Perhaps it's not really much of a surprise that I share content on the Internet. I have a YouTube channel that I post videos on, playthroughs of hacks and modifications of a twenty-some-year-old video game. No one ever said I have to be uploading all of that. Indeed, five of the six most recent videos on that channel comprise some fifteen and a half hours of video gameplay. And no one ever has to watch any of it, either.
But people do watch it. My videos have been cited probably four times as being a valuable resource to someone else playing the same hacks as me. It baffles me every single time that people might be inclined to use my content as a reference. Certainly I'm not alone in posting what I do; I could name at least a few other players that upload content very similar to mine. So why does it matter that they come to me?
The concept of posting on the Internet is, at its very core, a deeply ingrained urge to show fellow humankind that "hey, I made this!" This is why a lot of the first few major services to become a really popular thing were messaging applications—AOL, MSN, Instant Messenger. It's why Geocities was popular for personal site hosting, because anyone could join the site, maybe shell out a couple dollars a month or a year to have their site be hosted, and then have a little corner on the Internet all to themselves, a little dragon's hoard that others can visit and peer directly into the mind of a site's owner. To create your own website like this is a way of baring one's soul to the prying eye, a shameless window into a person's interests, ideas, hobbies, and so on.
This is what makes posting content so special. No one has to do it, but everyone does it anyway because it gives people satisfaction of knowing someone, somewhere, might eventually see it and enjoy it.
This essay was originally written on August 1, 2023. It was updated on November 8, 2023.