Over an artisanal, hand-crafted, free-range lunch one day, I took a moment to thank Andy B. I thanked him for a link. Links are very much his stock-in-trade, but there was one in particular that he had shared which stuck in my soul.
It started when he offered a bribe for a good link:
Nidhogg is one of the best local multiplayer games ever. Free Steam code to whoever can show me the best website I’ve never seen before.
— Andy Baio (@waxpancake) July 30, 2015
Paul Thompson won the bounty:
@waxpancake This is my very favourite: tilde.town/~karlen/
— Paul Thompson (@Nossidge) July 30, 2015
The link was to a page on Tilde Town, one of the many old-school web rings set up in the spirit of Paul Ford’s Tilde Club. The owner of this page had taken it upon himself to perform a really interesting — and surprisingly moving — experiment:
- Find blog posts where people have written “no one will ever read this”, and
- Read them aloud.
I’ve written before about how powerful the sound of a human voice can be. There was something about hearing these posts — which were written with a resigned acceptance of indifference — being given the time and respect to be read aloud. I listened to every single one, sometimes bemused, sometimes horrified, always fascinated.
You should listen to all of them too. They deserve it.
One in particular haunted me. It was written in 2008. After listening to it, I had to know more. I felt creepy and voyeuristic, but I transcribed a sentence from the audio file and pasted it in to Google.
That was six years ago. I wonder how things turned out for her. I wonder if life got better for her when she left her teenage years behind. I wonder if she ever found peace.
I hope she’s okay.
This was originally posted on my own site.