Community

Sometimes when I run, I hear a Passenger song called “Scare Away the Dark” and it makes me think. [Sidenote: when writing this post, I watched the video I link to above for the first time. I find it very interesting that they edit out the word “fucking” from the line I quote below, but it ends in nudity. It’s charming, and you should watch it.]

Here’s the bit I want you to think about:

We want something more not just nasty and bitter / We want something real not just hash tags and Twitter

It’s the meaning of life and it’s streamed live on YouTube / But I bet Gangnam Style will still get more views / We’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters / But we’re all slowly dying in front of fucking computers

The video shows a classic office drone environment. The dead-eyed stares and the sighs of despair are something I relate to a little too well from my previous job. I think it’s interesting that the eventual Narnia-like eruption of the office workers into what I think of as Elysian Fields occurs en masse. It’s not one or two of them escaping. They go together.

And what I had originally intended to talk about (prior to watching the video) was that staring at a computer can be the start of so many wonderful things – the opposite things of isolation, fear, unceasing monotony. Within WordPress.com (and the much larger WordPress (.org) community) there are so many people who are dedicated to helping each other on their own time, because it matters to them. And there are so many people who rely on this kind of help because they need that human connection, and are part of something much bigger than themselves. The same Reader I scroll through every day when I get a chance is the Reader that one user uses to find other people going through chemo, or another uses to aid their recovery, or to follow beauty trends, or photography, or so many other topics. And if you spend any time in our forums, you see the same familiar faces popping up to help direct people, tag threads for staff intervention, and answer questions.

Anyway. I had prepared an idea in my head of how correct I was in this regard, and how the song got it wrong, but I don’t think it did. I think it’s important to remember that the internet is people, and you get out of it what you put into it. And it can give you the most uplifting experiences, if you work at it. And at the end of the song, all these people do break free, and they do it together. And really, that’s what the internet is, whether you find your community at WordPress or at Pottermore.com (which I just joined this weekend and I am obsessed): it’s where you can be free to be you.

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