I’ve just finished delving into one of those works that is a collection of correspondence between a writer and others in the intellectual community. Who the writer is isn’t really important because what really struck me is how we’ve lost this type of cross-pollination between people who share a common interest.
We have Internet forums, social media, and thousands of ways to connect, but I don’t see the type of interchange of ideas taking place anymore. Books were discussed, professional advice exchanged, people introduced to other like-minded people. We use the word “community” pretty loosely now, but the letters I read between various writers and artists showed how effective and interesting a social network could be that consisted of nothing more than a #2 envelope and some stamps.
I’d love to have a similar group of friends across the globe, intelligently discussing things, learning about others, and sharing books, manuscripts and artwork. And we certainly have tried to use technology to make this happen. Occasionally it does – I’ve always been appreciative when someone has taken the time to send me a link to some new info, or left a thoughtful comment.
But the thing we seem to lack is the “culture”, for lack of a better term. And what I mean by culture is the ability to slow down, process our thoughts, and be able to engage, disagree, and learn without people’s feelings getting hurt, or competing against each other.
To build and elevate whatever your particular “thing” is. By contributing our own unique piece to something that becomes part of a shared work, whatever form that takes.
Our blogs should certainly facilitate this type of exchange, but just responding with a quick comment isn’t really the same as writing a well-thought out page. I know I’ve touched upon this subject in previous posts, but reading this particular piece made me think again about how our ability to exchange masses of data and information isn’t the same as being able to communicate a feeling or thought.
Most Internet forums I’ve become familiar with seem to last until the inevitable flame war breaks out, and everyone who has blogged has run into the commenter who’s only purpose is to be anonymously nasty.
When reading blogs, I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to just posting a quick, usually congratulatory comment on someone’s blog or post I like. We justify this by saying time is short and there is just not time to adequately respond, so, just this quick note…….
And speaking of time, I’ve not posted here as often as I’d like to, the common downfall of bloggers everywhere. So perhaps it’s time I apply my own advice and devote time to what I think is important.
And sharing ideas and experiences is the most important thing there is. Take that away, and what is left of life but the daily maintenance of it?