Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Connected, Part One: Collaboration and Dialogue on the Internet

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last month I wrote a post at the Lost Daughters that was inspired by an experience I had while reading the memoir Taking Down the Wall. The book's author is the adoptee Christine Murphy, a virtual friend of mine whom I "met" through facebook. My Lost Daughters post (on the subject of adoptee anger) generated not only a lot of comments at at the original post but also three responses by first mothers at the blogs helloooo, i'm bleeding, here!, One Option Means No Choice, and Letters to Ms. Feverfew. I was thrilled with the responses!

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A couple of weeks ago a Ted Talk video called "The Dangers of a Single Story" was posted on the adopted ones blog, a blog I read regularly. The blogger had posted the same video 4 times previously and I had probably seen every single one of the posts, but I had never taken the time to watch the video. I finally watched and I'm so glad I did. It was 18 minutes very well spent! The content of the talk was still on my mind when another of my online friends, blogger Laura Dennis, posted on her blog on November 11, writing on the subject of the treatment of women in Serbia. (Do you have a preconception about that? Laura's post may surprise you.) I mentioned the Single Story video to Laura; she watched it and was in turn inspired to mention the video in her next blog post, about the movie Slaughter Nick for President. As she said to me on twitter earlier today, "It [the Single Story talk] helped me form my opinions/premise about this movie's importance."


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Last week, the comment section of an old blog post of mine experienced a renewed period of activity. Several members members of the online adoption community joined the conversation, and one, Lynn Grubb of No Apologies for Being Me (yet another of my online adoptee friends), went so far as to write a response on her own blog. The collaborative power of the Internet strikes again!


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And then there was this (virtual) conversation which I participated in for Brain,Child magazine, at the invitation of Dawn Friedman, yet another online friend.


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These are just a few of the many ways that my online creative life has been intertwined with the thoughts and creations of others in the last month. You maybe thinking: This woman spends way too much time on the Internet! And you are probably right. Certainly there are times when the Internet is like a bad boyfriend, one who seems far less committed to the relationship than I am. There are those days when I click and click, without really finding what I am after. And what am I seeking? Connection? Inspiration? A sense of purpose? Wouldn't I be better served by shutting off the computer and turning my attention to the carbon-based lifeforms who are closest to me in real space? Am I cheating on real life with cyber life? Is online community created at the expense of face-to-face community?

Yes and no. Absolutely, the family members and friends who share my life most directly must remain my top priority. The are times when it is absolutely essential that I shut down the machine and turn my attention elsewhere. Human beings need more than mental stimulation; we also need touch, voices, facial expressions, etc. But in this post, I am primarily focused on the benefits of online connectedness, rather than on the drawbacks of "too much time online." As is so often the case, it is not all one thing or the other; the benefits and the drawbacks coexist. Today, I am feeling thankful for the collaboration and dialogue made possible by the Internet. Today, I send up a shout-out of appreciation for all of those mentioned above, as well as the many, many others who engage with me as part of big (at times global) conversations on adoption reform and other matters. It is exciting to be a part of it all!


This post is one of a series of posts on the subject of connection. To read the full series, please click here

5 comments:

  1. Good post, the connection to other adult adoptees is something I cherish. It is a gift to have others understand a feeling - even though I still don't have the words to make those who didn't experience it, understand. Thanks for the shout out.

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  2. Thank you for this lovely post on virtual c

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  3. Thank you for this lovely post on virtual connectedness. I'm not in the adoption community, but have found connection in other virtual places and see the positive aspects of an online presence. I also understand people's concern about spending "too much" time online, but don't want to throw out the good with the bad. Surfing, tweeting, posting, commenting, instagramming (?) intentionally and with a mindful attitude can be a wonderful way to connect with friends and family near or far and to meet new friends.

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  4. "intentionally and with a mindful attitude" <-- I love that way of phrasing it! Thank you, Joyce.

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  5. You're very welcome. Thanks for the comment!

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