Improv classes! A trip to Mexico! Crippling depression!

It’s been a rough year for me. Even though there have been some bright spots, I’ll remember 2018 as the year depression kicked my ass.

Okay, may not past tense. Maybe present tense, too.

This is the year depression is kicking my ass.

I don’t talk about my depression publicly. I don’t do that for several reasons — one, you don’t really bring it up in regular conversation. A friend of a friend or someone you have to call for work makes small talk and asks, “how was your weekend?” You’re not supposed to answer that with, “I woke up stupid early due crippling anxiety, go to sleep feeling resigned to the world around me, and spend the time in-between wanting to feed my emotions because it brings me brief but fleeting moments of satiation.” …

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In 2016, we set out to create something unique in Miami — a Civic User Testing Group conducting grassroots user testing for civic-related websites and mobile applications with citizens from Miami’s diverse communities and neighborhoods.

And for the following sixteen months, we certainly tried our hardest; we started with Miami-Dade County government website, moved to the City of Miami website, and worked on other projects related to transit, referral programs, and public engagement. We’re proud of the accomplishments we made, the contributions we made to civic technology and community engagement.

But with all pilot programs, it was always an open-ended question on how to continue the project past it’s October 2017 project end date, and we never figured out a way to sustain the program in the long-run. So we decided it best to sunset the Miami Civic User Testing Group, at least for now. We have stopped accepting new members to the pool a while ago; per our agreement with the Knight Foundation, we plan on releasing our findings in a digestible, readable format very, very soon. …


Ernie Hsiung

CTO of WhereBy.Us, Code For Miami co-founder, web developer, 2015 Code For America Fellow alum, early 2000s funny-sad blogger.

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