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Touching grass in 3, 2, 1...

Hey everyone, welcome to Touch Grass, a weekly-ish newsletter that will update you on the internet’s knottiest problems while exploring the junctions of the online and offline worlds. I’m Anna, a writer and artist working at the digital rights group Fight for the Future.

By subscribing, you’ll get news, analysis, and interviews in your inbox. But overall, I’ll be treating this like a laboratory where internet-focused activists can experiment with new ideas. And, as the name suggests, a central focus will be on connecting digital issues to life outside the screen.

I’ll be shepherding this along, but it’s really a group project. You’ll hear from people like Lia about copyleft and Web3, Sarah about fan culture and reproductive justice, and Evan about just about everything.

Why this?

We’re starting a newsletter for a couple reasons. First, keeping tabs on the internet, technology, and tech policy exposes us to a lot more interesting stuff than we could possibly keep up with. A medium like this, that’s more longform and sequential, gives us the space to speculate publicly with more leeway and different stakes.

Second, the 2010s internet is sort of… imploding. It doesn’t make sense to protect our corner of Twitter when the ground’s falling out from under it. Our email list is great, but it’s not a good place to carry on a conversation. A newsletter’s not perfect, but it’s a pretty good thing for assembling a relatively platform-agnostic throughline.

Finally, we want to be able to talk to you! Brainstorming is a lot more fun with more people, and this platform’s got some good tools for getting in touch. For the first time in my life, I get to really say it: “LIKE, COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE!”

Who is this?

Depending on how you got here, maybe you know about Fight, maybe not. We’re an 11-year-old nonprofit that fights for technology for liberation, not oppression. That means we want more free speech online, protection from surveillance, and the right to make and use new tech tools. You can read more about Fight’s projects here.

I joined the team a little over a year ago. For a while, I was heading up our fast-twitch campaign responses to things like palm scanning at Panera and an endless stream of bad internet bills. Now I’m going back to school and making writing a bigger part of my life.

I think writing’s one of the most difficult things in the world, but it’s also kind of like magic. Contrasting clean LLM offgas with the bloated, strikethrough-riddled pages I blindly piece together makes me appreciate it all the more. I’m so excited to use this strange, imperfect tool to share our collective thinking with you. See you very soon!

Color photograph of a tabby cat inspecting a catnip bush in a garden
Leroy touching not-quite grass