Being Accessible Online

Originally this website was meant to be a casual blog I could post stories, tutorials, streams of conscious (very akin to garry newman’s blog). But the blog portion of the website has been largely neglected for a while, so I’m going to change that moving forward. Mostly because I have a love/hate relationship with social media right now: I love to browse it, but I am weary to post to it because I don’t want to be seen as easily-accessible.

I grew up in an era of phone books, fax machines, and forums… with most people opting to make their own websites. I miss that, but not for the reason you typically hear. Most will tell you to take one look at Neocities (a hosting service for static webpages made to mimick Geocities) and see that everyone’s websites are a creative extension of themselves. While I think this is true, I think it’s also a bit naive to neglect that you can still achieve a creative extension of yourself on social media. However, it’s undenyable that you can’t achieve the same level of control over your content on social media as you can on your own website.

What I miss about this older era of the internet is the fact that there were zero expectations. If you created a new post on a forum, there’s no knowing when you’ll get a response, or if you’ll get a response at all. Someone could necro your post 7 years later with the answer you no longer need and you wouldn’t care because the expectation was never there in the first place. But now it very much seems like everyone expects you to be available 24/7, and if you’re not, you’re a bad person. I hate this outlook. I used to try to be available all the time, responding to IRL friends instantly regardless of what they wanted, looking into any bug report/reviews of my games right away, ect. But I’ve come to realize that this is not a healthy way to live your life.

This realization came to me when hosting Twitch Plays Tomodachi, I implemented a !mods <message> command to instantly notify me on discord if something is wrong with the stream or a bad actor is in chat. As a result of this, most viewers would realize that using the command makes me instantly accessible, leading some to assume I am always instantly accessible. These people would message me on discord at all hours of the day asking questions or telling me to add X and Y to the stream as if it were a demand. This is not the way I want to be treated, and I’m sure most people would agree, so boundaries had to be set.

Despite this, I also want to make it clear I have a similar sentiment to being messaged/pinged as Garry Newman does. If I get disturbed by a notification, that’s my fault… Meaning if I was annoyed by the ping and let it take time out of my day, then I should probably change my discord settings so that it doesn’t annoy me (or what-have-you).

Garry Newman's Thoughts on being pinged

With all of this being said, where do I actually land on the subject? I think it’s okay to reach out to me. I don’t really like that people I cut ties with can just look me up and reach out in an attempt to use/abuse me again (unfortunately can’t opt out of the phone book of the internet), but it’s also something I can ignore and not let them do now that I have more control over my life. If you do message me, you shouldn’t expect a response, but you also shouldn’t be surprised if you do get one. I’m just a normal guy, and if you treat me like a normal guy I’ll do normal guy things. Such as respond to you when I’m available outside of my normal guy life.

Written on May 31, 2023