Tag Archives: community

Oh look, it’s a new year

If there weren’t elventy-million Top Ten lists floating around the internet, I wouldn’t be very sure.

There isn’t very much that defines my life currently, which lends a montage perspective to the last few months. The days bleed into one another, not unlike poorly dyed material, making it rather difficult to differentiate when events occur.

And I’m sure I’m not the only one. Being part of a huge group of people all in various stages of the same state of joblessness makes the poorly finished cloth feel somewhat more complete. Not in a “misery loves company” sort of way, but in more of a “we’re all in this together” sort of way.

And that makes me hopeful for this new year.

I realize that there is no logic in my reasoning, but when I look back on the story we’ve constructed of events long over, I see the effect this communal attitude has. When people share suffering, they are more likely to reach out to people they would never interact with. Suffering reveals humanity. It is a constant. The particulars of each person’s suffering differs greatly, but the experience of suffering is shared. And this shared experience pushes unlikely connections that redefine a life, and sometimes the world.

So as I journey through this new year, suffering with others in my own way, I’m looking forward for those connections that will change our lives, hopefully for the better. I’m expecting a different future, and I’m hoping it’s brighter. I’m even a smidge excited.

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Why I contiue to Twitter

Before Oprah started twittering, I signed up for an account. When I originally posted here about that, I wasn’t entirely sure what I thought about the service or why I had signed up. I just thought I’d try anything that would encourage me to write, because I frequently don’t do that enough. I thought the character limit would be a good creative challenge (it has), and I thought it would be a fun way to find out what other people think and know (it has been this as well).

So now that it has become more main stream, and I actually have to answer the question “Why do you twitter?” for real, I thought I’d write about why I continue to use this.

I love hearing what other people have to say.

This pretty much sums up why I keep logging into twitter and checking what the people I follow have written. I love to hear what people say and how they communicate their thoughts.

I do this in conversations that I actually have to use my ears to hear too. I am notorious amongst my friends for writing down perfect snipits of conversations that surround me. I’ve done this in restaurants, at coffee shops, in line at Disneyland, listening to my old neighbors through the thin walls. Twitter is the same thing for me.

Twitter provides a record of the conversations I always assumed were happening online and in the rest of the world where I wasn’t. Yes, some of what shows up is inane, but even the inanity represents real people and how they talk. What better service for a storyteller to keep track of how real people talk than a written record?

And as long as I can still access the funny/silly/pointless/upset/inane representations of how people communicate with one another, I will keep logging into Twitter.

reason #642 why I love blogs

So I love traipsing through various blogs and reading what other people have to say (yes it’s a sentence fragment, whatever). I think it comes from my insatiable curiosity (yes I know what happened to the cat) coalescing with my love of language and being stirred by my love of learning. Anyway, while I was out, I came across this post on Notes from Evil Bender. In it the author (self-identified as ‘he’) pulls up an article on an apparently conservative blog about the prevalence of Marxists in US academia and points out the numerous ways that this essay wouldn’t pass a freshman composition class. So I pop on over to the post on American Thinker and read through it.

Both essays have valid points and logical fallacies (I’m not citing them because they aren’t the point of my post), but what kept me reading was the discussion that followed the American Thinker post (I think the Evil Bender post will probably pick up some more comments, but if not, what I compared it to in my head was the discussion from any number of posts on boingboing.net [which I enjoy reading for those who don’t read beyond this point]).

There were numerous comments on the American Thinker post about the stupid liberals and their anti-American thinking and unpatriotic actions, but when I got to comments like

“Global warming is the new Marxism – dogma masquerading as science, to use Mr. Pipes’ description. We are embarking on the establishment of a totalitarian state in the name of global warming.” (posted by jorod),


“Classic liberalism was long-since distorted to the point of being meaningless. To me the operative term most of the time is STATIST. Same idea as the original Marxists. Big government advocates who want more and more control of individual decisions, paired with the people who are willing to give the STATE power over their lives–in hopes of (fill in the blank).” (posted by BobG),

I began to realized that I knew this rhetoric and I knew it well, just not with all these words.

For jorod’s comment, substitute “global warming” for “the war on terror” or “freedom” and “Marxism” for something along the lines of “fascist,” and you have a recurring theme from comments on liberal blog postings on things like the US government putting RFID trackers in new passports or the US realID. And as for BobG’s comment, I could copy it onto the nearest liberal blog without changing anything and (provided the post was political) it would fit fairly well.

And that’s when it hit me that my parents have been right for my whole life – you get people who are far enough away on the political spectrum to argue about something and they circle back around so that they are saying the same thing – just starting from different points. And I think that’s why I love reading all these crazy posts on the internet. The conservative blog is yelling about the diminishing freedom of speech because of the crazy liberal media while the liberal blogs are yelling about how the puppet media assists in duping society as the government strips our freedoms. And both say that the other side is stupid and unable to reason their way out of a paper bag, but then complain that they can’t enter into a fair debate.

I think it’s fantastic that both sides appear so clearly in this wonderful medium. And while I may not agree with (or necessarily believe) everything I read on the internet, and especially the blogs I follow, I would never in a million years say that they should cease to exist or that the people who comment should get real lives. What’s more real than debating ideas with other people? I think it’s brilliant that I get to interact with these people and read their comments and watch them fight it out. The only part I wish I could change is best embodied in “Internet Argument” posted on xkcd where the scroll-over says “It’s easier to be an asshole to words than to people.” And that’s reason #642 why I love meandering through the wonderful world of blogs….