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A Praise Chorus

I was home sick today and ended up writing a manifesto!

It's my thoughts on the name of this general cypherspace.

It ended up kinda long, so I made it a dat zine here!:
a praise chorus cover.png

Right now, I spend most of my computer time on either Scuttlebutt, Beaker, or the command line. These are also the places where I give the most of my creative expression. I am actually writing to you now through a dat-zine i'm coding up live from my terminal.

A year and a half ago I was a comedian, with no coding knowledge, struggling beneath a blanket of anxiety and digital exhaustion. Nothing online felt good, putting art online felt even worse. I wanted to find an alternative to this digital disquiet and so, knowing little, sought out new places. I tried to feel good on ello, peach, imzy, and steemit, but half of those platforms died, and the other half just felt dead. The place that worked, though, was here: having my own website, learning technical autonomy from friends, and discovering scuttlebutt and dat and the future these communities are building.

My wife, Angelica, is on a similar journey. She's a cartoonist who avoided the web, and stopping putting art on it, because of the same anxiety and exhaustion, compounded by the persistent hazard of being a femme online. Today, she does most of her art and work on SSB. The release of pressure from the content she should be producing has her exploring whole new fields like yoga and fiber arts, and trying new styles of visual art on SSB. Last weekend she spent the afternoon making a dat zine about achieving computer calm through yoga. She made it with classic html using the beaker browser's built in text editor. She included gifs in it that she'd made using open source tools on the Surface she'd hacked to be a linux machine.

We are not (or were not) technical people. We are people who like creating, and wanted to feel good creating again. We found that feeling again here. These tools and places are part of p2p and decentralized tech, but it's not just the tech that inspires. I don't feel this way when talking p2p trustless futures at blockchain meetups. There's something else, around and within the technlogy, that is special here.

So then, as I type this to y'all I ask: where am I typing? Where is here? What do we call this place of dat, technical autonomy, supportive flourishing, and ssb?

My offering: The Chorus.

We are in a new place, it deserves it's own name.

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:clap: x :100:!

Dude. You hit it out of the ball park with this piece! You hit the nail on the head. How many more metaphors can I come up with? I have no idea. I need more :coffee: . Ha. Ha. Seriously, you have me clapping right now.

I agree with you. Putting work out there in the rest of the internet just feels off.

I recently began publishing again under my own name on #Medium. Right? No problem anymore. I can do this. It's a process. BUT -- I noticed that I'm once again starting to feel that pressure to perform and the pressure to conform in order to make some money. I don't have very many pieces on there and none of them are for money so far.

That's not what I want or need right now. Later it will be -- I think, but I'm not sure yet on that either.

Then there's #Steemit.

I actually fell asleep last night reminding myself about all the negatives experience I had on #Steemit. I have a pen name there. I can see if my attitude was slightly different and paid for a bunch of Steem upfront that my experience might have been better. But honestly, a good part of the environment there feels fake and toxic. You have to fight for an audience. And if I'm going to pay to play just to be heard and seen -- I would much rather sink that money into an email provider service and build an email list you know?

I'm just not ready to do that. Plus with #familycourt, seeing how much your account is worth in the "wallet" section would be difficult for me to convince the court to understand my money is not actually worth that much, etc...

I used #Minds for awhile before their focus became crypto --when their rewards systems was still points. But after awhile the people there felt too angry. At least to me. Being there didn't calm me.

I really feel like SSB is a place where I belong.

It's so much different here. You're having a conversation with actual people. And you can do it offline. I can take you guys camping with me, write up a bunch of stuff with the laptop in airplane mode and sync it up with free wifi in town for like five minutes and disconnect again if I want to. You can't do that with other platforms.

I like the name: The Chorus.

I'll figure out what a #dat zine is later...

Good job man! Seriously. I'm totally patting you on the back for this.


Singing analogies are always nice.
I can hear my tenor humming backstage already. Still needs practice but it's getting there :sunflower:


Hey Zach, I really love this and your ideas here. I also feel such possibility and positivity in this space even though I haven't been super active on scuttlebutt just yet :] and wanting to express to friends how I feel is sometimes difficult...

I also feel being part of a chorus has to do with not being in control. Maybe the enjoyable feeling of going for the ride, of being part of a collective whole. I guess there are experiences like this in life like religion, listening to music, sex, drugs, meditation, etc... I feel like in our modern era so much choice at every moment can be very draining indeed.

Anyway thanks for being such a positive life force!!!


Thanks for reading this, @y'all! It was shared as a sort of 'conversation starter', and I'm keen on this convo already!

@MistyWrites , I share yr grief with Medium and Steemit. Medium is just so gross and exploitative to me. It's positioned to the writers as a place to amplify your voice and grow your audience, but every actual part of the site is designed to grow the platform, not the authors. To the degree that it's actually hard for me to find an archive of one person's work, every link is always to some other author the algorithm thinks you'd want. Here on the butts, there's no hard numbers to quantify yr stats or anything like that--but you can definitely feel that people are listening and growing the conversation. It's so good!

And I'm happy to see you on here, @Laurel ! I like yr point of not being in control, it's an element I really love about the ssb protocol (where information spreads as gossip, which is as wild and unpredictable as neighborhood gossip). And that is an element I like about a real-life chorus. A chorus doesn't mean we are singing in unison--we are aware of each other's voices, but we aren't necessarily all singing the same thing in the same way.


oh, and just a (maybe unnecessary!) caveat: If you feel like sharing this piece, I think that is awesome, but please don't share any of the words on the web (maybe just point to the words). I'd love for this to live on the chorus only.

@dan hassan

it'll probably come as no suprise to you that i small hermes hearts.gif small hermes hearts.gif small hermes hearts.gif this.

there has been an inflection point where i am trying to vocalise what it is about time spent on here. i have noticed it a number of times that people have said something to the effect of: i know this place is immutable but i feel like sharing something which i would not otherwise share anywhere else: i've done this a number of times, @andrestaltz I have seen do so, recently @MistyWrites just did - to name a few which pop right to mind. WHAT IS THIS? i was thinking to myself. and I think you've nailed it Zach!.

Something is going right that comics, artists, wordsmiths, activists, organisers, ethically driven encoders, concious cryptographers are here.

It is also not suprising to me that some of the hopeful web2.0 - perhaps when it was web1.5 folx, the utopians such as @rabbled and the folx he has brought along has also started to look around.

i care about this place and i care about many of you.

i have #crab-meet people from ssb about 100% more than i ever have from web2.0 -> meatspace (not including dating apps)

that's my two sand-dollars.

@dan hassan

part of it is the following:

When I need to find something by keyword I use patchwork. When I want to tag something i use patchwork tag branch fork. When i need to spend time in my inbox or to do long from reading i use TickTack. For most other things I use patchbay (chess, image summoning, coding, geekery), when i need my work goggles on I use a work branch of patchbay. I enjoy looking playing with the other interfaces people are building.

if i want to cast a wider net for more content and humyns then i increase my hops. if i feel like a subjective closed group experience then i reduce my hops.... I'm sure I could go on...

@dan hassan

a part is the feeling

the good things of other parts of the internet often feel like humyns making the best of things despite adverse conditions. the feeling of an infinite scroll binge is probably a universally known feeling.

ssb has a qualitativly different feeling.

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