Reclaiming my home on the Internet

 


 

Manifesto redux, 25 years along. The World Wide Web we planned and promised in 1994 was a much better place than the Internet turned out to be today.  Back then, we promoted an endlessly expanding universe of ideas and information presented with powerful multimedia tools never thought possible in the hands of the public, with everyone owning and and publishing to their personal corner of the sky, quaintly called a “home page.”  In that first wave of enthusiastic visioning and pioneering and homesteading and outrageous innovation, even commercial ventures made investments and took risks to elevate a common digital good.

Now, we mostly live within a gulag archipelago of misleadingly-termed walled gardens — more like prisons for our minds, to paraphrase The Matrix. Massive platforms of surveillance capitalism have largely quashed innovation and the motivation for personal expression, as much of the public has become content to surrender to the most simple toolsets and to retreat to consumer status where our privacy is exploited as product and our most personal data is aggregated as the trading currency. Throughout this dark and lopsided transaction, minds are manipulated and even altered by algorithms gamed by demagogues, and society and institutions and our personal well-being are diminished and damaged, as if we all made some conscious decision to trade Western democracy for a better digital ad experience while building the personal fortunes of just four men beyond the total wealth of the bottom half of our country.

As someone who always has lived my digital life out loud, I was a willing participant for years, and in my professional career I helped build out some of this world. I often wrestled with my involvement on many levels, especially in encouraging family and friends to join in, and I still do. Events and developments over the last few years have heightened the problems and have forced some issues beyond a breaking point where change is not only welcome but absolutely necessary. Which brings me back here, stepping out of as much madness as I can, coming back to where it started: reclaiming my home on the Internet to shape and share my story on my own terms in ways that look like me. Will be refreshing to publish and post with the perhaps naive hope that it’s not immediately going into a database to be turned back against me; they could still scrape it, but they’re going to have to make an effort. So I hope you find me out here, and to the best of your own abilities, I hope you choose to re-establish your home as well.

Kurt Fliegel, October 2019

Components

Fliegel.com

Collection point for my Internet presence.  The main active channel here is a Commonplace blog for sharing or collecting things that interest me, or parts of my life that I’m willing to share publicly. I’ll also group and highlight some favorite photos in albums in a small Gallery. I know this won’t get the kind of play here that it would on some of the social platforms, but it’s mostly for me to anchor my stuff and for friends who want to check in on me every once in a while.

Difficult to know what to do about politics and current events in a polarized and partisan world, and the people who know me know I hold some strong views usually expressed in strong language, backed by extensive receipts and evidence. Not sure what I’m going to do about including purely political content and conversations. If I do something, it will likely be private and limited to people I know well. If you’re interested in being a part of that, and we haven’t already spoken, please use the contact form to let me know you’d like to join should it happen. In the meantime, check social media, or take a look at what’s on my nightstand on the Reading List page.

Running is a huge part of my life and my relationships, and I’m treating it as a separate area of focus (see below) including a side project. There’s a section for basic Professional information too, even though I don’t like to mix that with personal content, but there’s some here. 

Personal website: https://fliegel.com 

 

Social Media

Keeping some semi-active outposts as I try to move away from algorithms, continuous feeds, personal data collection, and other mechanisms of surveillance capitalism. . Most active on Instagram as my primary social connector but even that’s slowing down; you can find me there (feed replicated on the Gallery page here). I am no longer on Twitter as of October 2022, came and went on  Post.news; inactive profiles on both only to keep usernames blocked off. Returned to Facebook, grudgingly, and temporarily, to check in on people during the pandemic, stayed for a while and just locked down again (January 2023). Becoming more active in the fediverse on Mastodon for the 3rd or 4th account, will be staying around this time; also homesteading on FriendicaPixelfed and Calckey.  Now that WordPress owns Tumblr and is planning an ActivityPub integration, may be using that more again as well.  May be reviving Flickr too when they join the fediverse.  Also have channels open on SignalDiscord Matrix, and a Gemini account, but don’t hang on any of those much.

For most platforms and services,  I’m FLGLchicago.

  Instagram  ||   Fediverse:   Mastodon    Tumblr  | Flickr  |  Friendica  |  Pixelfed |  Calckey |  Matrix ||    

 

RUNNING

There’s no hiding from this: I do so much running and talk about running so much and post so much about running because I live with a runner and hang out with runners and on and on about running and running and running…I need a separate container to hold it all just like I have a special room to hold all my running stuff.

And that’s my next project. A container not only for me, but a platform for the global running community. Will take me a while to build it out, but in the meantime, there’s some basic stuff here as a placeholder, and running friends can find me in all the usual places, especially Instagram, Strava, and Athlinks. And as much as my body allows me at any given moment,  at Logan Square on Thursday nights, and the Lakefront Trail on in-season Saturday mornings, and at various start lines around the city and the country all through the year. Keep your eye on this space for if and when the vision of RunO2 becomes a reality.

  Strava  |  Athlinks  |  runO2.net 

 

PROFESSIONAL

There’s some background and color on my career on the Professional page, and LinkedIn of course provides a skeleton timeline and a network through which colleagues past and present can reach out. I don’t post much at all there, especially now that I’ve retired.  Closed out my professional Twitter account October 2022.

This Train Studios is a construct I’m holding in reserve for project work, and may become active someday. For now the site is a placeholder that I’ll light up if there’s a reason.

 LinkedIn  |  This Train Studios  

 

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