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The Internet 2.0: Word Hate

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Wildly Exaggerated: The Internet 2.0: Word Hate

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Internet 2.0: Word Hate

I'm a writer. I don't mean that to sound grandiose, like I think I'm the next [name of whoever you think is a good writer, since you probably wouldn't get whatever bizarrely obscure reference my brain is proffering]. What I mean is that I'm a compulsive writer. That's why I have this blog. And the two anonymous blogs. And the three handwritten journals. And the notebook I scribble in all the time. And 50,000 to-do lists. And a collection of postcards I buy everywhere I go so I can randomly send them to people. And a bunch of friends who require corrective lenses as a result of reading a series of 12-page emails from me every single day. I can't. Stop. Writing.

I try to draw sometimes, but invariably I end up with a bizarre little sketch...and a half-page description that says "This is the cupcake I drew myself for being strong enough to resist the REAL cupcakes that someone left in the break room. This cupcake looks like it would probably be plastic, though - not very realistic. Maybe it's actually a secret hiding place for keys. Why would you put your keys in a plastic cupcake though?"


So any given page in any given "sketch book" still ends up with more writing than drawing on it. I've come to accept this about myself. Not only that, but I've sought out the internet presences of other people who are compulsive writers, because that helps me feed my compulsive reading habit and reminds me that I'm not alone. And I need that kind of comfort lately, because the hipsters of web 2.0 are spending all of their time excluding people like me. I keep trying to play with them, but it's very clear that I am still the dorky kid on the playground.

First, I tried tumblr. ALL the cool kids have a tumblr. Tumblr is great because you can do such fun things with all your awesome photos and videos and hand-drawn art and graphic designs! This is what happened when I got a tumblr. Note the conspicuous absence of photos, videos, hand-drawn art and graphic designs. Also note my pitiful MS Paint attempt at a joke on April 11th. Oh, tumblr. It was never going to be us.

Then there was Instagram, which I once used to take a cool picture of the booth at the theatre with the blacklight on. End of Instagram. I mean, I technically still have it on my phone, but when something interesting happens, I tend to think, "I should tweet about that!" instead of "I should take a picture of that, then apply some cool retro effects!" This is because I know what a terrible photographer I am, and we may as well not even bother.

The other day, one of my favorite Britterers (British Twitter-ers! Get it?), Lauren Laverne, mentioned a new thing called blipfoto. It really does look cool - you join, you upload one photo a's a daily photo journal! Just like it says on the website! But then, the website also says this is a "community of everyday people". This community is largely made up of Brits at the moment, so maybe life is just more interesting/visually arresting over there. (It certainly seemed that way to me when I was there, but I always assumed this was because I was on vacation.) A quick glance over the recently uploaded photos shows us 15 gloriously sharp, beautiful pictures of adorable children eating ice cream, brilliantly captured seaside wildlife, a dog in a colorful hoodie, a half-naked guy at the Edinburgh Festival, a dog on a boat, an historic countryside cathedral, and the cliffs of Guernsey, as sampled below:
COME ON! (Image yoink'd from Guernsey Girl's blipfoto account, which is amazing)
Now, I am nothing if not an "everyday person" (also: writer), but I can guarantee you that if I joined this site, my pics would not be anything like those of my fellow "everyday people". Firstly, I very rarely go anywhere or do anything. Secondly, on those occasions when I do go somewhere or do something, my ability to capture it in images proves to be woefully inadequate. Put simply, I take the kind of crap photos that DO NOT BELONG and ARE NOT WELCOME on sites like blipfoto, instagram, and tumblr. Don't believe me? Here is a 5-photo sampling of my portfolio. I call it...

Give an Ape a Camera...
Those white dots are birds (Ibis?) in a tree at Disney's Pleasure Island. Captivating. 

Again: what *looks* like a grainy picture of a parking lot and half a car is actually a picture of my friend Chris practicing a new puppet character. 
Me. Attempting to text my friend Drew a picture so she could give her opinion on my character's new outfit. I'm bad at the Narcissistic Cell Phone-In-The-Mirror Pic. I'd never taken one before. Seriously.

I LIKE HELICOPTERS! MUST TAKE PICTURE OF HELICOPTER! It was a Medivac. I hope I didn't accidentally also take a picture of a fatally wounded person.

Tilt Shift iPhone app + Dimly lit Aquarium viewing window  = my attempt at artsiness. Silly girl! You can't tilt shift a whale shark! I mean, some people can. But you certainly can't!
And as bad/grainy/unfocused/poorly composed/ill-thought-out as these photos are, we need to bear in mind that they are among the *best* and *most interesting* I could find amidst the screenshots of horoscopes and pictures of my cat that make up the majority of my repertoire. If I were to join blipfoto (AND YOU KNOW I'M THINKING ABOUT IT), my "daily photo journal" would probably go: 
8/9/2011: Picture of my coffee, sitting by my computer, in my cubicle, at work
8/10/2011: Picture of my keyboard, at my computer, in my cubicle, at work
8/11/2011: Poorly composed picture of the Atlanta skyline, taken on my way to rehearsal
8/12/2011: CAT PICTURE!
8/13/2011: Picture of my coffee, sitting by my computer, on my writing desk, at home
(Repeat every single week)

I mean, I realize that blogs have been around for ages, so those of us with a writing problem have had an online outlet for years now. It's good that people who are better with images than words finally have a number of ways to express themselves too. I just get jealous, I guess. I want so badly to point at my awesome online photo journal where every picture is some beautifully detailed image of a striking moment in time, simultaneously fun, of-the-moment, and making a biting satirical point about the state of the world as I saw it on that day. But the closest I'll ever come is:

Special Bonus Fun Thing: I have a lot of postcards I need to send people, and a lot of friends who are sick of getting postcards. So if you'd like me to send you a postcard, let me know your name and address! You can use the email link under my profile on the right; no need to put it in a public comment where the riff raff can find it :)

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