Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Are you just going to sit there and take that?

A professor at the University of Calgary, who holds the Canada Research Chair in communications, culture and civil society, has just written a book claiming that most bloggers are lonely, isolated, and socially withdrawn. He maintains that bloggers have made no real impact on political change in society, as we use the medium ineffectively, choosing to concentrate upon our relationships with our cats, rather than attempting any real meaningful dialogue.

Ouch! That's harsh, man.

I would have to take issue with Professor Keren on this theories, as I personally have seen a great deal of impact through blogging.

I admit that there have been no overthrows of the government that have been blog-based, but I just have to think back to the time last year when Matthew Good received a note on his blog (which is one of the best geopolitical blogs I have ever read, take that Professor Keren) from a US soldier who was planning to take his life while listening to Matt's music, which had always meant so much to him. Working through other bloggers in the military, Matt was able to locate this man and ultimately save his life.

And on a far less dramatic scale, I can't forget the huge amount of support that I received from everyone on the blogs during my fight to the death with Office Depot. It was through this support that I was able to maintain my resolve and get all my money back. Okay, not earth-shattering, I know, and perhaps I am playing right into his assertions with that example, but I think that even small changes are important. Baby steps, man, baby steps.

First we take Office Depot, then we take Berlin.

And just to show that blogging serves a vital public service: did you know that if you go to the recycling depot during a snowstorm, you'll likely have the whole place to yourself?

That was my earth-shattering discovery today. Halt the presses!


vwbuglover said...

First, I would like to sincerely express my deep appreciation to all the kind words and support that you forwarded to my sister and myself while I was evaluating the Manitoba Health Care System. I can not thank you people enough! Barb mentioned that I was all verklempft,that is a huge understatment. I have never been so moved,... that individuals that I have never met, would be so thoughtful and caring. You know who you are, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART:)
I was discharged today at 1:30pm and I feel great. I now start a slightly different chapter in my life but what the hell, I'm up for a challenge. The doctors all agree that my physical fitness and maybe my squareheadedness were a huge factor. If this experience has inspired anyone to become or maintain their physical fitness, that is great. A good 2 to 3 hours of sex is a great way to start:)
Again, thank you for all the support it does and did make a difference.
Professor Keren on the other hand (did my tax dollars go to fund this pile of horse shit?), is way out there is left or is that right field. Now where did I send those up and coming players? BLOGGERS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Anyhow, I would just like to thank all of you bloggers that were so kind and thoughtful, it is sincerely appreciated.
Love you all.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hey Bruno, you did make it home today!

WOOOHOOOO!!!!!! Right on, brah!

Great to have you back, but take it easy for a while, okay - maybe keep it to 1.5 hours of sex the first day.

mellowlee said...

YAY! Hi Bruno! So glad you are feeling so well! And to Prof Keren "cram it buster!"

Anonymous said...

Hey cool, Bruno is out of the hospital! Good luck in your new chapter.

Now, as for that dork of a professor who no doubt got a grant for his stupid ideas I take great umbrage at the line, "Choosing to concentrate upon our relationships with our cats!" How rude and of course has nothing to do with how I lead my life! Ha!

There was a woman in Nanaimo that suffered a major health crisis while online and just like the case of Matthew Good her blogging friends were able to track her down and the paramedics managed to get to her in time.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one more point. I think blogging makes the world a little bit smaller and more caring. Now that I have "friends" in different parts of the country and the world I take more notice of what is happening in those places and I think it adds to the feeling of a world shared rather than a world of us and them.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better Bruno!

Re: Keren's comments-

"He maintains that bloggers have made no real impact on political change"
- Why are bloggers being isolated for that anyway? Who the hell has made an impact on political change? Not the Amish. Damn Amish. Driving their fancy buggies thinking they're the shit. All they talk about is turnip yields. Why don't they have a sit-in or something useful?

justacoolcat said...

Certainly when my cat is Queen For Life Professor Keren will be first against the wall.


Allison said...

Yay! Bruno is out of the hospital, that is fantastic news! Hope you can continue on a smooth road to recovery, and best wishes on this next chapter.

RE: Prof comment.
OK, some of you do talk a lot about your cats. JOKING. Seriously, only joking.

And I have to agree with Toccata on blogging makes you take notice to other parts of the world. Even within your own country I find.

What do profs know anyways, today my History prof said global warming didn't exist, right after she gave a little speech about how they didn't teach Marxism in the 60s for there still was the fear of 'the other.'

People need to learn when to shut up. I say pfft to them all.

Anonymous said...

Is that a cat on Bruno's chest in the previous post? Hi Professor! haha.

Leah McLaren made similar idiotic statements last year and at the same time provided the URL of one of her friends' blogs that she felt was worth reading. It didn't stop people from blogging and sadly, didn't result in bigger book sales for her either.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you're doing better Bruno!!!!

2-3 hours of sex? Where do I sign up?

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Bruno's progressing!

I think that Keren's analysis is based on some flawed premises. Speaking for myself, I didn't set out to change the world through my blog. I did it because it gave me an outlet for thoughts, moods, feelings. When I started my blog, I was reeling from a couple of things-- the loss of a job I loved after a two-year struggle with a really evil person, and the loss of one of my closest friends in a horrible way. My blog has allowed me a place to not only sort out things, but found that there's a community of kindred spirits out there, plugging away every day like me, that are kind, interesting and caring. For my part, it has been enormously healing to discover those individuals out there. My motives were strictly personal, and I suspect most bloggers' motives are. That does not diminish blogs in any way.

Anonymous said...

PS-- Loved the Leonard Cohen reference! My best friend and I have had a many-years friendly argument over the meaning of "First We Take Manhattan."

Anonymous said...

Excellent words Johnny Yen. I'm you but with less feeling and musical knowledge. :-)

Barbara said...

Good to hear your back in action Bruno... 2 to 3 hours eh.... wow!
Maybe you should start slow like 20 to 30 minutes...

I saw that same bit of research news on The Hours blog and all I could think of was yeah... I'm a lonely blogger...sigh!

Blogging has been my therapy this past year though... it has lead me to you all and lead my down that road to .... how do you spell perdition? or h e l l or somethin'
It's been great though. :-)
I have to say chat rooms also save peoples lives... I have heard many stories about people in grave health or suicidal on chat rooms at the time and other chatters call 911 for them and get send them help..This has happened to a chat friend who was having a seizure in Montreal and the guy she was chatting with was in the US. She could not speak but she could still type, sort of. She's OK now.
So chat rooms and blogging do make a did CB radio back in my teen years...

Maybe I should get a cat.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

hahahah @ cram it, buster! I'm going to use that the next time someone pisses me off at Safeway, Mel.

"a world shared" - you are absolutely right, Toccata. Aside from the very real interaction that blogging gives us (even those of us who occasionally discuss their cats), it does open up the world more intimately.

And you know who the worst offenders are, John? Amish bloggers. They talk about turnip yield online, burning up bandwidth like crazy.

I certainly would not mess around with a cat that knows Radiohead, JustA.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

And your prof saw no disconnect with that comment, Allison. Wait a minute, don't tell me - she wears a baggy tshirt, short shorts and sandals all year round, right?

I wonder if it upped her friend's readership any, Dale. Did she feel compelled to attack cat lovers as well?

Bruno will be distributing a sign-up sheet later, Karen.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's a fantastic testiment to blogging, Johnny Yen. People start blogging for a lot of reasons, I think, but there is almost always some form of therapy in it, even if only to get your thoughts out of your head and into another medium.
And the friends that you meet are a rather unexpected, but so extremely, sweet surprise. Personally I am really glad you started blogging.
I've never understand the meaning of that song, but I sure love quoting it!

But it's your feelinglessness and musiclessness that make you so appealing, Dale!

I think any medium that allows people to connect more is to be celebrated, BArbara W. Blogging fulfills so many needs: creative, social, therapeutic. You really should need a prescription for it.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Bruno's doing so well! :)

Hey Bruno, don't listen to these prudes, I say have all the sex you want. :P lol

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Don't encourage him, Alana!

Anonymous said...

Far from being socially withdrawn or isolated, the bloggers (and email list contributers) I've met have been very outgoing, busy and involved. It's as if there's so much going on in the heads and lives of these folks that it just spills over, and they're always looking for another forum to connect with others and express themselves.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hi Bubs, and welcome!
I think you are absolutely correct in your theory. These are very active and interactive people that we are talking about.