Reverb10, day 7:
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
Tough word: community. You are either in or you are out, there’s no in-between. All that togetherness and pressure to fit in can shake me up. I am not good with crowds, have never managed to successfully engage at, and enjoy, a cocktail party. I can do it, but it takes a ridiculous amount of energy, an emergency escape plan and sometimes a little Xanax.
And then I discovered Twitter. No unnerving mixed signals, no weird eye-contact-not-equaling-emotional-vibe, no loud crowds or hooting inside joke laughter, no personal questions out of left field, “So D, WHY aren’t you married?” (Engage exit strategy, now).
On-line, no one cares what I do for a living, or where I work, or where I bought this blouse , or what my hair looks like today, unless, it’s particularly good, or bad, and I post a photo of it to share.
It’s kind of like show-and-tell for grown ups. Or a gaggle of girlfriends gabbing at the kitchen counter. It’s a fairytale I’d like to have in real life but haven’t quite found, like Prince Charming or a Desperate Housewife. It looks romantic, or tight-knit, but does it exist?
Twitters authenticity is questionable. Would any of these people like me in real life–or me, them? I don’t know. We are putting our best rehearsed selves out there– or our worst selves, or our most outrageous selves. It isn’t who I am in public, or maybe it is if I were braver, if I had a posse, a pack, a tribe.
I certainly talk about them enough:
Tony in Pacifica, runs a bait shop, said the funniest thing the other day…
Madeline, in Idaho, a mom of FOUR, got caught without diapers last week. We all suggested she pour herself a drink and we laughed with her until she stopped crying. She’s amazing…
Cheryl’s husband is in Iraq. Julia bought the most beautiful vintage dress. Martha lost her job. Matt wrote his first play…
My friend says, “but you don’t KNOW these people”, and I disagree. We share a lot more here than we do at cocktail parties. They know more about me than you do…
They are my treasure box of epistolary frienships, the gab without the kitchen. We just makeshift with virtual cocktails, emoticons and TwitPics.
What do I want in community for 2011? An iPhone, so I can take them all with me when I leave the house.