“If I were a website, introversion.com would be me.”
– Jay Kaslo
Perhaps you’re wondering what exactly Introversion is.
Is it a blog? Diary? Portfolio? Lifestyle brand? Experimental art?
The answer is of course, yes.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away called San Francisco, I started the introversion.com project. Because there aren’t really “seasons” in California, I felt like days and weeks and months were just amalgamating into a cosmic nothingness (queue NIN “Every Day is Exactly the Same”). I wondered where all the time was going and what I was doing with my life. Was I on a path to happiness or just aimlessly drifting? Hence I wanted to start documenting my life on a daily basis in order to track my spiritual, emotional, psychological, professional, creative, social, and romantic progress (or lack thereof).
Although I could’ve just jotted down notes in a private diary on my bedside table, I wanted to document my life publicly, since I felt this new endeavor could not only be therapeutic for me, but perhaps others would relate to what I was experiencing. Also I thought introversion.com could be a means of (quickly) connecting with people online on a deep, non-superficial level. I really needed that level of connection in my life, since I was new to San Francisco and quite lonely… just a few work/church acquaintances and zero dating life. (Bear in mind, at the time there were no dating apps [or apps at all!], no social media, etc. so options for shy introverts to connect with new people were limited.)
So the stage was set for introversion.com. I had the perfect domain, the desire to document my days, and the longing to connect with individuals online who were curious to know me and watch my life’s story unfold. The final variable was… format. I had tried (and failed) doing traditional blogging a couple times already. The problem was… I HATE TO WRITE. Writing always felt like drudgery to me (and still does to this day)… spending hours and hours rewriting a couple paragraphs to effectively/concisely convey a few points I wanted to make. If I was just going to write text posts as every other blogger was doing… this would never work.
Lo and behold… a new web technology by Macromedia called Flash emerged. I had already started learning it at work, so I figured what better way to master the program than to diligently create a little Flash piece every day. It was the perfect trifecta. By posting daily Flash entries on introversion.com, I could successfully document my life (for my own peace of mind), connect with people online (assuming they cared about what I was publishing), AND refine my technical and design skills… win, win, win. And the project would be sustainable for the long term, since it was less about writing and more about drawing, photography, audio, video, design, animation, and interactivity… all of which were things I loved and had a keen knack for doing.
On February 1, 2001, I created the very first Introversion entry… and the rest was history. The Introversion project checked all 3 of my aforementioned boxes, and then some… as it led to speaking engagements, graphic titles for Digital Vision / Getty Images, new client work, publications, awards, features, interviews, and on and on. I was thrilled with the project’s success over the years… as I transitioned from life in San Francisco to Virginia and then on to New York City.
The end of an era
The Introversion project had a great run from 2001-2009, but those last couple years it was tough to keep it going… for 3 key reasons. When I began the project, there was no such thing as Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube. There were essentially only blogging platforms/networks (like Blogger, TypePad, Xanga, etc.) or websites of independent creators (like mine). Although there were several blogs out there, mine was one of the few that offered up audio/visual storytelling, so it stood out. But after the onset of social media in the late 2000s / early 2010s, literally everyone and their grandmother was posting photos & videos to Facebook, YouTube, etc., so what I had been doing with Introversion began to recede into the background.
The 2nd factor was the emergence of smart phones… specifically, the iPhone. On the one hand, I was elated to use my very first iPhone… indeed it was an introvert’s best friend (you could be at a loud obnoxious party where you didn’t know anyone, and still be able to comfortably slink into a quiet corner to message with friends, browse online, whatever). I loved my first iPhone and I’m still in love (now with my iPhone 11 Pro Max), but thing is, Steve Jobs was never a fan of Flash, so if you were creating Flash content (as I was back then), sucks to be you, since your content would never be viewable to mobile phone users, which as we all know… eventually became *everyone*.
The 3rd factor was all about me and what was going in my life. Unlike my 2 years in San Francisco where I had loads of free time due to virtually zero social life, once I moved to NYC my life started flourishing on a number of levels (professionally, socially, romantically, etc.) I was so busy living life that there just wasn’t enough time to document it on a daily basis with rich-media Introversion entries. I tried, but I didn’t have sufficient time to figure out a thorough solution to the aforementioned problems of social media & Flash being dead on mobile phones, so I put introversion.com on hiatus in 2010. I deemed it a 10 year project… one that brought me a lot of joy and satisfaction, and touched a lot of lives as well. I was glad for that, but it was time for me to move on in life… without Introversion.
it was the best of times, it became the worst of times
Internet culture completely evolved in the 2010s. At first I loved social media, because these burgeoning platforms provided a means to connect with others: forging new friendships with strangers (on Twitter) and going deeper with friends you already knew (on Facebook). Whenever I posted something, people would actually see it… and respond, whether with likes or comments. It felt good. Wasn’t about making money or landing brand deals or paying for marketing or anything like that… it was just people… connecting with other people… and it was a thing of beauty.
But to quote Obi-Wan, this was “before the dark times, before the empire.” In the last few years we’ve seen what’s really going on… basically how these companies horde all our personal data to profit off us… how at the end of the day these social media platforms were just eavesdropping on our conversations and observing our every move in order to sell us shit. It wasn’t about people forging new friendships and deepening existing relationships. If social media was really making our lives better, then why were suicide rates on the rise? Just look at all the studies linking social media usage with depression.
Although social media had so much promise, I’m over it. At best I can call it a necessary evil, but it’s something I’d rather do without as I move forward in the 2020s. I’ve grown tired of jumping through incessantly changing hoops… not being able to broach certain subjects or use certain language, always tip-toeing around copyright strikes and community guidelines violations, afraid to post this or that out of fear of being demonetized or deplatformed.
So… I’ve essentially deplatformed myself and replatformed myself on introversion.com. I have creative control again… and it feels great.
The Return of Introversion
In a lot of ways I’ve come full circle this past couple decades. When I started Introversion in 2001, I was a shy Northwestern alumnus brand new to San Francisco. I needed a proper creative outlet and was seeking genuine, non-superficial camaraderie even if it was only online. And now here I am in 2020, brand new to Philadelphia… not-so-shy any more, but perhaps more introverted than ever, living a rather solitary life… once again desiring a proper creative outlet and connection with a few eclectic souls out there who enjoy examining life, thinking for themselves, and coming to their own conclusions about everything from politics and religion to technology and relationships and beyond.
Whether you’re an old fan or brand new to the Introversion experience, I invite you to join me in the 2020 Introversion reboot. I’ve set up web notifications, so be sure to click yes to get notified of new entries. You can also kick it old school by simply bookmarking the site in your browser and checking back daily… Command+D (on a mac), Control+D (on a pc). Additionally you can follow me on Twitter ( @jaykaslo ) and Instagram ( @jaykaslo ) as I may post notifications of new Introversion entries there. Oh and last but not least, THE INTROVERSION MAILING LIST. I most likely won’t be sending out emails daily for new posts, but I may send out some bonus content perhaps once or twice a month. Plenty of options for you to enjoy the Introversion experience.
Feel free to reach out via the contact form if you have comments or questions about anything.