January 1, 2023

I know, I’m not supposed to be here. Back in October, I made somewhat of a big deal out of my annual retreat from the internet, saying I’d be back at the keyboard in the spring. As I type this, I’m sat under an electric blanket, entirely too aware that it’s still mid-winter.

The truth is that shortly after my self-imposed absence kicked in, the internet became entirely too interesting to ignore. Sure, I took a couple of months off from posting here, and sending newsletters — but the sale of Twitter, and the upheaval subsequent thereto, has kept me glued to my screen. It’s been riveting.

My own history with Twitter is complicated. There was a time I found it an enormously enjoyable place to be, and a valuable tool for both socialising and discovery. As with almost all centralised, advertising-supported social platforms however, the magic fell away over the course of time. In a post published a decade ago this week (!), I complained about the increasing siloing of content and connection. Then, five years ago, I found myself trying to pinpoint the aspects of the modern social web that didn’t sit well with me, whilst adopting increasingly torturous postures to justify my continued use. Eventually I came to use Twitter, and most other centralised platforms, almost entirely as vectors for sharing content I controlled myself.

For me, there is certainly an element of sadness in seeing Twitter further debased and mismanaged in the hands of its new ownership. But, it has also proven liberating: for one thing, decentralised platforms have begun to see an uptick in usage I previously thought surpassingly unlikely; I joined Mastodon a few years ago, but had found it difficult to form connections until the recent, exponential growth in activity there.

I’ve also noticed a reappraisal of the RSS protocol: a recognition of its simplicity, and its centrality to the original forms of socialising on the web. Alongside this, there have been renewed, spirited calls for a return to blogging, and efforts to re-form communities around individual, personal sites. All of this has made the social internet feel more exciting to me in the last couple of months than it has in many years.

And so, since no day on the calendar represents a cleaner slate than New Year’s Day, I’m spinning the site back up early this year. You can bookmark blog.zioibi.com or grab the RSS feed here.

As has become traditional, the blog — the section you’re reading right now — has been wiped clean (though the original content is still available via permalinks), and I’ve added a few choice posts from 2022 to the index of highlights. There’s also an updated About page, and the 2022 edition of my annual, end-of-year favourite albums list — at ~6,000 words, I think this is the longest one yet!

Oh, and one more thing: during the break I’ve been working on a photosite at photos.zioibi.com — the design is still a WIP, and I need to get into the habit of uploading new photos, but it’s live now. Let me know what you think, or just say hi, via hello@zioibi.com

Happy New Year.