Carol A. Hand
This morning I was still thinking about the observations voiced by a gifted photographer from Greece who shared his parting observations about blogging, his farewell to his many followers and to the blogosphere. A year ago, I would never have imagined myself understanding what a blog was, let alone participating in one. As I understand his words, blogging from his perspective keeps people from living life in the real world, giving them the illusion they are tackling the injustices they write about rather than taking the on-the-ground actions necessary.
I know I have watched my own obsession with blogging intensify during this winter. Yet I need to be honest about the importance of context. I have never lived through a winter like this one. The two feet of snow that came early in December, covered by a layer of freezing rain, ushered in a polar vortex that is only now beginning to lift in mid-February. My car was literally frozen shut for three weeks by temperatures that never rose above zero degrees Fahrenheit. Windchills of 30 to 40 below zero made being outside a “nose and finger-numbing” reality in just a few minutes. I don’t have a tv, so the internet and blogging became my connections to the larger world.
Photo: Duluth – February 17, 2014
My occasional trips to the store for necessities have never made me feel as though I was part of my new community. Although I try to live in the moment and connect with others in these public spaces, few respond to smiles or comments intended to create some kind of human-to-human connection. Being introverted, more because of life experiences than by nature, the only spheres for interpersonal connections for me have been work, school, and sometimes neighborhoods. Now that I am semi-retired, these options are limited.
The retiring blogger’s reflections have reminded me of how I have lived in other isolating times. When living in insular environments, I found whatever media I could to remind me of larger world contexts, photographs of people from around the world during colonial and post-colonial times, books and poetry from many different historical eras, nations and cultures, and foreign films and television shows. Blogging has been a more accessible way to connect. I am fortunate to have a computer and internet connection that are unattainable luxuries for others in the U.S. and the world. Yet I also realize that blogging has been more than merely learning about events around the world from many diverse perspectives. It has also been about building connections with others who share similar values.
This winter, blogging has exposed me to a community of creative critical thinkers who have challenged me to learn and grow. I am humbled by the contributions of other bloggers – the beauty of artistic gifts and eloquent descriptions of crucial actions to counter hegemony in nations, communities, prisons, and classrooms. It inspires me to use the opportunities I do have as a part-time adjunct to connect students with global information from bloggers who share creative ways of thinking about resistance to hegemony and actions that are being taken to build a kinder more inclusive world. I am grateful for those bloggers who have reached out to make me feel included in this community. From the still snowy north-country, I wish to say miigwetch (Ojibwe thank you) to the inspiring people in the blogging community who have opened up new vistas and a sense of comradeship for me during a winter that might otherwise have been unbearable.
Photo: Pinto, my recently rescued companion – February 17, 2014
While everyone has their own motivations for blogging (or not), I agree with you that blogging has been a way to connect with brothers and sisters in a manner not possible in the non-virtual world. While not a replacement for our flesh-and-blood relationships, the internet has provided an avenue for communication and discussion for untold numbers of people including myself who previously felt isolated and completely marginalized by the dominant/power culture.
Hopefully, the polar vortex will be receding for you soon. Now, if we could only do something about that bipolar vortex we call Congress…
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Thank you for making me laugh again, Jeff!
Congress is the challenge. I trust we will all continue in our own ways to tackle that bastion of the corporate status quo.
Jeff, I wanted to add how much I admire and appreciate the inclusive way you reach out to other bloggers to build a sense of community.
Hi! I agree with you. In the places I have lived, I have not found the like-minded people I find all the time on the internet. And this is crucial when you need it, because it gives you energy and inspiration for you daily struggle in less like-minded contexts! It is true that you can “lose” internet relationships if you decide not to use the internet anymore, but this does not deny the previous point, and is connected to freedom. Sometimes people next to you are lost to you, anyway. As many things in life, it’s all about what you need when, and the chances you have to get it. The internet has allowed social networking and that is the greatest achievement of the internet!
Thank you for your thoughtful comments about finding like-minded communities that help inspire us, as your work does for me!
A very thoughtful post about the possibilities that blogging holds in building connections- though I will admit also to being a bit wary of it at the same time-for me blogging has afforded me the opportunity to connect into a vast, wildly creative world where talent abounds-but I have also seen how it can take on a life of its own-like anything else-
I appreciate you stopping by Move the Chair and I look forward to reading more of your work-I first discovered you through Jeff N.’s wonderful blog and am very glad to have found your *space*-
I agree that blogging “can take on a life of its own.” But I also appreciate the chance to appreciate your creative work! Thank you for your kind words, Meg.
I have begun having those passing thoughts about blogging but just as you, and the commenter’s above, I found I receive and share more meaningful communication of ideas and emotions with a handful of bloggers, such as you and Jeff, and some creative writers. I do think our relationships are empowering and do believe that sharing our thoughts and experiences through this worldwide web does contribute to changing the consciousness on this planet. On a note about the polar vortex, here we are in Southern Alaska – and I don’t think the temperature has even hit zero – And the snow hasn’t hit a foot and melts in less than a month! Glad spring is soon coming for you.
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