We live in interesting times.
“There’s a study,” Ben said, “that shows that people who watch Fox News are less informed than those who watch no news at all.”
I laughed. Mostly because I can’t imagine why a DANGER FEAR SEGMENT story about escalators “STAIRWAY TO DANGER!” or a story about applesauce “AN APPLE A DAY MAKES THE CORONERS DAY!” would be considered news by anyone anywhere. But the world needs ditch-diggers too, so I try not to think about it.
I get my news primarily by The Twitter. Crowd-sourcing seems to be the best way to manage news that’s important to me. If that means it’s news about the hats at the Royal Wedding, so be it.
Last year, during The NotoriousSNOMG, I sat at my computer as the wind was a-howling and the snow was outrageous. Roads were blocked, the power threatened us, lights flickering, the occasionally brown-out making me wonder when we’d have to huddle in the basement for warmth. They shut down Lake Shore Drive (arguably my favorite road), The Twitter told me, and I realized how fucking serious the situation was.
My friends all over the Chicagoland area tweeted back and forth about what they were experiencing, which helped me see what I was in for. Also: made me shit myself, but that’s neither here nor there.
Months later, on September 11, we ran a blog carnival on Band Back Together to share stories about that day. I sat on Skype with various members of the board from the moment I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and onto the computer. I was on until well after midnight that day, editing, scheduling, and posting stories – our stories – about where we were that day.
We ended up with fifty different perspectives.
It was FASCINATING.
Not so much that people would want to share their “Where Were You” stories, but because we, as a community blog, we able to see perspectives from people who were actually there, people who lived overseas, people who lived nowhere near the Twin Towers, and those who were children (now adults) at the time.
Every other story I’d read, every magazine I’d poured through, they only posted a few random stories – and while they were interesting, they didn’t offer the variety of perspectives that The Band did. They weren’t glossed over, our stories, they weren’t edited to be more or less exciting, they simply WERE. Because we WERE.
When the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001, I was not a blogger. I had a single email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and no chat service. I’d never figured out why I should go into a chat room, besides pretending to have fake cyber sex with someone, and barely used the computer for anything beyond writing research papers.
Now, I’ve been blogging for longer than I care to admit. If there’s a social media outlet, I’m probably on it. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.
Being able to use social media for things other than telling the world that, “Anxiety can eat a hot bag of dicks,” well, that’s incredible. And that’s what we saw when we ran our September 11 carnival. It’s the premise of Band Back Together – a group site where you can read a variety of stories about any one topic to feel less alone.
It’s why I trust the unfiltered tweets of my friends over Fox News. It’s why I believe you when you write on your blogs. It’s why what we do here, in this virtual space, is so much more than any one of us could have predicted. It is why we must continue to do what we do – whether we have five readers or fifty. What we do, it all matters.
It’s a brave new world out there, Pranksters.
And I, for one, am fucking proud to be a part of it.