Tomorrow is the launch of The Learned Fangirl‘s new design and a big announcement. It’s funny because this time last year I was moving in the direction of taking a FT job that I loved but consumed so much of my time and physical energy that it ultimately pushed off a lot of what I wanted to with TLF for about a year. I don’t regret it at all because I am still so proud of JSTOR Daily and learned a lot from my time at JSTOR that I eventually took back to TLF. I honestly don’t think I’d be able to do what I am doing now with TLF if I had not had the experience there.
Today I taught a class at Public Narrative on Google Analytics and that was a bit of a throwback too. It was the first GA class I had taught in over a year and it was at the place I taught my very first GA class – back when Public Narrative was called Community Media Workshop. So it’s like things are changing, and yet not, because it’s more like doubling down on the things I’ve always felt were my strengths in the first place: create and teach about digital media.
The whole party line these days, especially in regards to digital media, is “follow your passion and the money/work will come” and generally I think that’s BS. A lot of the people who talk about “following their passion” in startup spaces neglect to mention that they also have access to networks with a lot of venture capital to invest in their passions so it’s a lot easier to do. And I don’t know many people who have committed fully to their passions who don’t give up lot of themselves in return.
So, no I don’t exactly follow that party line, but I do believe the more you walk firmly in the direction of the work you are meant to do, the more other distractions fall away and you can realize more of that work. And that’s been where I’ve been going in the past couple of months. And even while dealing with my stupid eye problem, making the decision to move more firmly towards teaching and doing TLF and a lot of the writing I’m most interested in has coalesced a career that long seemed disconnected. Now, the push towards the “gig economy,” especially in digital, is forcing people to create opportunities for themselves, perhaps not in ways they anticipate. But in many ways, I am still an optimist, and I see how digital has allowed many people to build the careers that would have otherwise not been given to them, had they waited. And especially when it comes to issues of diversity and hiring in digital, I think digital does empower people to create spaces of inclusion within certain careers without having to wait for permission. And that is why I always come back to teaching and to TLF/writing and still find a lot of joy in this work. Today was a reminder of that.