Wednesday, April 12, 2006
The "value" of the blogging community
A while back, I wrote a defense of blogging in response to some quoted commentary from Big Name Media types. I must note that the quote I attributed to Andrew Keen is only partially his; the "I grow weary of your scribblings" was actually contained in a paragraph which said, paraphrased, "It is as if he is saying 'I grow weary of your scribblings'." Fair is fair; the guy himself did not say the weary phrase. However, he did ask, "What is the value of your experiences?" Out there in Internetland there are some true hard cases. Con men and women extraordinaire. People grifting off of others. People pulling health hoaxes--for psychological or monetary reasons. People whose sole purpose in life seems to be making others miserable. But then, you run across a story like this. Short version: A community of infertile bloggers grows. One of the bloggers becomes, quite happily, pregnant after infertility treatment. Then, with no warning, she delivers quite prematurely. One of her buddies in the IF blogging community pulls together a surprise long-distance baby shower for her premature baby, and all the bloggers send gifts and well wishes. The shower buddy, however, has no luck with IF treatments, IVF, etc., and is turning towards surrogacy. The showeree (an accomplished quilter) puts together an online fund-raising raffle with a gorgeous quilt as the grand prize. The raffle pulls in $7,300+. Read the post. Ogle the gorgeous quilt. Read the comments. Think of the "value" this community has found in blogging. Oh, not the monetary value. The sharing value. The caring value. The intertwining of lives and emotions and support. Anyone who says that the "community" one finds on the Internet is valueless just hasn't found the right community. These people aren't blogging for the money (which seems to be a big attractor for many of those who write about "why blog?"). They aren't blogging for the fame (another apparent attractor). They went into the blogging biz to trace their journey through life, and found others whose lives were following parallel paths, or paths that followed the same main highway, then branched off in different directions. I have some folks who I have been posting with for anywhere from four years to more than seven years. (Shout out to Kate, who I will forever think of as "Colleen Donohue", her nom de plume for many years; to Carpe; to Cathy; to LizC; to Carol Anne; to AmyNoLongerOnTheRez; to LaNelle; to Miss Cellania; to Paula and Vaughn and Jzygale and Phoenix and Dawn and Mindy and and and...) And thanks to blogging, I am expanding my circle of online friends, discovering others who are leading parallel lives, whose experiences and the sharing of those experiences help me as I tread the murky waters of motherhood and getting older and being a moderate in a world which seems to becoming more and more polarized by the day. (A big howdy to Johnny--start writing again, dammit!, Mrs. Figby, Karen, Figlet, PAGent, bh, Gigi, and and and...) People posting on the Internet are more than just words on a computer screen. Blogging can be a blast of ego, mere blathering on petty subjects, but it can be much more. It can be plain information from different points of view--if you're open to it (and the blogger isn't frothing at the mouth!). It can be a community. It can be friends. Hi, friends.
posted by Kate @ 4/12/2006 10:14:00 PM