This morning, I saw the headline of an article in The Atlantic, “The Age of Social Media is Ending” by Ian Bogost. It’s behind a paywall, so I didn’t read it, but…
It got me thinking about the pre-platform days. How did we connect with people online? If social media dies, what will we turn to next? I have a good precedent that I wouldn’t mind returning to it. Here’s a shout-out to all my old Japan Bloggers friends.
The Japan Bloggers group from the early 2000s were pioneering online writers before social media platforms and sites like Medium gave everyone a platform. We were diverse mix of women and men working in tech, arts, NPOs, and beyond.
In those days we used Blogger and Moveable Type, some members developed technology – including an early version of blogging text and photos from your mobile phone and its lo-res camera (MFOP by Kevin Cameron, Bastish) – set design standards with much copied button styles (pixel buttons from Jeremy Hedley, Antipixel) and generally had an influence on how the Internet worked for a while, anyway.
We had a blogring on Ringsurf (now defunct), a mailing list on Yahoo that Stuart Woodward managed, and held monthly off-kai in locations all around Tokyo. Those were good parties with smart people who had interesting things to talk about.
I forged so many important friendships and connections in that community. It was the best parts of social media in a much easier to manage format. Though the group eventually faded away, it was exactly right for its time.
Perhaps after social media, we will go back to a more diverse set of communications.