Rewilding Your Attention
There's a great Twitter thread from Tom Critchlow that responds to the narrative of the “status game” being played online. In particular, Tom is responding to the variation on the narrative portrayed in this piece by Ali Montag about how writing online takes becomes this “Inner Ring” a la C.S. Lewis (source).
The thread within Tom's thread I want to pull on is this:
But if all you read and follow are mainstream and “inner circle” folks then you're only going to see the status and celebrity game.
You'll desire audience and reach and think that writing in fast company is success...
When the reality is that you can rewild your attention, and follow blogs and people writing small weird things.
You can find your group, you can forge real connections. And writing, working in public helps! It's a tiny weird signal.
That phrase — rewild your attention — hits home with me. It explains much of the development over the past couple years with my relationship towards blogging. A lot of the readers & writers I've come to know exist within the bandwidth of tiny weird signals, especially within the community surrounding Write.as. There are so many great people I've met in that network who are writing those small weird things Tom mentions — more than I can count. I am grateful that I acknowledged and traveled closer towards this signal when I did. It shaped not only my trajectory as a writer but also within the field of technology I work in today. Now that signal is something I don't think about. It's my day-to-day online existence.
But the signal can fade. Tom's message makes me realize that rewilding attention is an active practice. One must not only pursue those tiny signals but share them as well, whether that means writing about them on your blog or by word of mouth. The only way the tiny signal can keep on resonating throughout the web is if we keep passing it on.