Waiting on a friend

Blogging has always seemed to me to be a perverse, audacious and narcissistic act. You write something that is explicitly for broadcast, that has not been edited by anyone but you, that no one has demanded from you, and that quite possibly no one else will read. Ever.

Tonight at the Casbah in downtown Durham I was reminded why none of that matters. In an intimate gathering that was a strange but appropriate mashup of a cocktail party, 12-step meeting and Moth Story SLAM, blogger after blogger stood up and explained how and why she did what she did. Someone read a moving post about how a school-board sponsored program helped her family cope with a difficult child in crisis. Someone else used her blog to work through the loss of a job and deaths in the family. A marine biologist described how his blog allowed him to construct a world that would fulfill his expectations in ways that his professional life never could.

In the middle of it all were Bora Zivkovic and Anton Zuiker, twin sons of different mothers, who have been doing this online thing for what seems like forever (in internet time it basically is forever). Anton, who at one time contemplated being a priest, was honored with a lovely song by our own David Kroll, entitled “Minister of the Ether.”

And Bora spoke movingly about his parents, both of whom would have been avid online media users had they come of age a little later. They were open and generous, like Bora. When I saw him earlier in the day I asked him about his new gig at Scientific American and he seemed genuinely abashed. “I  can’t quite believe how seriously they take me,” Bora said. He was grateful: for the ability to support his family, for dependable health care, and for the opportunity to continue to do what he loves, which as you surely know if you’ve spent any time on the science interwebs, is blog and tweet and facebook and friendfeed and God knows what else.

So yeah, maybe bloggers can be audacious, perverse and narcissistic. But they can also be something else: part of a living, breathing, giving, human community.

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9 Responses to Waiting on a friend

  1. Coturnix says:

    Thank you so much! It was a wonderful, uplifting, sharing event. So good to see you!

  2. Steve Silberman says:

    Lovely post, thank you!

  3. David Kroll says:

    Always a pleasure to visit with you IRL, good sir. A wonderful recap.

    I loved hearing Bora talk about how his mother would be considered a “connector” in Gladwell speak and it’s clear that the acorn did not fall far from that tree (or the Serbian equivalent of the expression).

    The beauty of the night was just simply meeting so many new faces who are local who I may have read or known on Twitter but finally saw in the same room. We’re very lucky folks to be part of this community.

  4. Anton Zuiker says:

    So glad you were able to join us, Misha, and thank you for seeing what I’ve long believed: that even – especially? – the solitary act of writing can be the seed of community.

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  6. DK says:

    Yes, the event showed we each start blogging for unique personal reasons, gaining insights over time that we couldn’t have fathomed at the start.

    What a sharp contrast to a meetup I went to last week in NY called “How the Social Web is Changing Publishing in Architecture & Design.” (see my pic in the link below). No heart-wrenching, tear-spilling blog sharing going on there. And certainly no musical tributes!

    Could the intimate tone of this event have been set by its title?

    Only a select group of people would go to anything called “Blog Together,” right?

    Or is the readiness to share more a Southern culture thing? Forgive me — I’ve been away a decade to Europe and the West Coast and have forgotten many things.

    http://meetup.designerpages.com/photos/1109492/

  7. mangrist says:

    Thanks all. What a pleasure to see/meet you!

  8. patrick says:

    1st visit on your blog, 1st reading. Maybe no coincidence. Wish I could meet in person, anytime soon. From Portable Genomics, with interest!

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