Before social media

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.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.