“Very Online” is officially online!

Time to play. (Photo by Federico Beccari on Unsplash)

Hey there. Welcome to Very Online!

If you’re reading this, it means you have agreed to support my latest adventure in online bandwagon-jumping. Either you’re a close friend and subscribed to this newsletter because I asked you to; or you’re a total stranger who ended up here via my website or social media posts, and subscribed because you’re curious or bored or gossipy or stalking/lurking.

Whatever your reason, I’m sure you have questions.

#1: You made a newsletter? Why?

Yes, I know this newsletter could become just another “Unread” item in your inbox. But hear me out.

I want to keep in touch and reconnect with people – but without the endless noise, bragging/flexing, and general idiocy on social media.

I also love that I can allow or ban comments here. That means there won’t be any toxic random folks spewing fake news, supporting murderous dictator families, red-tagging people who dare have different opinions… Should I go on?

Plus I hate video calls, and I’m not that into attending online events via Facebook Live.

Look, I hate people in general, OK? #sorrynotsorry

It’s also about choice. On social media, we’re pressured to keep some people we don’t like as online friends; and it’s a hassle to make separate friend groups or mute and unfollow and block. With email newsletters, I can choose what to write about and how, then leave it as it is. The same goes for you: you can choose to subscribe, read or unsubscribe without stressing out about it or hurting my feelings.

Second, I’m currently on an extended work break save a few book-editing projects. This not-a-vacation is due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also several serious and ongoing health issues. That’s a long time spent lying low, especially in freelance and remote work. In my industry, taking time off, even for just a few weeks, can cost you dearly. And I’m not just talking about money.

In the meantime, and in between personal projects, I want to upskill and try out new things. I haven’t created or maintained a newsletter before, so maybe now’s the right time.

Personal newsletters can also help me with writing and self-promotion when my writing skills are rusty and I’m super-averse to self-promotion.

#2: Why name it Very Online?

Because I’m online a lot. Like, a lot.

I mostly write for digital publications now, because print is dying a very slow death in the Philippines. I secure work and side projects online. My portfolio’s online; and I keep a blog about books, creative writing, book publishing, and book editing.

My online life isn’t just for work. I use social media all the time and stream plenty of TV shows and movies per month. And (no) thanks to COVID-19, everything else has gone online too – from classes and workshops/seminars to reunions, weddings, “e-numans” or online drinking sessions, and even travel and home tours.

Basically, I don’t know what to do with myself if/when I’m offline. I draw the line at TikTok, though. 

I didn’t come up with the phrase, BTW. “Very online” is also a reference to this 2019 New Yorker article, as well as the Extremely Online phenomenon.

#3: What’s this newsletter about?

Right now, I’m thinking it can be a monthly or twice-monthly thing about a bunch of things. Like lists of longform articles and videos I like a lot, observations on the digital life and economy, and some important life and work updates.

Maybe it can also show excerpts of works in progress – like a nonfiction/essay collection I have been working on since 2019, and a science-fiction novel I originally wrote in 2017 as a (hilariously melodramatic) full-length screenplay.

TL;DR: It’s about whatever I want it to be, whenever I feel like it. Just like a blog, only it goes straight to your email inbox for that one-on-one feel.

#4: What will it cost me?

Nothing! It’s 100% free. Maybe you’ll get annoyed and unsubscribe, in which case I would take just a slice of your patience and time.

So there. Thank you for playing, and I hope I can make this newsletter worth your while for as long as it lasts.

“Lieutenant DAAAANNNNN!!!”

Heyyy 👋

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