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A Public Letter to Four Islanders

This is going to be kind of a personal post, and really, I'm not sure how else to contact all of my old friends together. I'm not even sure if everyone still checks Four Island. Regardless, I've been doing a lot of thinking and it's come to my attention that as Four Island decreased in usage from 2009 onward, my depression increased. When The Fourm stopped being frequented altogether in 2011, which kind of corresponded with some negative real life events, things got worse, and then by 2012 I had joined Tumblr and things continued to decline.

The thing is, I never realized this before but Four Island isn't a blog. It isn't a professional website. All of the work I've been stressing over for years in making Four Island professional and using Wordpress and all of this stuff is counterproductive to the point of Four Island. Four Island always was two things to me. First, it was a project. Rewriting Four Island completely to create Four Island 3 would be a joyful and fulfilling activity, especially if I insisted on implementing all of the insane ideas I had for it. The thing is, I always laughed at myself for thinking that those ideas were sensible, but I completely missed the fact that Four Island is not a professional website, it is a connection to my friends, and therefore things like FourChat make sense.

Second, it was a safe place. Lacking many real life friends, many teenagers turn to online communities, and it just happens to have turned out that I created one before being forced to leave my friends in Australia. I don't know exactly what's happened over the last few years, but I can assume that it's a standard case of distance-separated friends drifting apart. At this point, Drifty is the only one of my friends I even occasionally talk to anymore, and things are kind of tense between us because of some things I've done. It's the usual tragedy of growing up, except for me, it had other effects. Because Four Island ceased to be a community where I could hang out, I eventually turned to another community, Tumblr, to fulfill my need for involvement with other people. However, these people are unknowns, they are strangers, and they are mentally ill. Tumblr is not a safe place. Tumblr fostered the development of my depression and my anxiety. This is of course not to say that I wouldn't be depressed if I hadn't gone on Tumblr, but I think I can safely say that if I were still close with my Australian friends, and if we still hung out on Four Island, and I was still tweaking away at my code and adding useless stuff that no one cared about and people commented on my blog posts and we talked enough to actually have things to quote, I don't think I'd be where I am right now.

At this point, I don't really know what to do. All of my old friends have moved on to different communities and have made other friends, and I don't have any friends left that I'm close enough to form a community with. I feel like this post has an accusatory tone associated with it and I apologize for that: I don't blame anyone for my descent into depression and in fact I thank you all for helping me stay connected for so long, even though we eventually broke apart. I think the real truth is that I should shut down Four Island. It has no function anymore. I'll never delete the data, but Four Island has lived a rich, full life and whether or not I realized it at the time, it served its purpose. With regards to where I will go communitywise, I do not know. I don't know if I could create another community with people at Carnegie Mellon, especially because while I love my new friend, I think she's too cool for me. I'm afraid that I can't have that same connection that I had with Shaun when I first showed him my website and somehow, a community grew out of it. She's not as desperate for friendship as we six teenagers in Australia were.

I'll drift. I don't know where I'll end up in the end. But I thank you for making the golden age of Four Island the best time it possibly could have been. I wish you joy in your new communities. Goodbye.

Hatkirby on December 30th, 2012 at 6:39:58pm
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