Hello, World

If I’m going to set up a personal weblog after years of procrastinating, it seems only fitting that I make the first post about what finally got me to dive into three days of evaluating blogging platforms and tools, finding a site design that works for me, and getting it all up and running.

When I got up this past Sunday morning, I found a bunch of notifications from Facebook. First, they said it looked like I’d been posting spam, and they wanted me to confirm that I’d actually posted a big stack of timeline entries. I had, and they most definitely were not spam: they were just plain, ordinary personal posts (even cat pictures!) as well as a few links to political news.

After I got through verifying those, I saw the biggie: a post from nearly two years ago had been deleted, as it apparently “goes against our Community Standards on nudity and sexual activity.”

Wow! Had I ever posted anything involving nudity or sexual activity? Pretty sure I hadn’t! What post was it, anyway?

The Vile Post!

Well OK, then. An Atlas Obscura article about early attempts at birth control education in Canadian universities.

There were essentially two possibilities: either a friend had gone on a reporting frenzy, or Facebook’s new timeline “quality” algorithm, supposedly intended to do a better job of preventing Fake News from filling your timeline, is applying a particularly puritanical formula, and doing so retroactively.

One way or another, it was a really, really good reminder that what you do on Facebook, you do at their pleasure, and nothing you post there is guaranteed to remain there. So, if you actually care about getting your ideas out there online, there’s no alternative but taking advantage of the open nature of the real web — the one that was there before Facebook, and the one that will still be there when everyone gets sick of Facebook.

Anyway. Welcome to my new weblog. Hopefully this time I’ll keep it going, and make it worth the occasional visit.