There I was reading the wonderful comments re a blog post; deeply engrossed until I heard the tell-tale rumble of the diesel engine of the bus. I looked up with a grin on my face straight into the face of another commuter who, curiously, meets my eyes with an equally beaming smile. I step up into the bus to be greeted by a likewise smiling bus driver. It is a curious thing all these smiles.
I tend to make a habit of trying to make eye contact with a least one other soul on my journey and to acknowledge them with a brief smile. I am not surprised if my eyes are avoided or the smile is mutely returned. Sadly in our increasingly digitally connected world we seem to sometimes struggle to connect with those immediately in front of us. But today seemed different. Was the whole world smiling today? Had my grin of satisfaction become contagious?
Then, as I sat down, it dawned on me. Perhaps it was, in fact, the universe’s beaming face smiling down on me. Having a quiet chuckle among its glimmering stars at my expense. For it was at this moment that I realised I hadn’t taken note of what bus had pulled up in front of me! I had just blindly stepped on…distracted in that moment by the words I had been reading. Distracted by the mobile device; the cause of many a distracted mishap!
There was naught for it now but to take a journey into the unknown on this happy bus and ponder.
What was it about the comment that had me so enthralled that the here and now had faded away? The blog has evolved from a place to store my random thoughts and ramblings into a form of social media. A construction of friendship around a shared interest as apposed to a shared history. It’s a different sense of community (cf. FB). There is no compulsion to like or comment because they are your ‘friend’ but because you have connected on another level. Something they/you have written or photographed has resonated. The reverberations of which return in the form of statistics, stars and comments
The notion of writing a blog, for me, is about putting thoughts, ideas and notions of creativity out there into the blogosphere. It is also about the feedback. Those affirmations that let you know that someone somewhere has taken some notice. Been affected in some way.
Those affirmations come in a number of ways. Confirmation that another set eyes has seen the words that I have set free. Some basic statistics; not who, but how many and from where in the world my readers have come. It’s compelling to see, where in the world, my words have sprung up and a pleasant surprise when another country joins the stats.
That those words set free, through the power of a pattern of zeros and ones, have traversed the world in a digital ‘message in the bottle’, boggles my mind if I think too hard about the mechanics. The next level of feedback, the ‘like’; a star as opposed to a thumbs up. A sense of providing a little spark of delight, inspiration, or provoking thoughts in someone. This provides an identity to me. A connection to the reader. A chance for me to ‘meet’ the people that I have touched enough to elicit a response.
But the feedback I take the most from is the ‘comment’. The thought that someone has not only read what I have had to say but taken the time to think about an appropriate response and to feed this back. To provide me with a critique, an extension of what I have written; to add to the dialogue. That is a sweet thing. That is a thing to savor and to elicit a smile.
That is a thing to cause me to catch the wrong bus for a magical mystery tour.