Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Heads or Tails #83 -- common

Barb, our uncommonly talented blogmistress of ceremonies, has decreed that the prompt for today's Heads or Tails is "common." We can write about common sense or things that are common -- but I want to ask what do we have in common? What "common ground" do we share? What do we have in common with our neighbors?

There was a time, we are told, in America, when one could walk down the street on a warm evening and hear Jack Benny or Amos 'n' Andy coming from virtually every open window. (And windows were open, too, in those days, because air conditioning was not then common.)

But what brings America together today? In Chicago, on an October Sunday, someone might walk down the street and see the Bears game on the TVs in virtually every living room. But even if the Bears have the late Sunday afternoon "national" spot on Fox, with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the game won't be on in West Coast cities which have their own teams playing. And, even where the game is shown, it won't have nearly the 'penetration' that a Bears game would in Chicago. If Monday Night Football were still a national event it would never have been banished from broadcast to cable.

Are there any TV shows we share in common? American Idol gets all sorts of press -- but I've never watched a minute of it. I know I'm not alone on this. I do know people who've seen the show -- but never beyond the first couple of weeks when the 'judges' make brutal fun of disturbed people who can't carry a tune in a bucket.

So... cruelty brings many of us together?

Maybe that's more than a joke: 9/11 may have been the last time that nearly everyone who could find a TV in America was glued to their sets.

Readers of this blog have political beliefs that range across the spectrum, from hard right to way-out left. (I like to think that my own are in the exact center of the road... but I suppose my readers from either end of the spectrum would probably think that its their views that occupy the cherished middle ground.) Some of my readers are grandparents -- some have young families. I suppose we all share access to the Internet... and a willingness to venture into the Blogosphere. We have that much in common.

But what do we -- we who blog and who read blogs -- have in common with our neighbors -- other than a zip code? As an anonymous blogger, I can't very well ask my neighbors if they also blog. With the exception of Older Daughter, I haven't yet run across a blog run by anyone I know in real life -- and Older Daughter's blog went dark when she got back from her semester in Spain... before this blog was even launched.

But I am not just an anonymous blogger; I have a blog in my own name. I did hear from one -- count 'em -- one college classmate when I put up my 'real life' blog. And, from the blank stares I've received when talking about that blog with friends and acquaintances, I am pretty sure that -- the millions of blogs supposedly registered notwithstanding -- very few of my friends or neighbors blog.

My kids all have Facebook accounts. That's different from blogging, particularly from anonymous blogging like I do here. Kids put their lives on line... and their futures on the line... by posting potentially incriminating pictures of themselves and their equally clueless friends. But Facebook can, at its best, be a way for the kids to keep track of their friends; Older Daughter started getting telephone calls within 10 minutes of changing her status on Facebook to "engaged." I would get a Facebook account myself to keep better track of what the kids are up to... but I'm afraid none of them would accept me as their "friend."

I don't think I could handle the rejection.

So even among people who have online presences, bloggers and Facebookers don't necessarily have much in common.

Older Daughter, the ex-blogger, now has a website for her upcoming wedding. She's been after me to look at it; she's updated it recently, she told me; there's all sorts of "fun" stuff on it now, she said. But we don't necessarily hold the same ideas of fun in common.

And we haven't even discussed the Tweeters yet, have we? (This post, by Ken Levine, is one of the funniest I've seen on the Tweeter phenomenon. By the way, what do you call people who tweet? Tweeter twits? Or just twits?)

Yes, making fun of the 'other guy'... we have that in common, I suppose, unless the 'other guy' is thee... or me.


Barb said...

Oh Lordy.. that twitter post almost made me pee my pants for 12.3 seconds!!!

Your daughter's "fun stuff" may be expensive stuff she wants you to prepare yourself and your wallet) for. :)

Barb said...

Me again!

Do you think my grandson has the potential makings of a lawyer???


Anonymous said...

Very interesting take on the subject common. I have never run across a blog from someone I already knew. Weird.

katherine. said...

I joined FB cause the kids were active on FB. My girls (27 and 21) "friended" me right away. A few of their real life friends are now my FB friends. I get to see all kinds of photos..and read all kinds of post party commentary. Lucky me.

My 18 year old waited EIGHT MONTHS before he accepted my request to be his friend. Sheesh. We don't discuss what I see on his page.

I'm not surprised by the segment of cousins, high school friends, and former co-workers I am FB friends with.

What raises my eyebrows are some of the other people who "friended" me on FB. Two of my significant other's ex-wife's best friends. (I appreciate that after his divorce he (we) socialize with them) And my exhusband's adult step son. (who I have known since he was five)

FB has made the various circles of my life very connected. Not so sure I am comfortable with all that...

Tumblewords: said...

Interesting post - there are commonalities here, for sure! I do know some local bloggers and read one who lives near here although we've not met. Yet.