Won’t You Be My Neighbour

I would be remiss to mention yesterday’s sad news of the passing of Christopher “River” Cavelle, who ran High Latency Life.  There’s a condolences page you can also view.  There are quite a few posts out there about the event as well, which is fairly indicative of the social fabric that seems to tie the blogging world together.  It’s a sad day indeed.

My wife, ever the astute, had noticed that that I was playing Wildstar with a smile on my face and with the odd interjection.  Normally, I don’t smile when I game unless I see something rather neat.  Then she asks about it, I show here and we move on.  It’s not often that I smile for long periods of time.  But for some reason, Wildstar does that and part and parcel is the guild structure.  I had a rather decent guild many a year ago in WoW, then a solid run through Rift.  But since then, ehhh.  They always had people I knew in the RL too.  Wildstar, not so much.  Instead it’s made up of other bloggers (Evindra – Exile – Cats in Space).

Wilhelm uses the term neighbours and Wildstar does the same with their housing system.  The analogy works, in that there is a giant neighbourhood of bloggers that we all interact with on a regular basis.  Some of them you see every day, others you see once a month, some you just pass through.  I live in an older suburb, with an established community.  If the houses were empty, it would not be the same area so even though I might never talk to the neighbor 5 blocks down, they make the area what it is.  The core difference, and this is really important, is that I can see these people.

I cannot see the other bloggers.  I can rarely even hear them.  But I can read what they write.  I know more about Murf than I do my wife’s aunt, who I’ve met a dozen times now.  Each and every one of them adds a little something to the internet.  The NBI does a great job of giving a platform to new members of the neighbourhood but I don’t know that it really reflects what they are getting into.  You just don’t know until you step in and read the words.  Until you share ideas with another.  Until you come to some realization that your original idea needs a bit of work.  That there are dozens of people out there already, waiting for more to come along.

I think one of the largest advantages that blogging has above other more recent platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Vine, etc…) is that the format allows for more of the person to show through.  Outside of a podcast/stream, you rarely get to spend more than 200 characters or 8 seconds with someone.  Since it’s longer, people have to put in a bit more effort into the message as well, so they come out more thoughtful.  They are also quite a bit more likely to respond to you.  And it’s often times much less confrontational.  Blogging, or rather long-form communication, acts as a giant virtual network for the community.  Each one of us has a house people can visit.  There’s plenty of stuff there to check out too and if you take the time, you can make a new friend.

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