One of my quests for the year (doesn’t that sound way more interesting than “goals”?) is to get deeper. I seem to live like a pendulum – I spent too many years buried deep in my own head – then years at the other extreme. I’d like to live in the middle. I don’t want too much more of life to pass me by without taking more time to sit, meditate, explore. I used to blog all the time. So today I’m dusting off my brain and will freestyle for a bit. Today’s topic: Hoomanity
When I look around the world, I see us (humans, that is) becoming less and less tolerant. Tolerant of anything, but especially each other. You see it reflected in movies, television, news – in schools, at work, any where there are 2 or more people gathered together – and most definitely on the internet. It’s an interesting (and depressing) phenomena. I used to blame the judging reality tv shows for encouraging us to pick each other apart – but it started LONG before that. The stank of snark is everywhere. So it’s really special when you find a group of people that accept you and make you feel “normal”, like a little bee girl.
There is hope! There are communities of people who are earnestly striving to be a positive thing in the world – and those groups are growing rapidly. The world needs more of that, dontcha think? So here’s a few shout-outs…
- “Nerdfighteria” (followers of Hank Green and John Green, the vlogbrothers, and their growing circle of thoughtful, entertaining and educational vloggers. In addition to their own channels and vlogbrothers, you can find them on YouTube on SciShow CrashCourse, and loads of others. Their videos are used in schools and I just love their approach to sharing and expanding knowledge and awareness. Their annual Project for Awesome campaign last year raised over $1.5 million. MILLION. Most of that is money raised by nerds, geeks, and folks who just want to chip in and help others in need. It’s amazing. DFTBA (don’t forget to be awesome!)
- Jenny Lawson – a.k.a. The Bloggess. She’s written 2 books – both funny and painfully honest about being socially awkward, living with mental and physical health issues, but determined to survive – even thrive. Www.thebloggess.com is a quirky and wondrous place. Her openness inspires others to freely discuss topics that used to be hidden in the dark. The comment sections often bring me to tears of empathy and joy. There was Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken – an epic husband-wife battle of wills and probably the thing that made me fall in love with her! Three days ago, Jenny introduced “Booksgiving“. It started small – she wanted to give away some copies of her book. Other people joined in “how can we help?” In 3 short days, over 1600 posts of people asking for a little help – not much, just a book to help them get through a bad day – and the amazing responses. That can make a world of difference to someone hurting – just feeling heard and acknowledged. The tidal-wave of support from one human to another is so beautiful. The message is clear “You’re hurting? I’ve been there. Let me help you through and then you can help someone else later.” If you’re ever sad or lonely, visit TheBloggess.
- Geek and Sundry’s “Team Hooman”. You may be familiar with Felicia Day (Buffy, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Eureka, Supernatural, etc.). She started Geek and Sundry with YouTube shows like The Guild, The Flog, Co-Optitude, and TableTop (with Wil Wheaton). Last March, G&S started a channel on Twitch tv – normally a place showing people playing video games and people telling them how much they suck. G&S Twitch has raised that bar SO much higher. In just a year they have grown to thousands of viewers – even setting a record Thursday for 20,000 tuned in to watch Critical Role, their live D&D show. As a community, they achieve powerful things. When a call goes out for help, the outpouring of response is truly touching. Nicknamed “Hoomans”, fans/followers of G&S have donated dollars and hours to charities or just helping out each other. The site encourages respect and acceptance, regardless of some of the labels that divide us so rigidly elsewhere (race, religion, sexual identity, and so on). So much so, that the chat room is usually active 24×7 even if there isn’t a broadcast taking place, and “meet-ups” take place sporadically around the world. It’s give and take, not take and take some more. I love it.
I’ve been surfing the web since the mid-1980s (remember CompuServe? Anyone? *crickets) and these are some of the most positive, inspiring and FUN places to hang out. I think what makes them special is how interactive they are – between the “host” and the viewer and across all the layers in between.
Is there a community that makes you feel like you’re part of something special? On or off the web? Let’s help them boost the signal.