I’ve been asked to comment, or speak on, the aspect of community amongst bloggers, and mummy bloggers in particular, quite a few times lately. I’ve heard it’s been discussed a bit on the interwebs lately too, but I am so damn out of the loop at the moment you might not want to quote me on that.
I wrote, a while back, in the Before, about the online community of mums and dads. What I say there, stands.
Multiplied by a thousand tweets, a million prayers, hundreds of emails, and 12 000 bucks.
Another question I’ve been asked a bit lately (people like to ask you questions when you win awards, I’ve discovered) is, well… for lack of a more eloquent way to phrase it, if blogging about what happened to Tony was simply a way of cashing in on life experience.
After all, isn’t it great writing material?
Every time I get asked that, it’s like a bucket of cold water in the face. Because, as most of you know, the first post I wrote after this happened wasn’t about writing. It wasn’t about blogging.
It was about prayers. It was a desperate woman, asking people who loved her for whatever they could give, to help form a miracle. It was me, in the most pain, the most confusion I’ve ever been in in my life, asking for help and love and support. From my community.
And that other post, the ugly one…? I know, it’s become a spectacle, a car crash of a blog post,one of the most viewed pages in my domain. But when I wrote it, that never even crossed my mind.
I was reliving, exposing.. purging the ugliness from my system. Into the arms of people who I know are intelligent, compassionate, brave and open minded… people who could handle it’s weight.
I don’t know how many of you would remember this, and to be honest I don’t why why I remember it. It happened years ago, but it stuck with me. An online mumma- one like us- suffered the same horrible sort of trauma that I did when her baby boy was found unconscious in her backyard swimming pool.
She Tweeted, asking for prayers. And then sent another Tweet, later that night, confirming that her baby boy had passed away.
People crucified her. The basic tone was that this woman was more concerned with her online identity than the welfare of her child.
At the time, I guess I agreed, allowing my opinion to meld with that of the journalists writing in that tone, the public outrage that was expressed across the Web.
Now, I don’t judge. I totally get this chick. If I had had an iPhone, what would the temptation had been to tweet? Not in the first half hour, surely, but in the immediate hours after, waiting at the hospital.. definitely.
Would I have been judged that harshly? Wasn’t she simply reaching on to her online community, the same way I was? I know I was judged harshly, for writing the way I did (A special thank you here to the editors of Essential Baby forum- I’m not sure what that thread about me that you removed said, but I got the feeling it wasn’t very complimentary). Thankfully, most people seemed to err toward sympathy, rather than condemnation….
But I was probably walking a very fine line there for a while.
Tell me there is no community here, and I’ll show this first post, and the 300 comments that come with it. I’ll show this post, or this one, or this one. I’ll show you $12000 donated, and a stack of parcels and packages, and cards and flowers and wishes, all for a family that these people had only read about, and never met.
I’ll show emails that keep arriving, every day. Ones to say I’m thinking of you. Ones to offer practical help and support, from food to clothes to cash to babysitting.
Tell me there’s no community, and I’ll tell you that one of the best weekends of my life was at the Aussie Bloggers Conference (sponsor plug- remember Bamboo Village?!) meeting friends who I already knew.
Tell me there’s no community here… and I’ll show you me. Night after night, day after day. For weeks on end, being sustained by love that flowed in in pixel format, faith and hope and support that was being sent by wifi.
Try to show me there isn’t an online community that exists among us… and I’ll show you me. Walking. Breathing. Still surviving.
Living proof that the connection between us all… it’s real.