Final Words to the Blogosphere
There are a lot of people out there cheering, people who consider the blogosphere a waste of time or worse. To them I say, no one ever forced you to keep a blog, or to read anyone else's blog. Blogging is a far more pleasant way to waste time than most of the ones I know. And I don't believe it really is a waste of time at all. The founders of the United States, the men who drew up our Constitution, believed free speech was important.
Their experiment turned out so well, many other societies became convinced freedom of speech was important, too. Well, blogging is the most perfect outlet for freedom of speech man has ever imagined. Anyone, even the nutjob over there wearing his tinfoil hat to block the mind control rays his neighbour's squirrel is beaming to him, can say whatever they want on their blog. And yet, bloggers don't annoy you walking down the street, they don't litter your lawns with hate-laced filth, they don't make any real fuss or mess. You don't have to read a single blog if you don't want to.
So blogging offers perfect freedom of speech to everyone, while offering perfect freedom of attention to everyone else. No one ever has to read about that squirrel and his mind control rays. No one ever has to read flimsy excuses for hatred. Everyone can read whatever they please. If tinfoil hats amuse you, you can learn how to make one. And everyone can respond to whatever they read; if you find a nasty, hateful blog, you are able to counter it by writing sane and tolerant posts of your own.
Yes, there are a few things we should not tolerate, but for the most part, tolerance is a necessary part of society. Blogging nurtures tolerance, as bloggers link to one another and have the chance to read very different opinions from their own. It gives everyone a voice, and lets the rest of us understand how others live. It sometimes allows strangers to help each other, which is surely a good thing.
It offers the chance to understand things you've never even thought about, to learn about things you knew nothing about, and to discover writers and artists you otherwise never would have heard of. It offers obscure people the chance to share their talents with the world, and gives the best of them some opportunity to have those talents recognised. No matter how many or how few bloggers understand this, what we do is the essence of freedom, of equality, of growing understanding.
And, of course, for a writer or anyone who ever even thought about writing, blogging is paradise. It offers a free, easy way to write and to publish your words in a forum where others will read them and respond. Those are the things we will all lose when the blogosphere is shut down tomorrow. Let us remember them, let us never forget them, let us struggle day and night to bring them back.
Some of you will remind me, if you have time to leave a comment, that there are nasty bloggers, and petty bloggers, foolish ones and vain ones. All that is true; bloggers are part of the human race, and we share the bad traits as well as the good. Yet blogging has given us a tool, one that can do great things if used wisely. If you look back and wish you'd done better, learn that lesson well. If we do somehow keep our right to blog, the lesson you learned will help you make better use of the tool before you.
On a more personal level, I will hate to leave the blogosphere behind. There are so many blogs that make me think, and there are hidden jewels of fiction, or poetry, however painful. And when I ache with a suffering poet, I hope one day to read she has escaped the Monster and is free to live. I want to know how all your lives turn out!
I will miss the blogs I read, I will miss my readers, I will miss the act of blogging. If only it were not true, the idea of the blogosphere coming to an end would be an instructive one, for it has made me think of all blogging is, and all it means to me. In the time I've been blogging, I've deleted one or two really awful comments, and responded to one or two hurtful ones. But it has all be worth it to me, and I will leave with many more happy memories than sad ones.
My only real regret as the last day of blogging approaches is this: I regret the days I never posted, I regret the days I could have said something but stayed silent. I will think of all of you, and remember you fondly, and hope your lives all turn out well. And, if by some miracle the blogosphere is saved, I'll link you up once again with a light heart. And I know I have friends now in places I've never even been, and that is a wonderful thing.
So I say to everyone who has the chance to read this; look at all the things blogging has to offer you. Look at all it can offer those around you, and all it can offer the world at large. Obscure fringe groups have the chance to be heard, and perhaps make themselves understood. The sick, the shy, the ugly, the awkward, all have another chance to make friends. Bloggers can band together to do good, to spread important words, to offer comfort.
Remember those things. Remember the blogosphere is as real as any other part of human interaction, and every blogger is a real person. You say some people pretend to be what they're not on their blogs? Of course they do; some people pretend to be what they're not in other ways, too. No fair criticism of bloggers or blogging cannot be said about other aspects of human life as well. So remember what we have here, wake up and see it for what it is. Work to save it, restore it, improve it, to make it everything it can be.
In conclusion, as you must surely realise, I very much hope these will not be my final words to the blogosphere, and pray that awful Act will be overturned by the Supreme Court at the last moment. I urge you all to support a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing everyone the Freedom to Blog. And I hope to be back at my keyboard, posting again. If that is not to be, I only regret the fact it has ended. Even the pain of losing the blogosphere is not enough to make me wish I had never discovered blogging. I will miss you all, and I will think of you, as I write in my paper journal, such a very poor substitute for the real thing, blogging.
Tish, from The Kat House, tagged me for a rather interesting meme, which asks each blogger to consider "If the blogosphere were coming to an end 24 hours from now, what would your final post be?". Even though Tish dismissed the greatest Web 2.0 tool of all time, not even including it in a Web 2.0 meme she participated in, I still have no choice but to forgive her. After all, she was very complimentary in her comment when she let me know I'd been tagged.
I'm also very grateful to Tish, since writing this post has made me think. I could only think of one reason (short of the impending extinction of the entire human race) I could know the blogosphere would come to an end in 24 hours. That's right, politicians! Those people who make a mess of everything good trying to fix the bad, without ever really improving anything. And when I thought about the possibility they might take all this away, I realised just how much I would miss it. The words above are real, they are exactly what I would say in such a situation, well, except for the much more unkind comments I'd slip in about the politicians who were responsible for it all...
Yes, it is traditional in a meme to tag others. The trouble is, I'm never sure if the person I'm tagging would really like to be tagged. So I'll say this; I've found the meme to be a valuable prompt to force me to think about blogging and what it means to me. If you read this, and would like to participate, consider yourself tagged!