Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mountaingoats on LiveJournal

http://www.themerlinshow.com/ep/011-interview-peter-hughes

Unfortunately, I am way too lazy to transcribe the parts of this interview that I found most interesting. Watch the video, though, for it's content. Also watch it for its pleasant breeze brushed bamboo and bird chirping sounds in the background. It's a zen'ing 20 minutes to say the least.

Merlin interviews Peter Hughes, of the band The Mountaingoats. As it turns out, Peter has been an extensive user of LiveJournal, first as a tour diary, and then as time went on, for its social-networking value. He actually makes an extremely effective case for why the existence of LiveJournals or personality based blogs is a good thing.

I can't nearly articulate it as well as he does in the interview, so I have deleted my attempts to try. So watch the interview and read on.

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I think Peter's comments support the point that social networking, live journaling and MMORPGs are not necessarily poor substitutes for meeting people in bars, hanging our, or playing outside. Granted, to an extreme, any activity could go sour. You could meet people in bars a little too often, hang out so much that you lose your job, play outside too much (although, there's probably is no such thing as playing outside too much).

While the online activity should not wholly supplant the offline activity, it should at least be acknoweldged that online activity has some genuine, real social value to it. For Peter Hughes, that manifests itself as a context in which he can interact with random people and get to know them, in a manner akin to how school and work are contexts in which people interact with random people.

I guess my reason I feel compelled to post on this interview is just that I've always been at least slightly annoyed at LiveJournaling. At least, the sort of LiveJournaling that puts all your fears, hopes, dreams and worries into one three page long post of uninteresting dearth. Emo-transmitting into the web. Assuming people want to hear, venting into a place where you feel safe that no one real will read it.

These are somewhat poor assumptions on my behalf, perhaps partly because I've ignored the "social" function that may actually exist there-- as Peter described actually getting to know people through cross commenting on LiveJournal and reading each others' posts-- and then actually seeing them come to his shows, hang out, talk, etcetera. And this is after perhaps having read all that content that I sometimes ridicule.

You have to think that in the circumstance in which you have a private LiveJournal that you only allow certain people to see, and that you write deeply personal things in there, knowing other people will read them-- and then you meet them in person, and you can talk and hang out. There's something that is vulnerable in its bare-bones all out there ness. The other person may already know your ups and downs and dearths and annoying expressions of self, but knowing that that's all been said and read on both sides of the table may actually open room for some very genuine and above-average human interaction.

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PS: Check out The Mountaingoats webpage to download some free mp3s. I'm a sucker for free music.