Statistically speaking by the time you’re reading this I’ll finally be back on Twitter, an app that’s probably ruined me as a person in ways that I’m yet to fully accept. Nearly half of my readership arrives from Twitter and as a result I’m scarily reliant on the website to ensure that everyone around me sits through my weekly Eamon Ryan diatribes – every time I finally make the realization that I need to cut back on the time I waste on Twitter I cynically shrug said realization off by pretending that constantly posting is somehow good for my writing, coming off as a major careerist in the process. This overreliance is probably best exemplified through the content of this post – I had originally planned on writing yet another piece on Irish politics (fun!) but the realization that the two people who would somehow find that piece funny were significantly less likely to stumble upon it essentially killed any motivation I had, leading to this weird meta-commentary on an objectively stupid microblogging website that I should have quit ages ago. I’ve flirted with completely vanishing off the face of the internet a fair few times, somehow pretending that I have the self-control to actually do something productive with my life every three months or so. These attempts always end in some embarrassing form of failure – I remember completely relapsing on social media during a particularly slow day at work a few years back and scrolling through everything Felix Biederman posted that month like it was a particularly depressing morning newspaper. I felt like an utter arse for the rest of that shift, mainly just as that experience made me realise how dumb my relationship with the internet was. I think that was the moment that I realized I was wired in for life, even if I tried to pretend otherwise for ages. But for now, I’m temporarily free from the endless discourse that consumes my life, or I would be if I actually chose to write about music tonight. Has this led to me having any original or interesting thoughts about our collective relationship with the net? Not really.
I can’t tell if I was actually closer to quitting social media before lockdown or if I just had less time to waste on there. A lot of my writing is based around (supposedly) disliking the internet while still solely existing on there and I feel as if lockdown has exacerbated this trend – I haven’t awkwardly stood around a bleak-looking train station in ages and it’s clearly made me even more boring, no small feat considering the fact I run a music blog. The only real “interaction” I’ve had with the outside world (besides endless Zoom meetings where I fail to make coherent points) was small talk during a funeral two weeks ago, which presumably doesn’t count because I was talking to rabid culchies about the weather (and my failure of a beard). This disconnection has just generally messed with my sleep schedule – I get up in the afternoon and alternate between reading books I have an active interest in and staring at random internet controversies that I don’t and then end up writing cookie-cutter polemics about both of these things each Thursday at quarter to four in the morning.
In a move that’ll probably complicate the publishing of this blog post, one of the few friends I actually send these drafts to has gone on a sabbatical from Discord, singing the virtues of IRC for some aesthetic reason I don’t properly understand. I’d ask her for more clarification as to why she actively cares about chatting apps but that’d require actually installing an IRC client – something I really can’t be arsed doing (mainly as it’s already half-three in the morning and I’m still on the first paragraph of this blog post), even if it means that I lose whatever little Neocities cred I have. Back when I was younger I was always obsessed with technology (despite never being able to coherently understand it) – hopping between random Arch-based Linux distributions (mainly just as they kept on breaking on me), tweaking terminal configuration files (despite having no coherent use for a terminal in the first place), and spending ages messing with random open-source software (if I learned Photoshop instead of GIMP I would have probably ended up as a graphic designer and perhaps that’s the most depressing fact about me). Because of this, I’ve spent a scary amount of times in communities that base themselves around “alternative” or “ethical” software – in other words, communities of people that act superior for running an operating system that only supports three programs and base their personalities around being that one friend who only texts people on Signal. There’s something quite interesting about this impulse to move away from “traditional” software and websites, even if it seems depressingly futile. In other words, I’m going to use this post as an excuse to rationalize away my Twitter addiction as actually being the fault of capitalism or something – this is pretty much what always happens when you let me write about things that aren’t music-related.
By the time I get this blog post up, you’ll have probably heard about the supposed leaking of the TF2 and CSGO source code on a certain imageboard that at this rate will probably haunt everything I write about. This anonymous leak is widely believed to have originated from a friend of Tyler McVicker, better known as the constantly suffering YouTuber Valve News Network. The story that I’ve seen repeated on Twitter is that this friend got removed from a Discord server for being a transphobic arsehole and decided to respond to this by leaking everything he was shared with the wider internet – presumably in an attempt to ruin McVicker’s career. This quite understandably set a small corner of the internet ablaze, with TF2 servers going offline due to security concerns and random people on Twitter getting concerningly mad about the whole thing. I’m writing this just after it was revealed that the leaked code was “given to many people in May 2018 by a mentally unstable source who wanted to cause damage to Valve” and that Valve found no reason for players to be alarmed or to avoid using current builds of their games. However, the leaked source code is arguably the least interesting part of the story (or at least it is to me, someone who has documented their love-hate relationship with CSGO in the past and has no intentions of relapsing). The anonymous arsehole behind the leak also dumped chatlogs of Tyler talking to an unconfirmed Valve source, something he apparently shared with multiple close Discord friends. Now I’m not here to play journalist (and trust me you shouldn’t trust this blog for anything like that), but I feel as if these leaked chatlogs give us an interesting glimpse into the experience of being a minor internet personality and the weird power-plays inherent to being a big deal in a community that only five people actively care about.