July 06, 2002

The Party Line of

The Party Line of the Blogosphere

There was a time during high school in Birmingham when you could call this certain number, and everybody who called it could hear everybody else talking on the one line. Sort of a high-hormone confabulation of teenage Babel. You can imagine with all the voices going at once, it was hard to make any sense of what was being said.

One time as I hung out, I heard this pleasant voice say "is there anybody on this line that is older than 13 and has a brain?" I answered. We shouted at one another for a few minutes. She eventually offered: "Call me at this number and maybe we can actually talk". We did.

I have remembered this upon my joining the babel and cacophony of the Bloggosphere. So many voices, so little time. We want communication, community, entertainment, enlightenment, a thousand voices with a thousand points of view. How does one leave the noise of the party line (you young sprouts will not even understand the term, perhaps) and find a more quiet place where self-disclosure is possible, permissable, and practical?

That perhaps is overstating the point here, but will serve as a way to mention a few recent contacts in the world of bloggers that gives me hope in the end-result of this medium: creating community, understanding, common ground among the world's languages and rich diversity of thought and culture.

Perhaps among the most encouraging of trends I am seeing is that bloggers actually meet and touch-see-smell-hear each other in the real world; sometimes en masse at blog parties, sometimes one on one. Susanna Cornett (cut on the bias) and Meryl Yourish (of yourish.com) have recently met in the Jersey City area, only to have Meryl leave for the 'uncrowded' open spaces of Richmond, Va. The author of HairyEyeball, like the previously-mentioned bloggers, resides in NYC, is an designer of words (in several languages) and wanders down on Goose Creek by blog-visit from time to time. For urban readers, Fragments must seem like extra-terrestrial semi-intelligence at best; our worlds are very different, and hence the benefit of this mutual 'cross-pollination' via our w'logs. Hands across the galaxies.

More recently, via other bloggers, I have 'met' Bigwig of Silflay Hraka (if you are not Watership Down literate, do your homework); he forays the weeds and vegetable patches in the Chapel Hill area and conspires with several other Lagomorphs on the always-interesting web effort. Also never a waste of time is wood s lot, issuing from 'a small town' in Canada. Not sound-bites oriented, visit when you can sit down with a pot of coffee and read the excellent exerpts leading to complete and substantial articles.

So, meanwhile back at the ranch: I did call this sultry voice out of teen-age Babel back long ago. Several times, as a matter of fact. I learned that she was a singer. She was performing at a night club on the side of town I never visited. She was very good looking. She really wanted to meet me. It was the mid sixties in Birmingham. She was black. I didn't care. But I didn't go meet her; the times in Dixie were not auspicious; and I am shy around police dogs and water cannon.

Maybe she has a weblog. Sandy, are you out there?

(see sidebar for links to weblogs mentioned above)

Posted by fred1st at July 6, 2002 09:00 AM
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