Content Ninja's Weblog

An exploratory journey on the edge of newspaper evolution

Creative thinking August 8, 2008

Filed under: community — contentninja @ 5:14 pm
Cab Calloway and The Cotton Club Orchestra, 19...Image via Wikipedia

What a week on the homefront.

Sitter canceled on me, and it was a mad scramble to make other arrangements. Peanut is 9 and an only child — not old enough to be home alone all day and too old for the preschooler day care next door. Well, OK, if I’d been desperate enough, I would have explored that option. Samurai took a day, I took two and a friend bailed me out on the other two. (We had a dance party Thursday afternoon, where we shimmied to Hannah Montana and Cab Calloway. It’s funny to see a thoroughly modern 9-year-old dance to “Minnie the Moocher.”)

Egad, say The Blog Boys. She’s one of those — sniff — Mom bloggers. Well, motherhood isn’t why I’m writing here, but it’s part of me and so it crops up. Deal, fellas.

Which brings me to today’s rant, er, post. I think online engagement has social development stages that mirror childhood development.

Not unlike middle school, this social media frontier sometimes feels downright clique-ish. The same names crop up , from Twitter to Google Reader to FriendFeed, with cross-links and trackbacks and back-slapping comments in between. People huddling for warmth in the dark of the blogosphere is one driver for this, but after a while, It starts to feel insular and — dare I say it? — elitist.

Now, it’s true that I can change the players in an affinity group by ceasing to follow some of them and starting to follow others, but just like middle school, I’m fascinated by this in-group. Oh, insider antics can be a turn-off, and I for one don’t need to be one of the beautiful people, but I like knowing what they’re into. They’re setting the tone, if not the agenda.

I expect this fascination with the “popular kids” will wane, because while the online connections are cool, they’re not real relationships. A handful of them may remain on my must-read list, but only a few and only those I feel a real connection to.

Jeff Jarvis, blogging about “The Myth of the Creative Class,” argues that one of the great things about the Internet is that it robs the creative class of its pedestal and “opens up creativity past one-size-fits-all mass measurements and priestly definitions and lets us not only find what we like but find people who like what we do.” (Note: It’s not about Richard Florida.)

I like that thought, that if a community gets to be too snobbish, anyone can blow it apart (read: leave) by putting his/her own talents on the line in a different online community and being judged by many peers, not just the elite few.

We mature and no longer need the in-group to validate us. See. It’s like growing up all over again.

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