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Brave New World


We live in interesting times.

“There’s a study,” Ben said, “that shows that people who watch Fox News are less informed than those who watch no news at all.”

I laughed. Mostly because I can’t imagine why a DANGER FEAR SEGMENT story about escalators “STAIRWAY TO DANGER!” or a story about applesauce “AN APPLE A DAY MAKES THE CORONERS DAY!” would be considered news by anyone anywhere. But the world needs ditch-diggers too, so I try not to think about it.

I get my news primarily by The Twitter. Crowd-sourcing seems to be the best way to manage news that’s important to me. If that means it’s news about the hats at the Royal Wedding, so be it.

Last year, during The NotoriousSNOMG, I sat at my computer as the wind was a-howling and the snow was outrageous. Roads were blocked, the power threatened us, lights flickering, the occasionally brown-out making me wonder when we’d have to huddle in the basement for warmth. They shut down Lake Shore Drive (arguably my favorite road), The Twitter told me, and I realized how fucking serious the situation was.

My friends all over the Chicagoland area tweeted back and forth about what they were experiencing, which helped me see what I was in for. Also: made me shit myself, but that’s neither here nor there.

Months later, on September 11, we ran a blog carnival on Band Back Together to share stories about that day. I sat on Skype with various members of the board from the moment I dragged my sorry ass out of bed and onto the computer. I was on until well after midnight that day, editing, scheduling, and posting stories – our stories – about where we were that day.

We ended up with fifty different perspectives.


Not so much that people would want to share their “Where Were You” stories, but because we, as a community blog, we able to see perspectives from people who were actually there, people who lived overseas, people who lived nowhere near the Twin Towers, and those who were children (now adults) at the time.

Every other story I’d read, every magazine I’d poured through, they only posted a few random stories – and while they were interesting, they didn’t offer the variety of perspectives that The Band did. They weren’t glossed over, our stories, they weren’t edited to be more or less exciting, they simply WERE. Because we WERE.

When the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001, I was not a blogger. I had a single email address: and no chat service. I’d never figured out why I should go into a chat room, besides pretending to have fake cyber sex with someone, and barely used the computer for anything beyond writing research papers.

Now, I’ve been blogging for longer than I care to admit. If there’s a social media outlet, I’m probably on it. I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.

Being able to use social media for things other than telling the world that, “Anxiety can eat a hot bag of dicks,” well, that’s incredible. And that’s what we saw when we ran our September 11 carnival. It’s the premise of Band Back Together – a group site where you can read a variety of stories about any one topic to feel less alone.

It’s why I trust the unfiltered tweets of my friends over Fox News. It’s why I believe you when you write on your blogs. It’s why what we do here, in this virtual space, is so much more than any one of us could have predicted. It is why we must continue to do what we do – whether we have five readers or fifty. What we do, it all matters.

It’s a brave new world out there, Pranksters.

And I, for one, am fucking proud to be a part of it.

19 Comments to

“Brave New World”

  1. On November 29th, 2011 at 12:55 pm Ewokmama Says:

    Now I have that 30 Seconds to Mars song stuck in my head. Thanks.

  2. On November 29th, 2011 at 2:08 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    You’re SO welcome!

  3. On November 29th, 2011 at 1:00 pm Mercurial Says:

    Could not agree more! Love the connectivity, love the stories and the interest and …all of it!

  4. On November 29th, 2011 at 2:08 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    I love the times we live in.

  5. On November 29th, 2011 at 1:23 pm Andrea Says:

    The stories that we get to read the way they were intended to be read because they are left the way they were written–I love that!

  6. On November 29th, 2011 at 2:09 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    That is why it’s fascinating to me!

  7. On November 29th, 2011 at 1:48 pm Amber Says:

    Amen. We are bloggers. Hear us roar. I hardly even pick up a newspaper anymore…

  8. On November 29th, 2011 at 2:09 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    That’s because we’re sick to DEATH of the glossiness of it all. I’m so tired of feeling like the world is supposed to be a glossy place. It’s not. That’s what makes it beautiful.

  9. On November 29th, 2011 at 2:32 pm jtook Says:

    People still watch news on TV? I don’t know that I’ve (purposely) watched TV news in years. And I don’t feel like I’m missing out on stuff. I follow newspapers on twitter, get the headlines and that’s usually all I need.
    And as much as I hate to admit this, Ben might be right. About that study. Not about anything else.

  10. On November 29th, 2011 at 2:44 pm nikkiana Says:

    I get my news much the same way. If it wasn’t relevant enough for my friends to post on Twitter or Facebook, I probably didn’t hear about it. I’m fortunate enough to have some rather intelligent people that I follow along with, so I tend to be on the up and up about stuff.

    Forgive me, I’m about to go on a total tangent that’s somewhat relevant to the subject at hand and I want to apologize in advance in case it ends up causing some sort of polarized fight….. but….

    I hadn’t much thought about how I get my news until the Occupy Wall St. protests started happening (particularly the ones in NYC because that’s where I live)… and when I would try to have conversations about the protests with people like say…. my mother… I’d run into this issue where my mother’s knowledge of what was going on was COMPLETELY different than what mine was because her news source had been the national news and mine had been Twitter some of whom I was following who were actually at the protests in the flesh.

    We just couldn’t see eye to eye though. She trusted what the national news said because they’re the national news. Everybody watches the national news. You’re supposed to trust them to tell the truth… and in her eyes, the news is more trustworthy than some random person who can post a 140 character sentence on the Internet.

    Whereas, when I look at Twitter, I see friends and acquaintances who’s judgement I trust (mostly, there are some I don’t… but I know who to take with a grain of salt) passing along information about something they saw happen…. and in this particular case, one of the pieces of information that was being passed along was that members of the press were being corralled into designated press areas and not allowed near the protest site when the NYPD was trying to clear out Zuccotti Park.

    Who do you trust then?

    But anyway…. Tangent over.

  11. On November 29th, 2011 at 4:05 pm Tracie Says:

    YES! Just yes, and amen, and you are so right here.

    And that September 11th carnival rocked hard.

  12. On November 29th, 2011 at 5:30 pm Mayor Gia Says:

    I’m fairly new at Tweeting, but I definitely use fbook for that…I’ve found out about major events (ie Bin laden’s death) through facebook posts more than anything else..

  13. On November 29th, 2011 at 7:35 pm Brandon Says:

    I’m not sure what I love more: Your perspective on this piece or that sex kitten hotmail address!

    And I thought my “phatcat” email was cheezy.

    I myself am a news whore. I watch tweets, read the paper (I know, I know) and check out a handful of websites. It’s funny how many slivers you need to take from here and there to piece together the whole, unbiased story.

    In the future, I’m tempted to solely get my news from my oldest son. He ALWAYS has something to share, and it’s always THE COOLEST EVER! Even when it’s Sally farting in class and everybody laughing, it’s always the story of the century.

  14. On November 29th, 2011 at 9:34 pm Victoria Says:

    I live in Texas and earlier this year we had about 5 minutes to leave our house because a spark on a power line had quickly spread to the forests throughout our neighborhood. Once safely at a friends house we all anxiously turned on the TV, hoping for news about our home. For the next few days the “traditional media” told us nothing except bc of the wild fires we were not allowed to return home. I turned to twitter, and got real time tweets from emergency personnel listening to the firefighters radio. From different tweets I was able to learn that the fire had stopped a street away, and that the firefighters had contained the fire in that area. If it had not been for twitter I don’t think I would have slept at all.

  15. On November 29th, 2011 at 11:31 pm Kristin Says:

    Brilliant post my dear…I am damned proud to be part of this brave new world.

  16. On November 30th, 2011 at 4:35 am Miss Adventure Says:

    I never watch news anymore. I turn on MSNBC sometimes in the evening because Rachel Maddow is my television wife and I love the punditry, but that’s about it. Twitter tells me all I need to know–and when it doesn’t, Facebook picks up the slack. I’ve got friends who are hot-and-heavy into news and all that it brings…so I let them cherry-pick for me.

    Alternately, I am highly amused that when I enter “m” in my Firefox address bar, your blog is the first thing it gives me. Why no, I didn’t read all your entries in a rather stalker-like way…>.> I am not a stalker, just a sucker for interesting writing. And I’m quite happy it throws your blog up immediately. Less typing effort for more payoff!

  17. On November 30th, 2011 at 10:52 am Chrisinphx Says:

    The only place I get any news or current events are blogs and the faceplace. My other half has totally banned any type of TV news or political anything…he says I get to wound up and angry.
    I say If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention.
    He is totally out of touch with EVERYTHING going on in the world, you will get a blank stare from him if you talk about anything in the current events. Although, he is the happiest most laid back person I know, so maybe he’s onto something…

  18. On November 30th, 2011 at 2:40 pm Jocelyn Says:

    What a great post – so true, so true. I also just read through the 9/11 posts on Band Back Together. I know it’s now months later, but would it be too late to add another? I’ve never posted on there before, but I was in lower Manhattan that day and would love to share my story with you guys.

  19. On November 30th, 2011 at 2:42 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    We’d LOVE it! Seriously, that’d be fabulous. Any time you want to write it up for us, holler! I’d be SO honored.

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