How much online?

A sketch of a desktop computer #essays

There are potential benefits to putting yourself out there digitally. You never know who will see what you share, and what opportunities the exposure can lead to. And putting yourself online has never been easier, and there have never been so many options for doing so.

And therein lies the problem . . .

How many options do we need? And how easy does it all need to be?

We now carry a limitless number of “friends” in our pockets (via our smart phones) wherever we go. In some ways, we're never alone. Or, we always have friends just a facial recognition or thumb unlock away. It's never been easier for people to get in touch with us.

But what are the downsides of that same convenience? Does the convenience benefit us as much as others?

You don't have to look too hard to see why this hyperconnectivity may be concerning.

The vitriol in tweets. The ignorance in YouTube comments. The lack of imagination in recycled posts on LinkedIn.

Sure, it's not all bad. But the signal-to-noise ratio seems to lean in the favor of noise.

To be fair, this discrepancy is not unique to social networks. Salespeople get far more rejections than closed sales. Their success rates are often incredibly low. But the successes are enough to make up for the failures. That's why the salesperson keeps on grinding: It's worth the effort.

But what about for you and me? Are the successes worth the trouble?

Salespeople know what they're chasing: Leads that turn into sales to meet a quota for a commission.

But what are we chasing? And is it worth the trouble?

Each effort of accessibility requires more effort for the creator. So, where do you draw the line?

For anyone who wants to find me, I'm never more than a Google search away. And anyone can email to tell me what he or she thinks of anything I've written or created otherwise.

(Note: If you're one of the few reading this post in your email inbox, you can also reply directly to this email.)

If either of those methods is inconvenient for anyone hoping to give feedback, maybe we're all better off not communicating in the first place.

Ranting about Web3

Opening my mind to the possibilities of Web3 has made me wonder if a reversion to Web1 sensibilities is a better option.

Website. RSS. Email. Has Web 2.0 really created anything as useful as those tools? Perhaps so, but the walled garden aspect of Web2.0 makes it difficult to compare.

And what better decentralized technologies will Web3 create? (We can also argue over whether Web3 will ever actually be decentralized.)

As things stand right now, social media and other tools of convenience benefit those who consume content. And that consumption benefits the companies hosting the platforms. But do those platforms benefit us as creatives or expressives?

The answer isn't so clear cut or one-size-fits-all. The answer will be different for everyone, as we all have different experiences, wants, and results. And I might feel differently if I had something to monetize (and almost certainly so if I had already managed to monetize it).

I don't see myself every going full digital hermit. But it is time to pull back some. The real question is: Just how much?

This post first appeared on Jake LaCaze's blog.

Email Jake

RSS feed