Sunday, January 20, 2008

[Don't] Say Anything

Almost a fortnight ago I had a pleasant tryst with a group of excellent bloggers. Thanks to bon's cribcast there was a fine dialogue about volunteerism in our little corner of the bloggerhood.

In that context a thread began -- first from the pods themselves and trickling down to we lowly chatroom attendants. I believe it began with Mad's brutal, and astute, admission that pissedoffedness can be a barrier to community action. That working in groups can rouse a measure of grouchiness. True for me but worthy of some retread.

What is it about the cold and distant nature of the blogging venue that has spurred me to get over said grouchiness and begin to embrace others, to reach out without hope of reciprocity? It may just be the Ben and Jerry's high talking but I have found, particularly in this last year that I want to do more and give more and I know somewhere blogging is driving me. (It's the id, idn't it? Ah wherefore, Blogrhet?)

Part of it is Mad herself but part of it is a perfectly logical consequence of this medium. Yep, believe it or not blogging has enabled and encouraged me to be more helpful, alturistic and giving. Not as a simple urge to somehow balance the virtual with the real. Not at all really but rather because I have come to terms with a new degree of tolerance. As a Canadian we have it drilled into us from the age of 9 that society is tolerance and as people we start tuning it out about 5 years later when tolerance is eclipsed by some goth, burnout, hippie, nerd, jock branding of said tolerance.

But what about the podcast...? Mostly what I am thinking of is how in the podcast we did briefly reflect on whether the bounty of thought available through blogs is a greater support to a philosophy of 'if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all' than face-to-face. I know in my case it does. I have real blog-crushes I walk away from for months after they piss me off. There is truly a plus to all the anonymity and boundary breaking of blogs.

I am more intimate now that I have ever been with strangers some I do not agree with, many of whom live their lives completely differently than we do and those who reside in god knows where... than I could otherwise be. This seems to make me a lot more tolerant of real people I would normally have beat a path from at hyperspeed... including in community groups. I gotta be honest I have been a volunteer and I have managed volunteers. If anything can bring out the inner pinhead it might very well be working for free. So whether it is being one or being with one I think a lot of organizations suffer a lack of active and tolerant supporters.

I wonder if these organizations would be surprised to think that it is less their cause and more the ying/yang of some distant and vague community connection that can bring in new blood?

"Here, have this pen."



ps... And just now I picked up my link from Under the Mad Hat and it's blog for choice day? Shit... activism the need really is endless.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

Do you want me to out the location of my Fortress of Solitude? Email me: alphaDOTdogmaATgmailDOTcom

11:16 PM  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

"I have found, particularly in this last year that I want to do more and give more and I know somewhere blogging is driving me." Yes, precisely. I get carried away by the good intentions and collegiality that I find here.

On another topic. Do you ever get my emails? I've sent you three since last fall: one about Scholastic, one about maybe yakking about work some time and one about Sheree Fitch. I've never heard back from you and so I assumed that you can be like me with email--an inbox nester. But I thought I should ask you straight up just in case my missives have been accidentally and automatically routed to your junk folder (as hotmail sometimes does to some of my virtual correspondents).

9:48 AM  
Anonymous cheesefairy said...

"...believe it or not blogging has enabled and encouraged me to be more helpful, alturistic and giving" I believe it. The true, honest communication of (select areas of) the blogworld is so compelling. I often want to hug virtual strangers for their online words, a feeling that rarely comes over me when I am talking to live people.

(Of course I select for people who move me, online, where in real life I often don't have a choice who I'm talking to.)

9:09 PM  
Blogger CroutonBoy said...

Interesting. I haven't felt the call of altruism like you have from blogging. I think it's mostly helped me find people who are as cranky and grouchy as me that I could vent with/to. Although without blogging I'd have no social life whatsoever.

11:09 AM  
Blogger p-man said...

I'm in a Lutheran old folks home. It's Robbie Burns day. Help!

12:17 PM  

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