I’ve broken out the space heater the last two nights.
Last year, as a rookie Floridian, I was unprepared. Most homes here in the last free state are unequipped for the cold that comes a day or two every winter. My Haitian neighbor (also new here) and I bundled up like Spongebob to take trash to the curb. I stood over the electric stove for a warm reprieve.
As I’ve come to understand, dads everywhere are actually correct: it’s the humidity that gets you. The same quality in the air making heat hotter also makes the cold colder.
This answers why 50°F here chills me to the bone, while at home I would casually take the dog out with no jacket or shoes—in the snow. We typically experience humidity working in one direction, but it’s just as capable at cutting in the other.
Oddly, it reminds me of the internet—specifically, social algorithms.
By virtue of rewarding the media most appealing to the widest audience, platforms de-amplify whatever doesn’t fit in that category. This isn’t (generally) censorship; it’s the same force that gifts you an audience throttling you when your sandwich pic just doesn’t cut the mustard.
I experienced this intimately working in communications and social media. Our most important messages generally spread the least—because they weren’t part of the program. We learned the posts that got the most engagement, and we knew not to bother working outside of the lines. This force is what causes us all to slowly sound and look the same.
Look, I’m no internet hater. I break boundaries with my screentime report that were previously thought unattainable.
But we all feel like it’s making us a little dumber.
In politics, are we better off? In education? There’s a sense that, collectively, we’re slowly unraveling at the seams.
And that’s because we need a broader intake than just the immediately satisfying. Sometimes you need a differing view. You need the leafy greens. Sometimes what you need is not even better—just dissimilar.
That’s ultimately why I fell in love with the concept of this newsletter. One hundred percent of what I write is sent straight to your inbox. I do write to please you, the audience. But I don’t have to dance for engagement or chase the algorithm.
But it cuts both ways. I’m not bound to Instagram’s constraints, but I don’t get their audience either. Start a newsletter and you’ll find out exactly what you’re worth. No one’s coming who doesn’t want to be here.
I’m not deleting TikTok anytime soon. I’m not suggesting you do, either. I don’t think that genie is going back in the bottle (though a ban seems increasingly plausible).
What I am suggesting—albeit selfishly—is that there’s also a place for self-regulated intake. Take back some control. Engage with interesting media that you find, not just media that finds you.
In the toughest moments of my life, I’ve never found help in reinforcing the same. It’s seeing a matter differently that’s made the difference. That’s what I seek out from others, and it’s what I hope to create, too.
So this is my manifesto. As I spend my final 16 weeks in the sunshine state (updates below), I’m going all in here. You’ll see me sending out more posts—still on Monday mornings, but now weekly.
I’m building the newsletter, but your help is exponential in building the audience. If you ever find something I write interesting or valuable, consider sharing it with a friend. We’re growing every week, and I can’t wait to see where we’re headed.
This is me at the beach yesterday. It was cold. I recorded an Instagram reel that probably won’t see the light of day (left) and saw some dolphins (right, hardly visible).
This is the part where I say, “A lot of people have been asking me…” but let’s be honest. No one has a lot of people asking them anything.
For the last two years, I’ve essentially been split between Florida and Ohio—finishing a degree down south and working my job up north remotely.
As I eye the end of my undergrad, the timing felt right to push out into something new. In December was my last day at my job of ten years.
In 2022, you might have seen me:
Writing is the lane that I’m working to carve out for myself. The music and podcast aren’t going anywhere, but building this newsletter is my initiative for 2023.
I’ll be working hard to put out words that are thoughtful if not opaque. And we’re making the jump from biweekly to weekly posts.
week 1: essay
week 2: poem
week 3: essay
week 4: the links (monthly roundup)
For now, everything I’m working on is free. There’s a size where this newsletter becomes financially viable, both to me and to book publishers.😉
But I’m not there yet. If you’d like to support, truly the best way is to help us grow by subscribing and sharing.
If you read this far—I’m impressed.
Thanks for reading As It Were! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Good stuff, Tim!
We lived in Florida for a year and found that THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME TOTO !!! We also read it all. Great Job Tim !!!