Monday, July 21, 2008

The Blogonut Wireless

Back in Tonga there used to be a phenomenon (I suppose there still is) we called the "coconut wireless" which meant basically that news could travel fast by word of mouth through the bush. The immediacy of person-to-person transmission was interesting, amusing and somewhat mysterious -- how did something travel so fast, if not always accurately, and certainly not in a straight line? It was more like a complicated dominos design dropping tidbits across the whole island of Tongatapu, spreading simultaneously in a dozen, a hundred, directions, vividly representative of the human impulse to "tell."

I'm thinking about the Coconut Wireless this morning as I sign in and realize I'm creating here my own little network of friends whose writing I can see through the new Blogger feature I just added, at right, the "Blog List" including blogs from former Flintoid Gillian Swart, Grand Rapids poet Greg Rappleye, my colleagues Cathy Akers-Jordan, Jim Anderson, tech role model Krista Heiser, and fellow "communards" Teddy Robertson and Dennis "Sporeman" Brown -- people whose lively observations and wit -- whose lives, really, however they write about and depict them -- I find intriguing, stimulating and entertaining.

Last week, feeling lachrymose, I offered a eulogy of sorts for newspapers, but this morning I'm leaning toward a brighter perspective. Some of the channels evolving to replace newspapers are pretty damn terrific, offering intricate and complex ways to say who we are and what it's like to be human at This Moment. We're all in the game, paying attention, reacting, writing poems, taking pictures, venting, griping, celebrating, solving problems, wisecracking, bemoaning, remembering, arguing -- it's amazingly energetic and idiosyncratic. Technology has not led us to the loss of humanity we feared, at least as it's playing out on the Internet. It has proliferated our humanity, opening up a zazillion channels for the individual voice. Is anybody listening to anybody else? Well, I'm at least listening to the folks on that blog roll at the right, and I think they're listening to me. Here's to the human voice -- voices.

Hmm..this Monday morning seems to find me uncharacteristically optimistic. No marine layer here.


Gillian Swart said...

Thank you for the kind comments! I love reading your blog.

Krista said...

As you well know, I'm addicted to blogs. Many of those I read belong to people I've never met and likely never will. Yet, we share common interests or goals. I find inspiration and encouragement, laughter and tears, in their stories.

Then there are the blogs that belong to friends and family. These are even more precious to me, especially when the author lives half a continent away. Although I know there is so much left unsaid on these blogs, they still offer an opportunity for me to remain an active participant in their lives. It makes it easy to feel like we've not lost touch, even if we sometimes forget to pick up the phone or shoot off an e-mail. (YOu'll notice I said nothing about handwritten cards or letters...)

Macy Swain said...

Nice points, Krista. Yikes! I forgot to mention you in the blog list paragraph -- just added it. My openness to these additions stems directly from the workshop you gave...thanks for the push in the right direction.

I know what you mean about the family info -- since Ted and I are often apart, I don't know what I'd do without the electronic options that keep us bonded. Sometimes I worry about what will happen to all these detailed histories we're all building, one post at a time, if the power grid ever goes down. It's not like a letter found in an attic or a scroll unearthed from a cave...will there be anything left of all these words?

The Cat Bastet said...

Macy Said:

I find intriguing, stimulating and entertaining.

Thanks! I am honored. (Frankly, I'm still amazed that I even have readers!)

Macy said:
Technology has not led us to the loss of humanity we feared, at least as it's playing out on the Internet. It has proliferated our humanity, opening up a zazillion channels for the individual voice.

Amazing, isn't it? So very different that what the Sci-Fi writers so often predicted. :)

Do we listen to each other? Yes, I think we do. Conservative blogger Hugh Hewitt's book Blog is on the influence of blogs in business and politics. Right after I started blogging, bloggers shamed Amazon and Yahoo! into hosting links to Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.

It's an unexpected and brave new world.

Krista said...

There is something to be said for the letter found in an attic or Great-Grandma's abandoned hope chest. That's one of the reasons I scrapbook. Family history is fascinating, especially if you can combine pictures with words. can always print out your posts and stash them away for future generations to find. I'm sure someday there will be a great-niece/nephew, or seventh cousin out there somewhere who'd be enchanted to learn more about you.