footnotes on existence

I moved to Zurich from Hong Kong in September 2020, and have since become severely algorithmically challenged.

From almost the very beginning, my social feeds were a disaster to wrangle. My first social networks consisted mainly of ex-classmates migrated off chat programs from three different countries.

 Then came the friends and family furthering that geographic sprawl, add colleagues, folk from the literary community, and the different social and interest groups as life took its course, including several dreadful parenting groups for the Schadenfreude (and occasional restaurant recommendation.)

In recent years, for better or for worse, we have all observed politics splinter the superficial veneer of our lives online. In 2020 this reached a fever pitch with the plague of our times and a litany of public opinion amplified in the absence of physical places to gather. 

I started dropping platforms despite an intense desire to ‘stay in touch’ remain ‘accessible’ and only be ‘one whatsapp away.’ Scrolling made me listless, everything I encountered felt mildly chaotic and a list of connections built up over a decade was unmanageable. It made me yearn for those top 8 days. Posts competed with ads in different languages, time zones, and news cycles leaving me somewhat bleary eyed in the blue light.

The algorithmic shift was a circuit breaker to lifelong digital habits.

My corporate life had springboarded with the advent of social media, and quality content remains part of what forms my professional identity today. The algorithmic shift was a circuit breaker to lifelong digital habits. As a digital native, I was raised on blogs, and cut my teeth on the ‘content economy’. It was not just a way to consume content but to participate and make sense of the world. All milestones had their pixelated counterparts, and became a digital undercurrent to life – over time, and as my family grew it became my scrapbook. Despite this, I have been ruthlessly editing where I spent my time in the last year. 

My most used social network is currently causing waves as older millennials bristle at the way it is changing. I am one of them – constantly irritated at not being able to listen to music as I scroll because of the barrage of video content. I am mortified at how much space this thought takes up in my brain but oddly it’s this, and a comment from a friend about reverting to older digital habits that brought me back to this blog. I had given up the domain and was happy to include it in my platform purge –  until now. 

It’s fair to say I have an unusual name, so the fact that I could never claim the domain was a little bizarre. By strange coincidence, somebody with the last name Gallagher who was in local government in Nashua, New Hampshire had driven the domain price into four figures even years after it was retired – that is, until I checked this week. Even more coincidentally, somebody with the last name ‘Nash’ contacted me for the ‘aDashofNash’ domain for years, and in my lofty ideas of what I wanted previous versions of this blog to be, I held on to it longer than I should have. 

A little bit of domain roulette reminded me that it doesn’t need eyeballs or reach for me to want to exorcise white spaces with words. It’s nice to own my own name, and have a place for these footnotes on existence. 

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