My Month in Hell

I never have and never will be big on social media. I don’t really have that look, that joke hit rate, that charisma. But I finally found a comfy little section to live in. Until it was burned down. For the second time.

On January 25th, I thought I had met the man of my dreams–on Tumblr of all places. From that day until May 31st, we talked each and every day. We said we didn’t have time for an LTR thing right now, but I just ignored it and let some feelings develop. We had a romantic weekend in March and I thought it went well. Two months later, I was basically ghosted.

So, feeling like an unfuckable monster, I moped around the net for a bit. Then, I get hit up by a former coworker and all-around great guy, James, to see if I’d like a Blue Sky invite. I knew of the service, of course. Any coworker of mine over the years knows I have an illogical love for Pyra Labs. From Blogger to Odeo, on down. So, I snatch it up.

On June 1st, I hit the BlueSky app.

I start hearing from parts of the app about “What’s Hot Classic” and something called a “Hellthread.” I was intrigued.


So, I dip into the Hellthread feed for a couple of days. Liking some skeets (posts, for future reference) here and there. Then I see a Lewdtual Aid post chain, where you show some skin to try and boost asks for people in need. This particular section of the chain was a cuddly edition. And I actually had a pic I didn’t hate that looked cuddly I had sent Tumblr boy a few months earlier.

I copy and paste the info, attach the photo, and… That was my entry into Hellthread. Instantly, my notifications broke. The app which barely functions on Android, became nigh unusable.

The smidge of positive feedback I got went a long way and encouraged me to stick around. I interacted a bit and then muted the thread. But it kept drawing me back. Chaotic energy. But one that is almost all unabashed hype machine.

A few people kept getting into spats. But that is just kinda group dynamics for you.

What solidified things for me was when a person in the thread posted a lewd photo of themselves and a creepy dude just would not let up. A user named Kana swoops in and starts going on about this creepy guy’s shittable beard. And then more users join in. Until the creep fucking retreats. Like magic.

Listen. I’m the kind of person who sobs at genuine acts of kindness. In a movie if someone is just really fucking nice? I’m sobbing. Read into that what you want.

But, in this moment of utter chaos with people telling this man how shittable his beard was, I choked up in the same way.

Personalities start to arise around the thread the more I get used to people and their little avatars. Any distinct personality type you could make fun of a millennial for having is there. And in the best way possible.

There are some awesome people who stand out to me. A couple of globe trotters. A UK contingent that’s close to my heart. One of the coolest counselors I’ve ever run into. A badass stoner on a stoop. A bee, a blossom, a Jay. And a guy who I think is so cool it’s hard to envision why he’s always my most-interacted-with account.

Jokes were made. Fights were had. But mostly, we vibes and boosted each other up while doing dumb spur-of-the-moment photo challenges and creating deep lore-based inside jokes.

The first fight I witnessed was when someone commented too thirstily on an ace person’s post. Fair.

The second fight ended with the author of the original post Hellthread all lived under rage-deleting it in the hope it would kill the thread after her friend came out of nowhere to defend an app dev from someone asking him to post dick in a half-joking manner.

In reality, it was just extending an existing beef from a week prior. But with the added visibility, more people dog-piled and ignored that first part. Ending with the great deletion–when the author of the first post in Hellthread deleted it.

The great deletion did shit all, by the way. Ends up there is only one surefire way to kill the thread: unbless it. Though, I have a feeling in hindsight the lead dev, Paul, really wanted this to actually kill it.

Further spats happened, and depending on who you are you view them as big or small. People have spats, I grew up in a large southern family–I could take it. I respect the people that left or blocked and their reasoning. But, I had the most drama-prone mother on the planet. 

Paul, the lead dev on BlueSky, started his latest heel turnaround this time. He’s truly a shithead too flippant to be the public face of anything. Banning suicidal ideation posts. Possibly preventing people from getting the help they’re shouting for. (I was once one of those people, too).

But, each time there was a spat or infiltration by a shittable beard, the thread took a hard swing back toward light, positivity, and titties. I remember waking up after a shittable beard incredibly motivated to get some peep’s mutual aid goals met. Sometimes, the best way to fight adversity in your life is to say “fuck it!” and do something positive. 

July 5th: Un-dependence Day

I woke up around 7 AM on July 5th. I drink some water, and start to get ready for the–nope.

Nope, about one pill in I go “Oh no” in the way Maya Rudolph did in Bridesmaids. I head downstairs. My housemate/former stepdad is in the bathroom showering for work.

Oh, God. Oh no. Oh, God.

The longest 10 minutes of my life pass. 

And then the floodgates open. And they would not close until roughly 7 pm when I managed to keep down a Phenergan. In my fevered state,  I would check on in Hellthread between bouts in the bathroom.

Not too much going on. I did miss a few thirst traps that I would have loved to boost in real-time but instead had to creepily comment something like “Ugh, so hot…” 2 hours late while my head is resting on my toilet seat. 

Once the anti-nausea meds hit, I’m out for 13 hours.

8 AM, July 6th

I open my phone. After checking my email and messages, I open BlueSky to find that all my notifications stopped 10 hours prior. 

The next thing I see is Paul joking about nuking the Hellthread. Comparing it to a global leader saying “I thought that compound was military but it was civilian” or some shit. Again, play with the kids or lead. Don’t try both, you fucking asshole.

A lot of people are ragging on Paul a bit. But, with the suicide stuff, I kinda just listened to him when he told me who he was the first time. Tech bros will always tech bro eventually. 

The best feature of the app (OK, maybe right under portable ID), is tossed out with little warning. And the thread is still there, it’s just laggy, delayed, and in a spot on the Android app that never works well*. For all intents and purposes, Hellthread 2, is dead. 

(Oh, yeah, this wasn’t even the first Hellthread death.)

I go to the Hellthread feed on BlueSky. Even it is a little dead. Most of us haven’t figured out how to get there just yet. We were used to using our notifications as a glorified chat room. Not the intended use of the app, but, I would like to point this out: it was blessed.

The Hellthread was given a special exemption. And as such, we had the expectation that this exemption would remain until at least some debate and warning happened. 

Once again, play with the kids too much and we’ll actually believe the lie that you care about our opinions. 

The way it was “killed” was by simply unblessing it and letting the default limit of 6 replies set in and having people only get those from directly downstream and not all over. 

I had a lot of followers on Tumblr back in the day and even found out a good chunk of people at UGA knew of me from my giant parties and would follow me on there. But, the interaction was minimal. 

I didn’t really get much from it except for the time a follower made me the ringtone snippet of “Fuck the Pain Away” as used on 30 Rock. Although I will admit, that was amazing. 

With Hellthread (BlueSky, yeah, but mainly Hellthread) I was on a social platform and didn’t really care about follower count. It was all about building something, vibing, and having some community time. 

Oddly, that actually translated to the fasted gain in followers I’ve ever experienced on a platform. I guess authenticity sells or something, IDK. That and I would periodically post some lewds for the Brazilian Supercluster (Eu amo todos vocês!).

I’m sure you’re all doing wanking motions in the air now at my emotional waxing about a thread full of jokes, Mutual Aid, boobs, and–occasionally–an avalanche of dicks. But, it was an important experience for me.

So, some personal stuff about me. I’ve been through some shit. Not as bad as some, don’t get me wrong. But I ended up in a place where I kinda hate myself? Not just physically. I mean, like, all of me? It’s not all the time. But, it’s also led to me basically not having any trust in anyone. Each time I think I’m building back, like with the Tumblr guy, I get stuck back down.

Don’t pity me, I don’t. It’s just a continuous work in progress. At least my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from back in the day gave me the tools to not go off the deep end nearly as much. And I’m grateful for that. 

I just kinda forgot what friends–even the semi-parasocial acquaintance type–could feel like. And it felt kinda good. If I were 2011 me, I’d be trying to organize a massive fete of some sort to commemorate things. An “I Survived Hellthread 2.0” bonfire or something. 

I’ll post a thing and people seem to at least cursorily care and interact. Little hits of dopamine in a world obsessed with violence. 

And I’m just on the outskirts, by the way. I’m not in whatever central grouping there is. I’m not in whatever clique you might think from the outside or even after reading this article. I’ve spoken one-on-one outside of HT with exactly one person I met in Hellthread. I was just a parasocial acquaintance and I could still feel the love and the vibes and the rizz. 

I even got my own couple of reply guys during a few dick avalanches (to toot my own horn). And my pics aren’t even that creative. The dick is just pretty. Not big, just pretty. 

And that’s the other thing. Sharing yourself. The intimate bits you hate? I do that here on Tumblr, but it somehow hits differently when the popular Twitter Gay who ignored you on that platform for YEARS likes a dick pic?

Honestly, though? The thirst is nothing. 

When I was a teen, I was in the audience for the one-act competition. The school was having the world’s longest blackout and I lean forward and whisper to my cast mates, “I love this play, it’s called Black Beauty.” What a dumb fucking joke. But everyone cracked up. That was the craic. And that’s the energy you get in Hellthread. We WILL laugh at your dumb joke for FAR TOO LONG.

Rest in Peace, Hellthread 2.0

*Swiping feeds on Android will open the post under your finger from the previous page about 5/10 times. And then the app is so laggy in general that it takes forever to catch up.  

what a hell