Hey there, internet. It’s been a hot minute. You probably found this post from Instagram or the hot new Threads app, or Gods know what new platform came out this week that you found me on… Or maybe you’re just checking in on me and my website. Regardless, I thought it was time for a reintroduction of sorts. For everyone that doesn’t know me, I’m a former lead developer for a creative agency, now turned independent web developer, UX designer, and digital marketing consultant, currently living in Seattle.
I spent a large part of my early career helping build communities. Back in high school, I was a moderator for a number of popular forums for video games, game hacking, security, and even digital art communities. Eventually, I even landed a paid role as a community manager for a popular MMO.
However, during my time as a CM, a doxxing incident followed by death threats made me take a step back. Turns out, there are some pretty awful people in the world against basic human rights. Who would have thought? After all, it was all about ethics in journalism, right? But I digress.
For the next decade, I opted to keep a low profile. While I continued making connections and grew professionally, I mainly stayed away from the limelight of social media.
“I thought what I’d do was, I’d pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes”
That quote from The Catcher in the Rye encapsulated my feelings at that time. I grew disappointed with the nature of social media - the constant pursuit of likes, the rise of influencers, the obsession with clout chasing. I felt as if I lost my connection with the genuine experience of networking and community building that I once cherished. Interestingly enough, it was Ghost In The Shell’s Laughing Man’s obsession with that quote that made me realize I didn’t have to be so disillusioned by it all, but more on that in a moment.
In a strange way, part of me also felt my time was over. Like, I could just retire in the middle of the woods now. I did my thing. Even if it was brief, I lived my dream job working in VR, I created a couple of startups, and even a studio I had founded was acquired. Then I rose up as a lead developer, helping organize projects, choose frameworks, assess risks, and coordinate between clients, designers, and other creatives, and even across other large teams across the world. I’ve literally helped build businesses so they could pivot and stay afloat during the peak of Covid.
In Ghost in The Shell, the Laughing Man initially uses Salinger’s works to express his feelings of isolation. The line from The Catcher in the Rye embodies the sense of disconnection and alienation from society that both the Laughing Man and Salinger’s protagonist Holden Caulfield feel. As the series progresses, it becomes clear however that this approach also distances the Laughing Man from the very society he aimed to influence. By the end, he learns the importance of active engagement. He’s also no longer hiding behind The Laughing Man logo, and directly communicates his thoughts and feelings, breaking free from his deaf-mute guise.
For a while now, I felt like I was at a bit of a crossroads. I could just fade away quietly while living out a rustic life of raising some chickens and goats with my partner deep in a forest in the middle of nowhere Washington, or I could put myself out there, reengage with the community that helped shape me, and stir that creative pot once more. I felt like I had to choose. I couldn’t have both.
That’s always been the thing for me. I used to see things strictly in black and white. You had to pick one or the other. You had to meet societal expectations, or you’d be shunned by all. But it turns out, maybe you don’t have to pick. You don’t need to self-isolate. If you can learn to be your unapologetic, authentic self (and not be a dick about it), you can, and will find a community that fits you and can carve out a place for yourself there. It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.
So here I am, feeling ready to finally re-emerge from my social media hibernation. For the first time in a long time, I’m excited to start posting on social media again and share what I’ve been learning. I’m excited to start to promote my businesses and brand and do it my way this time. I’m also excited to start learning and sharing with communities again. I’m just excited to be my weird, authentic self again, and I hope you join me on this new adventure.
While I have a lot of projects already lined up, I’m excited to collaborate again! Want to make a website or app together? Hit me up and let’s make the internet a little weirder again.