So I still log into Gaia, but I find I have less and less to say.
Announcements. Several of them. Every day. They're all selling s**t. I can't remember the last time I gave Gaia money.
I remember when I chipped in with some friends and we sent a Harry and David care package to Gaia's office.
I remember arguing with fellow oldbies about how they were looking at "Old Gaia" with rose-tinted glasses. That the site kept getting better and better. That the games, then the new games, then the various other money-making options just made the site better and better.
I used to be excited over Donation Letters. Then "Monthly Collectibles." I was thrilled with the idea for Evolving Items. Events were followed with bated breath. The drama and adventure felt personal. I bought a real Kiki Kitty plush for my friend when the shop opened, the merchandise seemed like Gaia was finally hitting its stride.
Then I look at Gaia of the past few months. I remember how passionately I defended this site. How much I looked forward to watching Gaia continue to grow and prosper.
What ... what is this bullshit? What is this, logging in every day to a new Announcement notification, and it's always "Buy this!" "Give us money."
Now, I know people have shouted "omg cash grab" a million times in the past. But this? How could it be anything else?
Why do I log in anymore?
Why does it feel like New!Gaia is determined to drive me away, to make me stop caring? Whenever I peek at the forums, I see people feeling alienated. Feeling exploited. Feeling like if they don't spend money on this site for virtual items, that they aren't valued?
I feel some urge to make a "dramatic gesture." To, I don't know, do something with ten years of being a Gaia Packrat. Buy art, maybe. But of what? A Gaia character I no longer care about? Of original characters that I've essentially abandoned?
The little hoarder voice in me refuses to just outright give s**t away, even to people I like. "What if the site turns around and things get better? What if you want to come back?"
I hate you, little voice.
So here I am in a stalemate. What is keeping me on Gaia these days? Nostalgia and because once I am gone, I can't take anything with me, except memories.
Hell, I wish I could just up and sell my s**t for real money. I wish that was a thing they allowed. Gaia sold Mini Wings for something like $99-150 just a month ago. What could I get, theoretically, for an authentic 2003 set?
I guess there's no intrinsic value to the wings being older, though. No intrinsic value to anything on this site. They're pixels and data and they were only ever mine because I used virtual currency to buy them on this account many years ago.
So anyways, I'll think up something. Maybe I'll figure out what kind of art I'd like to take with me into the rest of the internet.