I would like to say ‘thank you’ for the amazing work you have been producing throughout the Offscreen journey. About a year ago, out of frustration, I had decided to give up my PhD programme, but browsing again many of the fascinating human stories in past Offscreen issues was one of the factors that convinced me not to quit and keep going. (The main factor was the that my parents offered to move across Europe for a few months to live closer to my wife, myself and our little daughter and help us take care of the little one so I would focus on my research and writing – showing yet again that basic human support is vital for much of what we do in life).
My dissertation is about stories and struggles of common web users and hackers who try to take back control of internet technologies from big web companies and governments, and who lovingly (and with heartbreaking dedication, given the disparity of powers at play) hack on stuff that adds humanity back into technology. Although this is largely based on my own ethnographic fieldwork, I have drawn incredible inspiration from many of the stories found in my collection of Offscreen magazines – one of the most cherished sections of our bookshelves at home.
I’m now very close to submitting my dissertation – just one month left for final polishing and endless, clenching doubts about how it will be judged by my examiners. But whatever happens, even in the gloomiest scenario of a fail, I’m delighted and proud of what I accomplished this past year, having seen a whole book come to life page by page, day after day from what wasn’t much more than a bunch of random notes and disconnected thoughts just over one year ago. And throughout this journey I felt so much love for the stories of dedication I came across through my own interviews, through the stories in Offscreen, and the many blog posts and inspirational talks by hackers and web folks who increasingly speak out about what makes this work so important for a democratic and open internet.
Your blog posts about the behind-the-scenes of Offscreen and sharing your own fears and doubts have also been important both for my research (some of your thoughts on gender imbalance are cited in my dissertation!) and for my efforts to grow a tiny web agency I started with a dear friend of mine.
Magically these appreciation bombs drop into my inbox whenever I need to hear something positive. There is nothing more I love about my job. Thank you, Andrea!