Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is the first entry in this “Personal Blog,” the theme of which CANNOT be about Me.

Hmmm….. Personal Blog, NOT about Me. Well, OK then, here we go…


The Title and Theme of This Blog (and Why…)

The THEME of this blog, titled The Sqribbler, is “RANDOM ACTS OF WRITING.”

Here’s why:

As we go about our daily lives, we Think.

We Think about current events, about Random Things that strike us
as maddening
or humorous
or puzzling
or ironic
or sad
or a thousand other descriptors.

And then we Think Great Thoughts about how or why those things strike us that way.

BUT … if we just hoard those Random Thoughts in our heads and never express them in words — in conversation or writing — they are lost.

No one but the little community in our heads ever gets to benefit from the contemplation or conversation around those Random Thoughts.

SO … this Personal Blog will be a written collection of such Random Thoughts, those little Things We Think but too often never share…

Who Will Read This Blog?

You will,
and maybe you will mention it to some of your friends or acquaintances,
and then they will read it, and maybe they will share it with others,
and maybe you will follow this blog,
and perhaps there will be a growing community of Thinkers of Great Thoughts who stumble across this blog and Think, “Hey, that’s what I was thinking (or not),”
and then these Thinkers will share their Great Thoughts
or even start their own journals or blogs about the Things they Think
and the COGIVERSE will rejoice!

Welcome to our world!
Cogito (I Think) Ergo Scribe (therefore I Write)

Blogs I’m Going to Follow (Once I Figure Out How to Use RSS)

John says: “This is a section of random posts — things I’m watching, doing or listening to. Things that are exciting or pissing me off. Products I’m reviewing or things I come across that strike me as cool or bizarre.”

Bish Denham is a writer who writes about writing and throws in the occasional random post … yeah, I like this…

And this was on her blog — a good attitude recalibrator:

Bilbo says: “Random observations and comments from the Fairfax County, Virginia, Curmudgeon-at-Large.”

His sense of humor feels familiar.

The TED Videos

One of the requirements for this Official Blog Assignment was to watch these three TED talks:

  • Mena Trott: Meet the founder of the blog revolution


  • Yossi Vardi: We’re worried about local warming … in your lap


  • James Surowiecki: The power and the danger of online crowds


Mena’s and James’ presentations were thought-provoking and serious, while Yossi’s was humorous (yet discussed a serious side-effect of blogging, which you’ll find out about by watching his short 6-minute presentation). I downloaded the transcripts for Mena’s and James’ presentations (makes it easier to recall what was said), and have responded to both here, combined.

Mena and James both illustrated aspects of blogging that are positive social contributions and, more importantly, they both show how blogging has the capacity to change how we interact and to change the fundamental nature of Community. Mena points out how blogging allows us, and our descendants, to know so much more about people’s lives than we know about our own ancestors. We know the names, places of birth and death, maybe a few dates, associated with the people who came before us, but often we have no other primary sources about their lives, about who they were, what they thought, what their struggles were, what they did with the time between their births and deaths.  With blogging, we are now able to fill in those blanks, to give meaning and substance and context to the “dash between the dates,” and that is an enriching experience for us today and for the generations yet to come.

Social media performs a similar function, but not in the same way. With FaceBook postings, folks can get glimpses, for example, into the life of their brother far away in Virginia; they can see what he is seeing out his office window, or learn what he finds humorous about his epi-pen, or know that he voted today. But with a blog posting by that same brother, those same folks can get a whole story about his experience of something meaningful in his life, and they can know more about the person he is today. In this way, blogging has the capacity to form connections and bonds between people — people who know each other IRL (In Real Life), and even people who have never — and will never — meet F2F (Face to Face). This is because story-telling blogging is a way to share one’s inner self with others, and is a way for those Others to find resonances with the blogger. Mena talked about this when she told the story of the woman in England who blogged about her daily struggles with cancer, and how the people at TypePad were deeply moved by the experience of having known her and having learned about her death.

James also spoke of the way in which blogging can make far-away, “unknowable” experiences be real for people. As he said of bloggers writing about the 2004 Tsunami, “the outpouring of information was immense, and we got a complete and powerful picture of what had happened in a way that we never had been able to get before.” He talks about the collective nature of the blogosphere (i.e. the universe of bloggers) and the collective wisdom represented by the group, how the sum total of knowledge in the group is greater than any one person’s — even an expert’s — knowledge, and how that is a transformational aspect of people being interconnected on the world-wide web. He looks at the good side of this collective knowledge and also acknowledges its fundamental paradox — that groups (collectives) are smart when the individual members are independent thinkers, yet collective thinking can lead to a kind of mob mentality (as he said it, “piling on memes”).

This is an exciting time to be observing social change as a digital naturalized citizen — neither native nor immigrant, but one who became an adult in the pre-www times yet has been involved in the digital transformation of society from the inception of the internet — both fascinated and sometimes horrified (and always conscious of) the changes being wrought by this digital revolution. It is exciting to know that people have the capacity to be more informed — and therefore more involved — in what is happening in the world, in their own local neighborhoods, on state and national levels, and in borderless worldwide arenas (for example, people can be involved in anti-fracking movements focusing on conflicts around the world, not just in their own back yards). It is also disturbing to see the dark side that James referred to, with people who uncritically mouth memes and talking points — however false and misleading — because they have seen/read those ideas on blogs (or other broadcast media). The capacity for the blogosphere/et al to pump up mob mentality is something to be aware of and guarded against and defended against at all times.


  1. famousjess says:

    I love this Kathy! I cannot count how many times I have the most random thoughts throughout the day. Sometimes I will jot them down on paper, or put a note in my phone, or mental note it! Random thoughts are the best, can’t wait to see what comes out of this blog from you.

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