Wanted to let people know that while I'll continue to be hanging around here like I've always been, I'll be taking a (small) job at the Internet Archive being the support person and the user/tech liaison for Open Library
posted by jessamyn to MetaFilter-Related at 7:41 AM (255 comments total)
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This is a job that, like most great jobs, came out of doing what I enjoy which is helping people learn to use technology. At the end of 2012 MeFi had its first inklings that we might have reached Peak Ad and there was some belt-tightening talk and concerns about the future. When Aaron Swartz died in early 2013, I decided that I should use some of my extra time committing myself to the general Free Culture movement that I give so much lip service to here. I volunteered at the Archive helping keep the ghost ship that was Open Library (a project that he started) afloat. When I'd put in a year there, 7000 emails later, I told them they should probably hire a person to do this job. That person turned out to be me.
I've always loved this job at MeFi so much that you could probably pay me in sand, but it's been helpful to some of my other pursuits that it didn't. Having a steady, supportive and intellectually engaging workplace has made it possible for me to help people in my local community learn about technology (at low to no cost) and travel to other places and spread the word about Fair Use and Open Source and the digital divide so that other libraries could help their communities. I was able to move to and stay in Vermont, a place where I fit in as well as I've ever fit in anywhere except maybe here, a place where my neighbors have never had much of an idea what I do for a living.
I will miss working here. I will miss my nearly-daily bullshit-and-lulz sessions with cortex, my internet brother. I'll miss the deft hand and gentle manner of pb the nicest guy with root access to the servers that you will ever meet. I'll miss taz's friendly words on Thursday mornings (my one "morning" shift at 10 am) when she tells me what's been up in the US overnight and signs off with x's and o's. I'll miss restless_nomad's always-professional advice and reminders that moderating isn't always about reinventing the wheel. Bringing her on staff was the step towards professionalism (when she said "I want a schedule if I'm going to work here" and we said "Huh, okay...") that the site badly needed.
I expect to maintain my rambling chats with LobsterMitten about this and that and we've made plans to try to have them in person near a beach somewhere this summer. Seeing how well she and gnfti took to moderating--LM with her excellent needle-threading mod notes and deliberate and kind manner, gnfti with his scrupulous attention to detail and very open and welcoming way with even the most challenging or confused users (in not his first language even!)--made me get over myself a little and realize that a post-Jessamyn MeFi would be okay, maybe a lot better than okay. And with mathowie, who I met at SXSW in 2000 after being internet-friends before that, I will miss being part of building this great thing together. And I look forward to many more podcasts discussing haircut anxiety with him in the future.
I know it's a bumpy and uncertain time. I think things are going to be okay. I've learned so much and enjoyed my time here so much, I'm sort of excited to get to experience MeFi as a user again. Thanks to everyone, for everything, and I'll keep seeing you at the meetups (and AskMe, and MeFi, and IRL and FanFare and I swear I'll get back to Music one of these days). <3