The Web’s Secret Stories

In 2007 story teller and internet anthropologist Jonathan Harris premiered his newest graphic interface, Universe, at TED. One in a series of works constructed by mining data footprints we leave on the web, Universe is dazzling and poignant, showing both the unique and mundane nature of life -everywhere.

It got me thinking about the footprints I walked in this week – mine and others – and how what was shared affected who and what I am. Here is the recap.

I learned what a meme is and what it means when it “jumps the fire line.”

I learned that my life is lived both in the real, and virtual, dimension.

I learned that job searching is a full time job and that no one website can search for me.

I learned that there is a woman who calls Obama – “Barack Obama Bin Laden” and Clinton – “Hillary Comrade Clinton.” I don’t think I will ever invite this woman to dinner.

I learned that a 26 year old mid-western woman lost her struggle with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. I know she was loved by her family and her friends. I know that she had children who are blessed to have a community who will tell them, when it is time, that their mother was a remarkable woman. I know that if I could, I would invite all these people to dinner and that it would be a rockin’ good time.

I learned that a baby was born into a family constellation that is both complex and scary.

I learned that a man lost family and friends in the storms down south and that he believes you need to tell your family you love them, especially if you haven’t spoken to them in a long time. I learned that my heart listened to his message and then broke a little bit because my family doesn’t play by those rules.

I learned that there are many women who have wonderful husbands who support them even when they are crabby and unreasonable.

I learned that I still dream about my husband and that my heart hurts.

I learned that an Illinois man took 5 people to their death and his own, while his elderly father was spending an unremarkable day in Florida. I learned, again, the lesson that pain has so many levels it is a wonder you can breathe.

I learned that criticism and angry words abound in the political arena and it is only February and my head hurts.

I learned that my mother watches CNN all the time, never misses Larry King, but that sometimes she forgets to call me even when she promises she will.

I learned that there are local folks who connect virtually and meet in real life to work for change and that it is the same as everywhere else – it takes time to belong.

I learned I still worry about people I meet being anti-Semitic.

I learned that a professor in New Jersey runs in the park, is multilingual and a kind person.

I learned that when you are unemployed, your friends tend to stay away, not because they are unkind, but because they are too kind.

I learned that the soundtrack to the new apple laptop commercial is a song by a Jewish woman who born in France.

I learned that my hometown, which I denigrated for years, is filled with remarkable people who do every sort of amazing thing and I probably should issue some sort of formal apology to the Mayor and my mother.

I learned that no matter where you live, you still are from your hometown.

I learned that I am not the only person who keeps their netflix dvd’s for three months.

I learned that I do not want to return to work that steals my soul, that there are plenty of folks doing things I would be a rock star at and they get paid, therefore, chances are good that I will find my dream job.

I learned that I am a “zero gravity thinker” and that this is a good thing.

I learned that I am grateful for all that is shared.

Thank you.

Explore Jonathan Harris – at TEDNumber 27UniverseWe Feel Fine

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christopher Barzak
    Feb 17, 2008 @ 09:29:24

    I love this kind of post. It makes other people take a step back from their own lives, hopefully, and consider what it is they’re learning–or not taking notice of.

    I was relieved to learn I was not the only person who does not send their netflix back for way too long a time, too. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  2. fivehusbands
    Feb 17, 2008 @ 09:52:00

    I am mailing the 2 dvd’s I have had since, hmmm, December, back to Netflix today.

    Update May 21st – I still haven’t mailed those damn dvds back – what is wrong with me!

    Reply

  3. eac
    Feb 22, 2008 @ 21:41:12

    I agree with Christopher. Wow! I sat and read it all, and reread it because it is helped me put much in perspective. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without this part of it that I live on the web.
    thanks πŸ™‚

    Reply

  4. fivehusbands
    Feb 22, 2008 @ 22:13:11

    eac – you did notice your very kind self within the stories – you have inspired me to take up my foreign language learning – again. Stay tuned …

    Reply

  5. Trackback: the web’s secret stories « tansform…redefine…discover
  6. Nancy Babyak
    May 20, 2008 @ 14:34:22

    Having been born on the North Coast and collected several different flavors of husbands and relationships over the years I find your blog quite compelling and refreshing.

    I came by your thoughts first on Jason Alba’s blog and am grateful that I reached out to learn more.

    You are a gifted educator and i look forward to your continued sharing!

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    Reply

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