And Justin Hall, an early web inspiration to me, bows out:
…For 11 years, Justin Hall was dedicated to documenting his life online. Composing more than 4,800 pages from nearly a decade of constant writing, which he posted on his site, www.links.net, Hall became a pioneer among online diarists and Web loggers.
…While thousands of people start and stop blogs every day, Hall’s presence on the Internet has been a constant. If he can’t keep his faith in the connective powers of online communication, who can?
…”What if intimacy happens in quiet moments?” he said. “I think the Web makes me not alone and I feed it my intimacies, and the Web is my constant connection to something larger than myself … but what if something you do, something you practice like religion as a dialogue with the divine, drives people away from you?”
Hall’s dramatic statement fits the scale of his endeavor. He was one of the most committed advocates for the bonding powers of interactive, Web-based writings. But now, his sudden expression of doubt over the Internet’s ability to foster intimacy marks a huge change in attitude from the one expressed in work over the past decade and shows that his philosophy may be evolving with the medium in which he works.
As the Internet grew from a hobby for a few idealistic nerds to an integral, constantly evolving fact of everyday life, Hall was there to chart his progress alongside it, from college student to employed adult. Perhaps his crisis is a simple byproduct of age — Hall recently turned 30. Or maybe he has grown disenchanted with a once-revolutionary method of communication becoming a march to the mundane.