Thanks to WordPress editor Kevin Ohannessian, I—formerly a Washington, D.C., cube farmer and now a graduate student in creative writing—became an authority on feminist film theory for 24 hours when my blog was Freshly Pressed.
It was a lot of fun.
Now that the dust has settled, though, it’s time to reflect on my sudden fame. And as one Freshly Pressed blogger did, upload a totally random picture in celebration.
Here’s a screen shot of my achievement:
Here’s a picture of a goat wearing a sweater:
(I took this picture in India, winter of 2010. Turns out that goats wear sweaters for the same reason people do–so they don’t get cold.)
Anyhow, yeah… The Living Notebook racked up thousands of hits, got over a hundred new follows, was like-bombed to pieces, etc.
So is it time to send out one of those obnoxious Facebook-style messages that says, “If you REALLY like me, and you’re REALLY following The Living Notebook, please…”???
No, it’s not time. Because that is a really dumb and childish meme. Moreover, while this blog has made me some more friends, it probably didn’t make me all that many more friends and I would no doubt be disappointed with the results.
For 24 hours I became a small part of the modern-day “echo chamber” phenomenon.
Like the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, every scumbag on “The Bachelor,” and the ridiculously photogenic guy, I became famous for being famous. I was selected by the Powers That Be to shine, and fortunately the Powers That Be have better editorial taste than Hollywood.
If I never come this close to fame again I’ll be okay with that, and yet I must admit that the experience has whetted my appetite for future blogging endeavors.
I don’t think I could ever become a “full-time blogger” as some people have, but I am now thinking more about blogging and its potential to save life on Earth.
Save life on Earth?
We don’t even know how life on Earth got here.
(I know this is a random transition, but bear with me.)
According to one popular scientific theory, Zeus (or perhaps just a bunch of big-ass storm clouds) zapped the waters of Earth with lightning until organic matter started to form.
This is exactly what Freshly Pressed does in my estimation: zaps its portion of the blogosphere to stimulate it, to excite it.
Hour by hour, day by day, life begins to bloom, as Freshly Pressed uses its platform to elevate one blogger after another into the public light, to give them a moment of encouragement and perhaps gain a few more friends.
I’ve noticed that the majority of Freshly Pressed posts often share a number of positive traits–they’re decently written, informative, and interesting.
Like my own Freshly Pressed post, they propagate new ideas, new models, and new ways of seeing. They’re creative. They provide solutions and attempt to understand or analyze problems.
This is really important. Because frankly, the human species isn’t doing so hot right now.
Pick your poison, I suppose, but how about this: July 2012 was the hottest in recorded history.
Arctic ice is melting at an unprecedented rate.
Whereas a decade ago, oil and gas companies would have dismissed scientific evidence of climate change, now they’ve been forced to acknowledge that the globe is getting warmer.
Anyhow, maybe climate change isn’t your thing. Like I said, pick your poison–whether it’s economic collapse, the zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, or bioterrorism, there’s no doubt that every passing year brings the human species one screw-up away from extinction.
Surrounded by opportunities for self-destruction, we need a lot of new ideas and we need them fast.
This is where the blogosphere, WordPress, and editors like Mr. Ohannessian come in.
We need to encourage people who have new ideas to bring them forth.
We need to encourage collaboration.
We need ethics.
We need people with ethics who can elevate content that supports these ideals and ignore content that promotes hate, destruction, and misinformation.
I’m just a foot soldier in the information wars, and like any soldier I sometimes get tired.
That’s why I need to hear the call of the trumpet to spur me forward.
Although I don’t have any illusions about winning the war on my own, I know that every soldier counts because they increase the probability of success.
No, clicks and likes and follows aren’t as powerful as lightning bolts from the sky. But they’re not insignificant, either–and they’re certainly better than deafening silence.
Our ideas are connected in ways that nobody can–and probably never will–understand. If we’re working for the forces of creation, we just have to keep working and keep hoping (or praying) that our ideas are propagating in a way that creates something of value for ourselves and our posterity.
In conclusion, a big thanks to Mr. Ohannessian… to all who visited my blog… and to all who are reading this now, sometime in the future.
H.G. Wells wrote: “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”
Thank you for helping to elevate the level of discourse and to stimulate–whether it’s with bursts of Freshly Pressed lightning or just the push of a “Like” button–our education, our self-worth, our self-awareness.
Hopefully it’s not too late.