A couple of weeks ago a friend suggested I take a look at Reddit. He said they advertise themselves as the front page of the internet.
So I looked. At first it felt like standing at Times Square – hundreds of flashing signs shouting look here, buy me, want this! Actually, not so much buy me since it was mostly ideas that people were hawking. That was a good thing because I had no thing to sell. My diary is me in words and I can share it with folks but they can’t own it.
I looked for the usual buttons to sign up, log in, get started. The page was different. Teeny links, click on the smallest word, a punctuation mark, and something happened. What was still not entirely clear.
I moused around for a week before getting up the nerve to try to post a link to my diary. I had just finished my day at a client’s factory and decided to figure out how to post a link. There seemed to be some really thoughtful comments in, of all places, the atheism group so I decided that might be a place to start. I read the FAQ.
I had to scroll down to see anything that looked like a button to make my first post: Rage Comics, Facebook Chats, Memes, and Something Else. Something Else? Was my precious posting just a leftover, something that didn’t fit into the categories they really cared about?
After some hesitation I clicked Something Else and saw this elegant little form. There was room for a title and a link. That was it. A title and a link. No distorted letters to prove I wasn’t a bot, no twenty page license agreement to ignore and approve – just a title and a link. Wonderful.
I pasted in the first line of my Day 458 diary entry, entered the link, and clicked submit. I then hit the men’s room for a quick bladder break. I returned to discover that thirty-five godless fans had visited my diary. Thirty-five in five minutes! Amazing.
I drove home and checked the stats again. During my hour commute over a hundred souls had visited my diary. Remarkable. By the end of the day WordPress told me a couple of hundred Redditors had stopped by – all from a title and a link. No endless Tweeting or gratuitous ‘likes’. Just a title and a link and they either got it or they didn’t.
Buoyed by that welcome, I reached out and had a hundred fellow writers take a peek. The next day I posted a new link and WordPress told me over six-hundred folks showed up. Cool. Before that only a dozen people had seen my words.
What does it mean? What do I want it to mean? 499Days is a place for me to share my sunset strategy on a mountainside homestead. It’s about chopping wood and gathering eggs – living small but beyond the reach of the bankers and lawyers and admen. Will the sharing help anyone shrug off the corporate yoke, tell the politicians to get lost, see that money looks better than it tastes? Maybe not.
But it might be fun to try. Not a bad way to spend my last 452 days.