“I have some updates”

I'll be honest: my favorite kind of blogging is dumb blogging. Not dumb as in "idiot" (although I enjoy that, too), or silent, but dumb as in...nonessential, I guess. I'm crafting my own definition to suit my needs, but it falls somewhere along the lines of this entry I just stumbled across in my trusty Merriam-Webster app:

5 : lacking some usual attribute or accompaniment ; especially : having no means of self-propulsion • a dumb barge

Interesting formatting and punctuation choices employed in that app, by the way.

"Dumb blogging" as I mean it is best demonstrated by these two tweets from Matt Jacobs (@capndesign), who I do not know but have followed for a very long time, probably because I enjoy tweets like these (and what are tweets but v, v short blog posts without titles?):

To me those are perfect tweets, and the best, most tolerable kind of social media interaction; i.e., "having no means of self-propulsion." They do nothing to advance any dialogue; he's having a conversation with himself. Again, I don't know this man personally but I do know X, Y, and Z about him, and it doesn't matter whether I share any of his interests or opinions (although I do, which is also why I follow him on Twitter). But that's not really what it's about, either: it's just about opening the channel, and keeping it open. I can mark it and draw from it what I will, and move on.

All of this harks back to the good olde days, when blogging was still A Thing and Twitter was young and unafraid, although to some people it has always been anathema. Navel gazing. Worse than death! (I am too tired to search for examples of those sad opinions so please self-google if you care to learn any more about this important topic.)

But it also reminds me of this old post on "phatic communication" by danah boyd, which I have handily bookmarked for my eternal reference:

I vote that we stop dismissing Twitter just because the majority of people who are joining its ranks are there to be social. We like the fact that humans are social. It's good for society. And what they're doing online is fundamentally a mix of social grooming and maintaining peripheral social awareness. They want to know what the people around them are thinking and doing and feeling, even when co-presence isn't viable. They want to share their state of mind and status so that others who care about them feel connected. It's a back-and-forth that makes sense if only we didn't look down at it from outer space. Of course it looks alien. Walk into any typical social encounter between people you don't know and it's bound to look a wee bit alien, especially if those people are demographically different than you.

I've heard from so many friends lately who are despairing at the state of the world (as am I, for the love of Christ!!!!!), but small, brief glimpses like these, from total strangers, are still something I look to for hope and encouragement. They're lightweight and frictionless and only as large as they need to be, and sometimes that's enough to help speed the way, bit by bit, just a little bit, on any given day.

One of my favorite things to do when I lived in New York was to take the M10 bus home in the evening and look up into the apartments lining Central Park West as we passed, and just...get a peek at what lives other people were leading. They were strangers, too, and separate from me in many unfathomable ways, but also not; we were sharing the same street and the same city with each other in our own private/public fashion. That is its own form of community. And opening up a window here is what I love, still, about this dumb blog.