When the pandemic hit and everything shut down in March 2020, people turned to the Internet for news, entertainment, and contact with other human beings. In my little corner of the Internet, I saw the impact first hand.
Traffic jumped on my blog and newsletter with daily gossip about virus spread and home cooking projects. My weekend hobby – a tiny vintage book shop on Etsy — sold so many books for Zoom backgrounds that I had to pay taxes and set up an LLC. On Twitter, I swapped gossip with fellow education reporters and found new allies with the school shutdown haters.
But that’s all died down, even before Elon Musk broke Twitter. For the past year, I’ve seen less traffic on my various sites, fewer books sold, and fewer links clicked. My Facebook page is mostly just two or three friends who still faithfully post birthday and anniversary pictures. Instagram is full of ads and “suggested reels” of old people getting facelifts. What exactly are you trying to tell me, Mark Zuckerberg? All my favorite people gradually left Twitter, or maybe journalism, this year, and I’m talking to crickets.