Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Evolving Mission of My Walkabout

Over the past month, I've had to put a lot of thought into my motivation for this walk.  
Explaining myself several times a week to friends, coworkers, and strangers has honed (and altered) my response. I'm walking from Boston to Washington D.C. for several reasons. Without getting too into the politics of it, there is a pretty severe disconnect between state and federal legislation.  

As we've seen with "hot button" issues like abortion and cannabis reform, the federal government has a habit of stepping in when it suites, violating any tacit agreements between state and federal government or implied sovereignty of state legislation.  That being said, there's also a pretty severe disconnect on the end of the American public.

Both at home in our own communities, as well as "abroad" in this zany place that is called the internet, we are constantly overlooking the effect we have on the perception and placement of mainstream media in the eye of the public. As you can see from the look on my face in the above picture, I'm pretty upset about it. To cliche, rather than reinvent the wheel, history has proven that it is written by the victors, the folks with the most resources, the best educated etc.  At this point in time, we have an unprecedented opportunity. As at no other point in history has such a large percentage of the population been so highly educated, or had the resources to literally write history as it happens.

A large majority of public perception is observation. We need to be sure that the information found is not only the truth, but the truth from several perspectives. We've seen cases at Occupy related and other protests where the main stream media, eye witnesses, occupiers, and police will furnish differing reports.  Usually, the average of those stories is the truth.  The caveat being; tales aren't told in many places outside of private social networks like facebook.  

In some cases the drama plays out on twitter, where the limitations of that particular micro-blogging platform (140 character limit, and poor conversational tracking) come to the fore pretty quickly.  In the days following any given event, the truth of the matter is lost beneath the repetitive nature of alt-media and main stream media news cycles. As well as a lack of oppositional discourse in a place that the public has access to either; A) click through and read said discourse. or B) participate in said discourse.

By relying on social media like twitter, facebook, tumblr etc. as a platform to voice our opinion and justifications, our argument in this historical discourse is lost in the grand scheme of things.  Eventually the timeline runs out, posts are no longer available, deleted etc.  What happens fifty years from now, after the dust settles when our children are looking at our actions and asking "how did this happen?"  Our dissent will be lost in the scrum of zippy alt-media blog posts and news articles that we forced to the top of search engine results because we though they were neato. (See the current zombie apocalypse craze).   The more we "approve" of someone else's work by reposting, reblogging, tweeting etc. the more they start showing up in search results (see Santorum).

Please don't let the little victories be hollow. Our efforts are marked by our tangible influence.  When we perceive the "battle" to be over, when the changing of the guard occurs all that's left is what can be seen.  When years have passed, generations in the future will only have an amalgamation of information on which to base their judgement of our causes. By securing our truths behind passwords and screen names, by hiding our dialogue, we're handing over history to the people with the resources to write it and keep it written that way.  

We are allowing our lives to be remembered for us, our deeds good and bad, to be represented by a partisan view. And if you look at the statistics, it will very much appear as if we approved of the whole thing.  By coupling action with explanation, clarifying the subtext of action and encouraging publicly recorded discourse, we are forcing OUR topics to the fore. The lasting change is one that can be looked back on by future generations and understood in both principle and action.

Over the next few blog posts, I will be writing tutorials on web marketing, site inter-connectivity,  and search engine optimization (SEO).  I'll probably get into a smattering of social media integration if it's needed as well.  My goal is to teach people not only how to set up a page so that search engines will easily recognize and archive them, but to encourage folks to write down what they see, and how they feel about the "state of the union".   In doing so I hope that we can write history as it happens. Rather than trying to explain ourselves and our actions in the future, or losing the opportunity to do so altogether. 

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