Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It Takes a Village.. . .

This post reflects my thoughts on the degree to which blogging creates a kind of community. Oh, I know that blogging should not take the place of being in contact with friends day to day. And, of course, blogging should not take the place of face to face conversation, just as email should not take the place of personal contact.

But, let's be honest, cyber communication has changed the way we communicate. When was the last time you sat down and wrote a LETTER? OK--Christmas letters don't count. Email has made written communication a daily thing, but a very different thing than a century ago.

Even telephoning has changed. True--most of us have cell phones, but depending on your age, you aren't using that phone to make CALLS--please--you are using it to text your friend. Oh, make that--txt ur bff.

(No wonder it is getting more difficult to teach students to write.)

Anyway, what got me cogitating upon the nature of community is that I find blogging has created a cyber community. No, I am claiming no cutting edge observation here--no doubt sociologists are already written doctoral dissertations on how people connect even in a wired way.

First, we have our cyber friends--I, like many people who blog, try to check up on my cyber friends periodically. As we read about their lives and observations, we begin to care about them.

Second, we become invested in their lives. Over this past year, I have worried about the health of cyber friends--Pam, and Cathy. I have mourned when Mary lost a family member. I have thrilled with good news from Delia.

I have gone hunting with Ruthie, traveled with Julie and Ginnie, watched AC play with his first grandchild, smiled at Laura's stories of Luka's antics.

I have been inspired by the gentle words of Nina, by the great work Beth does, by Tom's inspirational teaching of youth, and by Jean's loving devotion.

I could go on. . .there are many other blogging friends who I have not mentioned who are no less interesting, inspiring, adventurous, courageous, and caring. Some of them are along the sidebar of my blog.

And now I am worrying about Philip--usually a loquacious poster, he has been silent for nearly two weeks. I find myself checking his blog every day, even though I have signed up as "following" him, so I get notices if he posts. His silence is uncharacteristic. I hope all is well.

So, it takes a village--a cyber village, sometimes, as well as a literal village.

John Donne captured it is his famous meditation XVII--

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

We are all part of the main.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Yes Donna, you are so right. I am often amazed at how connected we are through blogging. There are so mnay good people out here. Genuine, caring people. I think we share enough of our true selves that we can see that in each other.

Anvilcloud said...

Yes, it's a bit weird in a way. It's evolved differently from my expectations. Not that I had many as I just clicked on Blogger out of curiosity one day about five years ago. (Yes, I know that last sentence is a fragment.:) )

NCmountainwoman said...

Yes, the blogging world has introduced me to a variety of new friends.

I am one (of the few) who still writes letters. While I communicate with most distant friends by email, I have some to whom I regularly write letters. They receive so much joy in having a card or letter delivered to them. In this day and age of email and junk mail, it is delightful to receive a real communication in the mail. My husband came home the other day with a sheet of Bette Davis stamps for me. What a guy!

Unknown said...

My favorite part of that quote is the "because I am involved in mankind." Such powerful words. The experience of being involved in online community is amazing. I have cyber-friends that I have known for 20 years.

LauraHinNJ said...

So worrisome when a regular doesn't post for a while... and what is there to do, really, but wonder?

That aspect of blogging bothers me almost... the sense of being so connected with a person, yet having to fill in the blanks so often.


At ay rate... I love the group of friends I've found here!

Jayne said...

The world is much smaller and more intimate in many ways as we can extend our caring outward in ways we never dreamed of in the past. I love being a part of the cybercommunity of friends, and it's been a pleasure to "meet" you here on your blog Donna.

Mary C said...

Well said, Donna. I find it amazing how I have broadened my group of friends through the blogging world. And how true that we are concerned about each other, especially when one hasn't posted in quite a while. I do hope you will hear from Philip soon.

denverdoc said...

I agree with your post entirely Donna. Even though I don't comment here often, whenever my husband and I talk about driving to Philadelphia where my daughter lives, I always think that I could drop in and meet you on the way. I also think that driving from Denver to Philly is sheer madness, but if we ever do, I'll be in touch!

Anonymous said...

I agree that this age of cyber communication has created many changes in our lives...and some of them not for the better. One of my pet peeves is text messaging. To me, it is much more satisfying to press a few numbers and talk to the person directly. Nothing frustrates me more than to try to decipher what information the person is trying to give me, what code they are using...etc. And it is creating a generation of poor spellers. One of our local stores recently re-paved their parking lot. When they repainted the lines and arrows, etc. on the pavement in front of the store, the "yield" sign was painted "yeild". A glaring error that drives me insane every time I shop there.
I enjoy your posts and the proper English with which they are written. Of course, what else would I expect?
Seriously though, I do enjoy my cybercommunity friends and the ease of keeping in touch...from cell phones to blogs to facebook. I definitely stay much more connected than in the "olden days." One does get more involved in their lives than ever before and you miss them when they're absent for any length of time. Hope you hear from Philip soon.

Climenheise said...

The eagerness with which we embrace cyber community also betrays the loss of face to face community we have experienced in our lifetime. This space, along with facebook and email groups, has become important to me; but I feel the loss of the kind of community our parents grew up with.

KGMom said...

Thanks, all for joining this discussion on creating community through blogging--because that's what we are now discussing.
I recognize that the blogging village is different than the ones we might have known as children--but many of those villages have been replaced by suburban sprawl. People who live in urban centers, or in extant villages, still experience the close face to face community. In fact, our neighborhood, where we have lived for almost 30 years, is a community of mutual support--as is our church. But many people have lost that.
So, we can be glad in the little cyber village we inhabit.
And, good news--Philip has been heard from--seems his Internet service has been down for almost 2 weeks.

KGMom said...

Oh, I meant to add--for Femail Doc--I agree driving from Colorado to Philadelphia is a bit crazy, but if you pass through central PA--I'd be glad to meet for coffee. I have enjoyed your most informative posts.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Donna,
I certainly appreciate and enjoy the friendships I've made through blogging. Because of work commitments and stuff to do at home, I would never have the free time to spend with people, but I'm able to do it through blogging--a few minutes at a time. And it's really nice to know that people understand if you're not posting or commenting every day and also to know that your friends are worried when you're "absent" for an extended period of time (I hope all is well with Philip too)