I decided today to scale-down and simplify The Afternoon Journal, to make it less visually polluting, less, well, digital-looking. The tendency on many websites is to gather and display as much information and graphics as possible, an easy thing to do and over-do. While such aggregating can be convenient, it can also be visually and mentally overwhelming, especially if the writer wants to encourage careful reading. So my goal now is to recreate the printed page as much as possible in an online setting.
Such digital simplicity means I’ve dropped all the RSS links to other sites* and chosen a blog layout that is plain and printerly. This site will now be less immediate and newsy, a lot less connected to the vast hyper-world of the Web. Some readers may miss all that stimulation, but I think this style is better suited to my sense of proportion in regard to the Internet– just another writing/reading tool, a complement of, not a replacement for, print.
In my world, print still rules. And “social media” is, let’s be honest, about as social as Morse code; despite its speed and ease, the Internet is communication of the most removed, dehumanized kind. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, instructive and entertaining in its way. It’s just that we tend to make too much of the electronic Web, often to the detriment of more immediate, satisfying aspects of our personal and cultural lives. And given how the Internet and our various gadgets are machines custom-made for the viewing of videos and photographs, it’s a wonder that any writing worthy of sustained attention gets any attention online at all.
But I’ll keep trying to add what I can of value to the digital realm, trying to contribute a little intellectual light in as simple a way as I can. In the afternoon or evening. When I’ve got the time.
*– well, most of them.