Last time I promised to share some thinking on how use of the Internet might be propelled in the right direction off the cusp upon which I suggested it is currently perched.
What I think is needed is a movement to make the virtual communities of the Internet into real communities. That idea certainly has potential for our community, i.e., Common Sense for the Third Millennium, at least. Here’s what I’m thinking of: “Spaghetti-Blog” parties.
The idea is to make the virtual community of an e-mail list like the one that this blog derives from, into a thousand independently functioning interactive social groups working in real time and space. What appeals most to me about the whole phenomenon of the “blog” versus an e-mail list (or “Listserv”) is its interactivity. The best bloggers stimulate vigorous participation amongst the readers via the comments sections, where everyone can join the discussion and add their voices, knowledge and perspective to the thinking on a topic, all without having had to go to all the hassle of building a following themselves.
To date, this blog certainly hasn’t risen to that level of participation, but I am forever hopeful. However, the Spaghetti-Blog party really revolves around the e-mail list, anyway, for the personalization such a list assumes is critical to the success of the idea. Here’s how I envision “Spaghetti Blog” parties working:
I’ve been holding frequent dinner parties for small groups of friends. The menu is very simple, consisting of spaghetti, bread, salad, and something to drink. Special dietary requirements are met by the ones with the requirement and anyone who wants to contribute is encouraged to do so, so we often have nice desserts as well, but it’s not necessary. It’s trivial to host. And it’s fun, to boot.
My dinners have been mostly focused on what we can do with Common Sense for the Third Millennium, but yours can focus as you wish, and mine will obviously evolve, especially if this idea finds purchase in the fertile soil of your practices. Of course, I hope you’ll begin by discussing the ideas in this blog. In your invitations simply mention that the gathering is a social event with a focus and refer the guests to the specific topic (email invites or follow-ups to a verbal contact are ideal because of the ability to include links such as http://www.intheserviceofgaia.com/wordpress/ for easy reference). Other sources are obviously just as available, and you may well find other sources more stimulating.
If you have contact with a number of people who’ve bought In The Service Of Gaia: The Call, or who’ve all seen Gore’s movie, say, that might serve better, for example, although how these would fit in with my proposed salvation of the Internet is not quiet so clear. If you’d like to familiarize yourself, or introduce your friends, to the book, read the section “a new marketing model” at http://www.intheserviceofgaia.com/nmm.html
Send invitations with the proper reference to the topic to a small group of people that you know and like or would like to know and like better. Invite them to a Spaghetti-Blog, real-time dinner, where the topic of choice will be discussed. Then have a very simple dinner with copious servings of red wine and have a good time with real people–all courtesy of the magic of the Internet.
If you do choose to reference this blog, please participate with us by making a record of the discussion and submitting it as a comment on the appropriate entry here. Growing the community is, after all, up to you.
Do it as often as you like. As I said, it’ll be easy and fun, and can only enhance your social life, even if you choose to do it only with already close friends. Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org that the group exists, please, and how it went.
Make the virtual community real. That’s the idea I’m trying to get at. What we don’t need, I think, is to see this medium exacerbate the already overwhelming isolation modern people seem to find themselves forever in. Just because the initial communication comes from someone across an ocean doesn’t mean we can’t turn it into the stimulus of a truly social network. The potential is great, and certainly isn’t restricted to people or thoughts like my own. But it does require active participation by people like you. To pilfer an idea from one of the great political thinkers, Tip O’Neill, “All change is local.”
Change the world.
Next time I’ll try to suggest a means of moving the economy of money toward an economy of ideas.
I honor in you the place in which the entire universe dwells:
That place which is of love and light,
of truth and peace.
When you are in that place in you,
And I am in that place in me,
We are one.*
* Thanks to Elaine Hoem via Barbara Truman
P.S.: As always, a request you join us with a contribution to Common Sense for the Third Millennium, a 501(c)3 organization, at Box 7987 SLT, CA 96158.
P.P.S.: I’ve posted a response to the earlier comment on the “Scatological? Maybe.” entry of 2/1/07.