Sunday, February 10, 2008

Messages in a Bottle

In an extrememly snarky e-mail to me (re: the Dear Dave post, so I suppose I ought to have expected that!) Dave made the remark about my blog... something along the lines of "why you want to publicly parade your life in this way is beyond me". That's not really a quote. I deleted the e-mail, but it's the general idea of what he said.

A) Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. I'll do anything I please. Oh hell, that's not what I really think; it's what I wish I thought. What I really think is something along the lines of "don't criticize my strategies for healing wounds you caused."

B) I have friends all over the country and world, and blogging is an easy way to keep in touch with them.

But really, the answer is somewhat different and somewhat more than both of those. Two years and a bit ago, I wanted to play around with some ideas that weren't going to get enough of my attention in my real life. Putting my thoughts out there into cyberspace would, I hope, hold me a little accountable. Moreover, I was (and am) enthusiastic about the populist nature of the internet. The idea of adding new voices to the discourse -any discourse- is one that pleases me immensely. And I wanted to find a community of like-minded people -the people who want to change the world.

Many of the people I now think of as close friends were completely unknown to me at the beginning of all this. I was sending messages in a bottle, and somehow through the miracles of cyberspace, my little bottle washed ashore on their islands. We became connected, even though we may never have met.

I'm not sure that blogs really create community in and of themselves. The nature of blogging is that one person expounds and everybody else listens and responds. It's not the perfect medium for what I'm looking for. Shared discourse isn't quite what the medium can support. And some people (quite a few of them, if the logs are any indication) read but don't feel comfortable adding comments. Some of those people comment privately in e-mail, and some are just quiet -even though they may drop by every day. I'm the only person who knows they're here.

Nonetheless, we've done quite well for ourselves, I think. We have some other characteristics of a community well in hand, it seems to me. There's a sense of membership, I hope. I certainly feel a sense of shared influence and emotional connection, both hallmarks of a community. And we're pretty close to having our 25,000th visitor.

But really, I do want the software that would allow for more collective brainstorming and shared reflections. Got any great ideas there?


breadchick said...

Andrea, you want a bulletin board or forum to do that type of exchange.

Glad your bottle washed up on my shore! And vis-versa

Yarn Tails said...

Hi. I am one of the lurkers. Actually I think I came across you through something else, but cant remember. I work too much. My hubby sort of felt the same way as your ex. But now he totally understands why I do it. My blog helped a lot with the healing last year when my father in law passed away. Plus I love sharing all my projects and get others opinions on things and sometimes its nice just to make friends who share my same love for the hobbies I do.

I hope you are having a better week. :)

PS... I usually dont leave comments cause I am too tired to type anything. lol

Anonymous said...
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Renee said...

Dave made the remark about my blog... something along the lines of "why you want to publicly parade your life in this way is beyond me".

Well, you know what they say, everyone should be searchable, right? ;)

Kimberly said...

Andrea--what sort of interaction do you have in mind? I've been spending some time looking at web2.0 (social networking) applications for my job. There might be something out there that would work.

The forum idea is good. Group blogging can work, too. I might be able to come up with some other ideas, too.