Twitter has compelled me back to blogging and I am psyched to be back: it had been on my mind for some time to return and get back to public longform prose.
For the past half-decade or so, I have been working on two memoirs, various essays, and a few published articles but much of my day-to-day writing has been on social media, especially Twitter. Tweeting with its 280-character-per-post limit, presents the challenge of crafting sharp, sensical, truthful brevity which lends to its own art form: nothing in this modern world beats a perfect tweet. Twitter is also the best platform for sharing news and information with one’s own lean-spined analysis: it’s quick, it’s interactive and it’s no place to hide, except for private accounts, as discourse is as much of the game as self-expression is.
Blogging now allows me, once again, a useful sounding board: a place where I can spitball what I’ve been sharing on Twitter. My critics reprimand me in tweets on my engagement: I am told that I “rant,” that I am “a kook,” so perchance I can exorcise some of my alleged insanity on here instead beyond 280-character chunks.
Initially I had started using Twitter to promote Queens and its events; I went from solely following Long Island City accounts when I first joined in 2009 to then embracing my whole borough and investigating it more in person. As the years passed, I became more involved in social justice issues, especially ones affecting New York City, like the Exonerated 5. In 2015, I started tweet-yelling at Donald Trump: to my friends, I was “crazy” as I never stopped worrying about him being elected in 2016 and it turns out I had reason to be concerned.
But it was Amazon’s announcement in November 2018 to set up half of its HQ2 in Long Island City, my home, which has defined my recent Twitter engagement: my backyard, my borough, justice and politics all entwined in this debacle. Amazon ducked out of its deal in February 2019 but the patina of its exit remains, thick, in this community, we are a neighborhood divided: a tale of two Long Island Cities. This is where I will workshop my side of the story, my perspective. It is quite a story to tell, part Dickensian corporate mystery, part local Hatfield/McCoy soap opera and it is still on-going: right now, the ballots for the recent Queens District Attorney race are being manually counted as Queens remains the center of progressive politics in the country, maybe even in the world.
I look forward to following how the DA race plays out and I will also be sharing my experience of what it has been like being on the front lines of the local Amazon social media discussions (where anyone can thusly be involved if they so desire) and also what kind of organization Amazon is. There is a lot of misinformation out there so it is meaningful to have a platform to flesh out each issue about this company, each consequence, each misstep: more people need to educate themselves on just what Amazon is. I hope to break it down as clearly as I can.