Monday, June 26, 2006

living web

I didn't know Meg (Michelle Goodrich). I was aware of her, via others, but to my knowledge we didn't exchange emails. I occasionally visited her blog, and have reason to think she sometimes visited here. My condolences to all who love her.

The host of kind notices of her passing offers some index of what that loss means. What I wonder is whether the world of blogs and "connectivity" is of any use at all here. Of course the notices are valuable in themselves. But they remain notices of a life suddenly gone, after the fact. Is this what the much trumpeted promise of connectedness was supposed to bring? Or, was there supposed to be something more vital - pace Gates and his nervous system - ? Something that might have tilted this replica of the world of print toward something more organic, more anticipating, more alive with the sense that Meg was moving toward something. I don't have an answer. I'm just wondering if we have any actual clue of how to use this thing we've got.


Anonymous kluas said...

Four years ago the "lead developer" of the Postnuke CMS project died in a motorcycle accident. Postnuke was/is an unfunded open source software project used on thousands of websites - coded by people working in their spare time. The "lead core developer", Greg Allan, worked in a gas station.

Here's a page where a lot of people lit an online candle for him:

Here's another page where someone who never met him narrates a trip to his funeral and conveys to his family what he meant to thousands of people they didn't know about:

Mixed all around in those pages there is a genuine grief, for the person and for the thwarted movement towards something else.

6/26/2006 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Stu Savory said...

Hi Tom,
thankyou for your condolences and thoughts.

E-friendships are different somehow. It's difficult to help someone from half a world away. Emails and phone calls can only go so far. Writing "{hugs}" is no substitute for the real thing.

I don't really know how to cope with this phenomenon. Linking to all the obits is my way of sharing my grief, which I need to do. But perhaps silence is better? Not for me.

Suggestions welcome.

6/27/2006 3:08 PM  
Anonymous tom said...

Stu, Klaus - it would horrify to think my musing was construed as in any way suggesting a criticism. Where I was coming from was (perhaps an inappropriate place for this moment, but in essence) a sense that we may not as yet have learned how to attend to signs, hints, issues, predicaments to which we are linked via others - and in these links may lie clues to what might be helpful before things reach crisis level.

The blogosphere - and I really hate that word - once seemed to be in advance of print - in forms, in language, in modes of apprehension and expression. Now it's almost as if it - or a preponderance of it - is taking its cue from the MSM, living up to the tired and cliched expectations to which it is being held. There's my gripe. If we can't do better than print - I mean, so much better that the tired industries of ink will have no idea what we are up to - then what is it we are doing?

Some people apparently knew there was reason for concern about Meg. We might begin to learn from this how to think, connect, in ways that possibly could have been helpful. And here I have no specifics to offer, because I have none in Meg's case to work with. But if these connections we are building mean anything, they might mean we have a major learning curve so as to begin to act - in some way - supportwise, being in touchwise, basic needs wise - before we're belatedly fraught with tragic, sudden surprise.

6/27/2006 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the internet definitely does not produce the capacity for the identification of algorithms of need.

Maybe the value of the internet is that it reproduces, in a way that allows some perspective of distance, the limitations of what preceded it.

And that's how you change.

6/27/2006 8:52 PM  
Anonymous klaus said...

that was klaus, not anon.

6/27/2006 8:53 PM  
Blogger Juke said...

One of the values, klaus/not-klaus.
There's something in this question resonant of trying to find out how to "use" a baby.
How do you use a baby?
Print journalism,as most of us know it, became something over time at a human pace. It could almost be said to have held still while we described it.
This thing-internet is becoming something at a mechanical pace that's not limited by any of the metrics that confined journalism on its way to becoming what it was, is, in its final iteration.
Mechanical no longer means slow and choppy, now it means the ascendant arc toward faster-than-light rate-of-change.
Any doubts that print journalism's reached its cumulative end point? That it will no longer evolve without becoming something other.
That it can now be talked about as having become what it is?
Any doubts this thing we're still calling the internet is still infant and growing at exponential rates in more than four directions?
One of the unarticulated questions is maybe the not-yet officially codified protocols of human response in this virtual, mediated, light-saturated other-parallel dimension.
Grief on Mars.

6/27/2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger dkgoodman said...

A hug is a wonderful thing, bringing people closer in emotional and physical ways, but it is a transient event with but memories after the fact.

What the internet has brought us is a way to transcend a single moment in time. Giving a hug engages all the senses, and then is gone. Giving a *hug* is often hollow, but it leaves a trail of its passing, that others may follow, and say, "This person hugged that person!" It is a lasting connection, that reflects on all the participants.

Meg is gone. (*sigh*) I never had the pleasure of meeting her in person, but the Internet has allowed her to reach out and touch others, people living on the other side of the planet, and people living in the future. Her passing has raised the world's awareness of her, and now some (like at least one visitor to my site) now can read her words, see her talent and benefit from her talent, even after she's passed. Michelle is immortal. What more can we ask?

6/27/2006 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Michelle's daughter, I can tell you that although some may see this as just print, and maybe writing hugs isn't the same as giving them....but for my mom, this meant a lot to her. She was able to meet people she would have NEVER met living in West Sacramento, CA. Maybe not in person, but in spirit. She was able to share her knowledge, to be useful, and she loved every minute of it. In reading everyone's words, I find that in some ways you all knew my mom like I never could. I knew my "Mom," you all knew "Michelle" or "Mandarin Meg." I also can say that some did reach out to her....they know who they are..and did the best that they could ever do.

I can tell everyone out there, that I find great comfort in their kind words. My mom's life was touched by all of you, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you. Please remember her....

6/28/2006 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meg, Michelle, MandarinMeg, she reached to me and gave me much more than code. Without her, I wouldn't have started a blog, which saved my sanity when I started it. And Meg was there to help.
Internet friendship may be different from 'real life' ones in that you cannot actually hug people, but I know that I have hugged Meg quite a few times in different occasions. Wish I had been there to hug her when she last needed it.

6/28/2006 3:19 AM  
Anonymous Claude said...

I didn't mean the last comment to be anonymous but couldn't fill in the name and webpage then

6/28/2006 3:20 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

I hope to emphasize that there is no question of the value of online connection at issue here. The question is whether, and how, those connected might have been able to be more "present" to Michelle while she was still with us.

6/28/2006 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone was "present." If you read all the comments, from all the blogs, you see people who truly cared for Meg, loved her. I can also tell you that the hand extended did go farther that this "blogosphere." Some of you called her, emailed her, tried to help and assist in the only ways you know how, and those ways are no different than the ways her family knew. We must all grieve, but we can't all hold the guilt on our shoulders for what we think we could have done, should have done. We all tried, we all loved, and now we all must cry, because she is gone.

6/29/2006 1:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said, anonymous. Very well said.

6/29/2006 9:26 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

I tend not to dialogue with anons, but "guilt?" wtf???

6/29/2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous kaus said...

"Technocracies engender masses by commodifying the interactions between people. The blogosphere is a perfect example of how interaction has been commodified and reduced to the exchange of attention. In an attention economy, attention is capital, and bloggers with (bigger) audiences can capitalize on that attention —quite literally, if they are using things like Google ads. But a blogger with lots of readers can be said to have rich social interactions with them in the same impoverished sense that a person in MySpace with lots of contacts can be said to have many good friends. In fact, I would suggest that the more attention capital is accrued, the less opportunities for meaningful social interaction are engendered, and the more entrenched one's position in a mass becomes."

7/04/2006 12:26 AM  
Anonymous tom said...

finally someone has opened some space in the cloistered realm of produce/consume. Thanks k(l?)aus for the link. I have some questions provoked by it, and I'm grateful for them.

7/04/2006 10:21 AM  

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