshly Pressed — featured by WordPress!

When I first noticed the surge of new followers for my hitherto unknown blog, my initial thought was, “Aww man, it’s probably a bunch of spammers.  Spammers spamming my post about my grandfather dying.  What jerks.”

Before all this I had one or two readers, tops.  And I do not publicize the blog in any way.  So the possibility of so many new, real readers did not even cross my mind.

But then I looked more closely and saw that most of you seem to be actual people who are reading and leaving kind comments.  The hits, follows, and likes kept pouring in, and finally I found the Freshly Pressed notification.  Whoa!  My heart practically burst.

I am grateful, surprised, happy, and overwhelmed.

The best part of all this is the sense that the odd little chunk of experience I wrote about has been understood.  People from all over the world get it.

Being Freshly Pressed makes me feel less alone in the cosmic wilderness that is Life.

So thank you and welcome.  I will do my best to be worthy of the honor!

Why I Am Leaving Facebook

Today I deactivated my Facebook account.  The farewell messages were kind, but they gave me the sense that I’m casting off for unknown seas, leaving behind everyone I know.

It’s true that I live far away from my friends, and Facebook has helped me keep up with them.  I know about their new jobs, what they’re having for dinner, what silly hats their babies are wearing.  And I’ve actually enjoyed following the minutia of their lives.  With the exception of a few people who turned out to be rage-a-holics or sharers of banal image macros, my friends have been a decent group of people to mingle with on the internet.

Why, then, am I exiling myself from their social landscape?

There are the ideological reasons.  Surveillance.  The idea of a big corporation inhaling all the joys and sorrows of my life, using “likes” to triangulate my very essence.  Big Data.  Marketing.  The demise of privacy.  Real names.

People reasons.  Too many people.  I prefer to present different facets of myself to old friends, new friends, relatives, professional contacts, and randos from the internet.  (Not because I’m a phony, but because I don’t trust everyone equally.)  On Facebook you have the choice between collapsing all distinction or filtering every photo and snippet of text.  All of this has been stressful.

The need to focus.  I click on Facebook and refresh it over and over again when I should be doing something else.

The need to forget.  And for others to forget me.  Sometimes mysteriousness is a virtue.

Preference for privately corresponding with close friends.

Related to above: nostalgia for more individualized, text-heavy communication.  I miss zines, letters, and even the heyday of personal web sites.  By contrast Facebook profiles are uniform and bland: expressions of a capitalist logic, all data entered into boxes and ready to be mined.

So there it is.  My goal is to go without Facebook for a year and see where that leaves me.

When I clicked to deactivate, Facebook automatically generated a few goodbyes: “James will miss you. Kevin will miss you. Sam will miss you.”  For a moment I felt melancholy about all these friends I might stop hearing from.  Then I noticed that my husband appeared on the list of those who would “miss me” if I were to close my account.  Suffice it to say Facebook is not the main arena of our relationship.  Same with all my friends: they exist independently of their user icons.

So goodbye, Facebook.  I’ll miss you too, but the time has come for us to part.

In the meantime I’m blogging.  No one is reading yet, but I’m here.

Re-Introducing Agent Danger

This blog made its debut in 2006.  Back then I managed to write one sentence, the title of the About section:

“Who is she?”

Then I gave up, overwhelmed by the prospect of defining myself and the site’s parameters.

Six years later, I return to Agent Danger and force myself to type introductory words in the white space.  Again, there’s pressure to set the tone — light, engaging, thoughtful? — and to put forward a mission statement.

I can’t promise the Reading Public a blog theme or any sort of cohesion.  Possibly I will experiment and try out different writing styles and topics.  You might enjoy one entry and be bored with the next five.

In general, though, my goal will be to share stories about life that are worth reading.

There.  First entry complete with minimal self-fashioning angst!