Blogging And Community
Recently I have begun to receive the odd congratulation on my seven years in my job. I didn’t know what “job” they were referring to until I looked at my Linkedin account and realised they were talking about my blogging activities which began in May 2011: it has been a voyage of self-discovery and awareness about some aspects of social media!
Quite often I go into my local café and, by custom, sit at the same table as other habitués with whom I share the news and concerns of the day. The key characteristic of this group is, for me at least, that I have never met any of them under any other circumstance or location. Should they cease to visit the café all contact would be lost and I have no phone number or address I can write to if I want to ask how life is treating them.
In the same way, if you look to the right of this post, you will see my blogroll which is largely made up of those people with whom I connected in the early days of my blogging adventure. If you look at the comments on my previous post you will see that most of these bloggers have not commented and, in some cases, their blogs no longer exist.
The irony is that, I approach life with a kind of heady innocence full of belief that every connection might be the dawn of a new friendship and a growing sense of community but I have found social media to be rather like that café and witnessed bloggers vanish from commenting and sometimes their own blogs without explanation to the point where I come to question the validity of any connection made with the exception of a few contacts with whom I have formed something like a genuine interconnected friendship. So much of social media, or my part of it, is taken up with marketing products, literary or otherwise, that you wonder how real it is.
Of course it is real but also voyeuristic in character which I was unaware of in those heady early days.
I read of lives like mine, in whole or part,lived in places I shall never see with people I will never meet and wonder how the world can be so connected and similar in its concerns yet divided at the same time.
Despite all this I never lose my interest in the idea of reaching out to other lives and cultures; and in these days of darkening and troubling political weather I am reminded of W.H.Auden’s words in 1939 at the beginning of the second world war.
“Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame”
Elsewhere he states,
“We must love one another or die.” Ain’t that the truth!?