New stories

I’ve been thinking about this post from Erin Kissane—which touches on, among other topics, adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy, a book that is very much part of my personal canon—and her prophecy about the near future of online communities. She writes, “I think things feel wiggly and interesting right now because we really just do not know how things are going to shake out. Which means that maybe people who make things online but don’t have billions of dollars or a seat at the VC table can have more influence over the next generations of online sociability and communal life.” I think she’s right about this, but it also occurs to me that the present haze of uncertainty includes a whole lot of people who find themselves in a weird kind of liminal space with respect to the tech industry, whether because of burnout or layoffs or sheer disillusionment. Uncertainty—especially at the scale of industry—is frightening and stressful, but it’s also an opening to experiment and explore, to make anew. There’s a story out there that says the future of tech is a dystopian mess of legless bots-talking-to-other-bots, and while I think we should heed the warnings, I’m also unconvinced that that particular future is preordained. It’s not the only story available to us, nor must we be the passive recipients of other people’s stories. We can write new stories, too.