It happens sometimes. I do web work and other kinds of tech support for community organizations, some of whom I work with outside of paid work. Working at this intersection of technology, my activism and my communities means I get shaken up at unexpected times.
Today I was working on a plan for a new website for the Audre Lorde Project, an organization I've worked with both professionally and politically for more than a decade now. I was checking out their site analytics to get a sense of what their site traffic might indicate about who's coming to the site, and for what.
I pulled up a report of their site traffic over the past year and saw two huge spikes. I started looking into the first one. I got real nerdy excited over the rapid increase in traffic, jotting down some notes:
March 30 - 127 visits
March 31 - 340
April 1 - 1167
April 2 - 1586
April 3 - 634
April 4 - 244
tapers off from there
Next, of course, I had to see what was generating all that traffic, what was getting hit and why.
At the top of list of pages sorted by unique page views, I saw this URL:
I felt physically jolted, a little winded. I suddenly realized what I was seeing: the massive flood of people to Breaking Isolation: Self Care and Community Care Tools for our People, a resource that ALP posted after Taueret Davis, a community member I'd known of for years, a dear friend to many dear friends, committed suicide. So many of my friends, fellow queers, community members were amongst the unique visitors generating all of those page views. I was responsible for at least one of those page views.
I alt-tabbed to the work timer I had running and stopped the clock. I couldn't just work past this. It brought up a barrage of memories and feelings, not only about Taueret's death but about the other suicides we survivors have lived through this past year.
As I'm wont to do, I turned outward. Talked to my coworkers about it, a few of whom were similarly impacted by Taueret's death. Tweeted about it. Wrote this.
After I'd expressed the contents of my head and my heart enough to keep going, I returned to work, now with even stronger inspiration for the work, plus a suddenly deepened understanding of why it's so important to make sure that URLs don't break when sites are upgraded.
http://alp.org/breaking-isolation-self-care-and-community-care-tools-our-people can never, ever break.
Sumana HarihareswaraTue, 03/29/2016 - 12:29pm
Thanks for writing about this. I've had some similar experiences. It's tough in a pretty specific way. My sympathies to you.