But then, every once in a while, someone makes one of those 48 hours of YouTube, and it’s this.
I don’t watch videos as a rule. I figure I get the idea from the title and move on. After all, there are 3,600 new instagram photos to get through. But I went to college with the woman who is married to Matt and co-created/produced this (and is featured at the end), and so I clicked.
Iraq, Afghanistan, countries I see in shades of khaki and olive through work, come to brilliant life. If you can watch this microcosm of our majorcosm without smiling, I have nothing for you.
It’s projects like these, created by a peer, that makes me glad I live in a time where all this sharing is possible. Because there’s a whole universe of voices — and the more you consume, the better you see.
Back in the Ye Olde Oregon Trail IIe Days, you had to work a little to publish something online. You had to think about it, put effort into learning the platform, and not everybody did it. Online Sharing wasn’t the compulsory course it is now, thanks to Zuck.
And because it’s everywhere, it becomes the default platform. Every vague, half-spelled passing fancy and photo of meal ends up there, every rant and opinion. And unless you’d write the same things in the margins of a phone book broadcast on a JumboTron, it really ain’t the place.
With great ease, comes great abuse.
Novels don’t belong on Post Its, some photos only your mom cares about, and therapy doesn’t happen in the town square. You don’t have to take it offline, but allow me to show you how to tell you might need a little more room for your needs.
The Top 5 Signs You Need a Blog:
You’ve Ever Started a Tweet or Status Update, “Dear Someone Not Reading.” Oy. A cliché that needs to die, but let’s unpack its hideousness. If you use this “Dear Airline, Thanks for losing my luggage,” nonsense in a status update it means either a) You have a story about your day which might actually be interesting if you spent a moment telling it, in narrative form somewhere else; or b) You should be writing that thought to the party you’re directing it to. Facebook does not forward complaints.
You Direct Tweets or Updates at Someone Obliquely. “You’ll never know how much you hurt me. I saw who you’re dating now. You’ve lowered your standards.” If you’re going through something, by all means WRITE. Get it out on paper or post, where you have room for it to actually be of service to you or someone similar. A brief recap in a status update makes that sentiment cringey and desperate. You’re fishing for attention from half your audience and the other half just looked away in horror.
You Have Political/Religious Opinions. We all get worked up about something. Chris Brown. Michael Vick. On a blog, people choose to visit. In a News Feed, all of your controversy goes everywhere. It’s understanding your audience, and your polarizing peculiarities don’t belong in the mixed and literal [work-based] company of Facebook.
You Want to Post 70 Photos of Your Kid Everyday. By all means, go for it. Let grandma see your baby all day everyday, that’s what the web is GREAT for. But if it’s not news to everyone, it shouldn’t go in your News Feed. And more to the point, your kids need more privacy than Zuck thinks. If it’s on the web, it’s there for everyone. Throw the endless photos on a blog and password protect it.
Most of Your Day Warrants an Update. Facebook should get the highlights, only the standout stories that keep people vaguely in tune with the broad picture of your life. If you want to give a play-by-play, your big fans will pay for the premium channel and visit your blog.
Finally, BONUS: You Have a Particular and Peculiar Obsession. By all means, run with it and start a blog. I want, nay NEED, more WillIFit.coms. Way more.
That’s how my grandparents answered the phone, way back when picking it up was a big mystery — who could it be? If Frank picked up it was, “Well, Zoë! How the heck are you!?” And I bet they had this very phone book, the Tri-Cities in 1968.
This is a radio news story I produced for work this week. (It’s about cute kids and camp and only 120 seconds long.)
I suppose I’ve been telling stories like it’s my job for a while. Those stories always exist in my head as written words. Phrases and scraps and descriptions — writing is the format of my thought process.
When I was learning video, taking those words and giving the story over to images was a hurdle. “You’re trying to write with a video camera.” I’M used to painting the picture. When the camera paints it, it’s an adjustment.
So if writing is you telling the story, and video is the world telling it, audio is really… the people telling it? You have to ask the questions that will encourage the people in your story to write for you.
Creating an story in audio only is much closer to writing than video, but more abstract than that. Listening, the pictures still live in your head — you’re still an active participant.
A picture is probably still worth a thousand words, but it tells you what those words should be.
A sound might be worth fewer words, but at least yours will be different than everyone else listening. And I like that.
I love foreign words that seem like an event, even if you don’t have cause to use them all that often.
Rompecabezas. Puzzle, in Spanish. Never once actually needed it, don’t care, still completely awesome.
And this one: Arcobaleno. Rainbow, in Italian. We learned this one on MomCon after being caught in the rain. So I suppose in prose it means “rainbow” and in poetry it means “happiness after the storm.”
Even if you’re not far away from everyone and everything, most relationships anymore are maintained through the ether. I’ve never found it strange then, to do so with people I only know exclusively through it. I’ve moved from exchanging comments in threads to exchanging real-life Christmas cards, and I’ve loved and made life-long friends with people who I only know through the internet.
They’re characters in your life just like any other.
One of those characters, one of my friends, died while I was away last week. I found out this morning, the same way we’d met — through this blog. One of his friends knew he’d talked about me, and wanted to make sure I knew.
I didn’t. I’ve been removed recently from this part of my world where he lives—lived—and now…he doesn’t? It is entirely shocking. That is an entire understatement. I don’t want to believe it. I keep waiting for it to be an internet hoax. But it’s not.
He liked my writing. Even with almost totally divergent interests, we appreciated each other’s content. Right after I moved here, was Christmas. I set off on my own, made a little church adventure, and posted about it. Shortly after, he left a message thanking me for my story and service. He continued to support what I shared, especially my traveling posts, and on one of those trips I snapped a photo of something I thought he’d like, and sent it to him. Yes, I’m the weirdo who thinks nothing of sending emails to strangers — and it’s worked out quite well for me.
We became fast correspondents after that. He’d keep me company in the dark, lonely mornings before work, he loved the posts I wrote about places I’d been — he said I was showing him a part of the world he’d never be able to see. He’d listen to my radio shows sometimes on his commute. We spoke freely about everything. Everything. One weekend we were both feeling blue, and so we took to our beds. Shunning the need to feel productive, and ignoring the world in favor of doing whatever we liked.
He was especially good at making “whatever you liked” exactly what you “should” be doing.
After I found out he was gone, I looked for the pieces of him in this world of web. When was the last time we’d talked? Three days before he passed according to my IM app. The last time someone had reblogged him? The day before. His Facebook, gone. His blog, shuttered. The hundreds of emails, were all still there. But his light isn’t green anymore.
Even when you’ve never actually met in that three-dimensional way everyone seems to prize so much, when there’s someone in your life you KNOW will always be there for you, you hold them dear.
And when suddenly, confusing, and completely without warning, they’re not?
Well. I’ve taken to my bed for him.
And I suppose, in lieu of flowers, please send memes. I think he’d like that best of all.
Does “nice” ever mean what we pretend it does? Maybe I’m too worldwideweb.jaded.com, but I can’t run a scenario where “nice” doesn’t come with an implicit sneer, a veneer of ambivalence, a loss for anything better.
“What’s she like?” “Well. She’s…nice?” Eesh.
It’s an invisible salve to fill a void, a little verbal joint compound to jam up the hole.
“Have a nice day.” Printed on bags, said to people you might not see again.
“That’s nice, dear.” Vacant, used only in vintage comic strips.
“I’m going to make nice.” Anything but.
“Nice to meet you.” “I have no idea if this is true because as you may have heard from the rest of the sentence, I don’t know you at all.”
Back in the day, in which “the day” is the 1200s, it meant “foolish and stupid.” How it morphed from that to something more passive than aggressive, I don’t know. Though I suppose you say it when you wish it to be true, but can’t muster up the authenticity.