Friday, February 24, 2006

Humanity and the Web

Some years ago, back when the net was young, there was a big media splash about 'living on the net'. A few people, mostly scraggly-looking hacker-types , were going to do everything on the web and not leave their homes. They would do all their shopping, work and play right there on their Macs. I don't remember any follow-ups on these guys. I think 9/11 came along and the whole stunt seemed stupid. Anyway, 'living on the net' didn't pan out like they imagined.

I thought of that old stunt today as I took a real blog journey this morning. I was reading Creating Passionate Users, as usual. Only today, the post was about an author of a calculus book, Dan Steinberg, who they know and had written about. Today, they posted a touching entry on the death of his 6 year old daughter, Elena. What can I say myself, except this is exceedingly sad. I was touched by their post, which mentioned that Dan had started a blog about the death, Dear Elena.

Of course I clicked on the link to Dan's new blog, just to read a little bit. The posts are really beautiful and personal, about his marriage, his children and their loss. I also looked at Dan's original blog, Extreme Teaching, and read the comments to his post on Elena's death. This comment, below, really struck me.

web20newbie Says: February 24th, 2006 at 1:46 am e
Well, man, I don’t know you. I’m a 25 yo brazilian teacher who just discovered WordPress, and is writing about Web 2.0. I found your weblog, found the subject interesting, and started to read it. Then, the first post was exactly this one…
It’s horrible to listen, when everything you need is to talk. But the truth is that I’m a man of faith, and my faith said to me I need to write to you now. However, I’ll not talk about faith. I’ll talk about Continuity. You must remember that, no matter how much it hurts, in some moment life must go on. Please do cry today, because crying is important - a special part of you has gone. But please stop crying soon, because if your life stops, then your tears will be unworthy.
Please, please, keep going. My prayers will be with you and your beloved family during these days.
Love and Peace.
Fernando Aires, Brazil

All of this was very sad, and touching. I've been trying to come up with a real profound statement about the humanity of the Internet, but I haven't hit on it yet.
Perhaps it's enough to say, that there are real people on the Internet and in reading these blogs, I am sharing a little with them. It gives me hope that the real world is much nicer than the one we hear about on the news.


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