I was reading one of her latest posts this evening and was fascinated by her reaction against today’s technological advances, notably the Internet and the stratagems employed by bloggers to attract readers (Twitter, Facebook being used as soundbites promising far, far more than they can deliver in many cases). She’s taken these elements out of her life and is going back to the ghosts from our past while we remain the victims of modern times. While she investigates her relationship with books, magazines, sending postcards and letters, ink on paper or picking up the telephone instead of instant messaging I instinctively think of the flaws and virtues of the world wide web. I often wonder what it would be like to return to a more traditional place, Internet exile. Knowing that this is a subject that might interest a lot of you I asked her if I could post her text in its entirety here and she very kindly agreed. A word of warning: her blog is a real gem and addictive. Go here ✏ Vagabondiana
A little bit about Ellen. Her journalistic journey started as a London correspondent for W magazine and WWD. She has also written for The Guardian, British Vogue, Sunday Times Style, RUSSH, Harper's Bazaar Australia, Nylon, Cheap Date and STELLA. She’s a contributing editor to Lula and Elle.
Back to my future by Ellen Burney
The internet is the future. They tell us. We, the robots, listen . Well I am not really a fan of the future anymore. Or being involved in it, per se. I like to lick my grubby ink-stained finger to turn the pages of a newspaper and I like the clumsy awkwardness as I hit my neighbours knee with the corners of the pages on public transport, grimacing my silent sorry. Broadsheet-batterers be gone. I've had to make my own internal stand, in what Fleurtini has correctly called my 'digital spring cleanse.' I have left Facebook and Twitter and I feel free. No longer slipping down fake snakes or climbing social ladders I have departed the online boardgame / bored game of 'life.'
I am becoming increasingly drawn to the idea of being old-fashioned. In the long-term, not vintage, sense. I have started phoning friends again (if I haven't called you it's because you're at work.) It's the freelance ones I feel for most, with my 'just calling for a chat,' as my landline number catches them out again ... in restaurants, doing highlights ... 'on the way out.' They should be warned, I fully intend to write letters to them too. Perhaps pushing an itallic pen. Why else did I learn calligraphy at school? I should probably write that book too. On a typewriter. And all those other things that were on my to-do list a decade ago before MySpace intervened.
So here, calls the Pied Piper, follow me if you fancy but who am I to think I should be collecting you? Collecting Followers and Fans. My blog is not my business and so why do I feel I need hits? I don't need hits. None of us need hits. Maybe our egos need hits, but we shouldn't need hits. We are not numbers. We are 'free men'.
I don't read many blogs anymore (although my inimitable favourites remain) though not for lack of trying. Just failed attempts to understand them. How often are blogs today as they were first intended; an outlet for an alternative view on things, without any commerical quid pro quo? What happened to unfettered free expression rather than the commercialisation of imagination; writing what the magazines would not publish. Now the ideas can seem interchageable and as George Orwell once said:
'The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.'