Monday, March 12, 2007

Mutual Linking

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

Yesterday I wrote a post entitled "I can't believe it's not a meritocracy!". I guess it could be seen as an "angry" post, but I think it was pretty mild as such things go. It was inspired by Atrios, the founder of Blogroll Amnesty Day, writing a post entitled "Why your blog sucks" Nonetheless, I really don't want to focus on the negative here.

I suppose that post by Atrios after he was the one who initiated the blogroll dump movement ticked me off as much as it did because I've had plenty of real life experiences where that same theme is present. It's as if once you reach a certain level of success, the rules of decency no longer apply. I'm certainly not going to mention specifics, but let's just say I've had many opportunities to declare, "If I ever get in a position of power, that is not how I'm going to treat people!"

Well, I sat this morning with the "compose a post" window open for well over an hour, and still couldn't figure out how to say what I wanted to stay. So I decided to go back to something I posted at the Independent Bloggers' Aliance on February 28, because it sums it up better than anything else I can think to say.

At the risk of being way too adorable, I've decided to go ahead and post this Shel Silverstein poem from Where the Sidewalk Ends

I will not play at tug o'war.
I'd rather play at hug o'war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins

I think I got it in my head after reading Maryscott O'Connor's essay Wherein I Respond to the Response to the Post Article, and I was balking at the notion that, if one is afforded the opportunity to speak to and be heard by a larger audience, one is somehow obligated to speak and behave within certain acceptable parameters. Well, a big part of the reason many of us speak out, is because we do not approve of the way the media-political "game" is played. It's not making things better for ordinary people. It's not making people better able to connect with and learn about each other.

In short, powers that be, your game and its rules suck. I do not choose to spend my time and energy in a vain attempt to becoming a better player of that bullshit game. If I do find space in my life for involvement in the political process, my energies will be directed toward changing the game and how it's played.

And I think another thing that brought this poem to mind was the discussion of different approaches to linking. With mutual linking, everyone wins. Even from a purely pragmatic standpoint, it's good for all of us.

While I'm on the topic, I should point out what the "About" section in the sidebar says:
This blog is designed to be a place where ordinary people who also happen to be bloggers can post about issues that are important to them, and be heard by wider audiences. If you write for your own blog or for a group blog, you are more than welcome to crosspost those essays here, but we ask that you use that opportunity to tell your readers "this entry is crossposted at the Independent Bloggers’ Alliance. You are also encouraged to post links to stories written by other contributors here. The fact is, the more we get in the practice of linking to each other, the better it is for all of us.

As far as ideology, I expect that we will be something of a mix of moderate to liberal viewpoints, not necessarily loyal to a particular party. Nobody is their best self all the time, but I expect us to make a genuine effort to treat each other with respect, even when we disagree.

If you'd like to become a contributor, drop me a note at ohiorenee(at)
I just posted that blurb, as well as what you see below, in a comment over at Kos.

One last thing...some of you first encounted me on the Dean blog. That was probably my first "blog home". But my first real foray into the internet came, gosh, I can't remember the year. Eight years ago, maybe? I was involved in dog rescue, working as a "foster parent" for dogs in need of adoption. On Saturdays, I would bring whichever dog I was fostering at that time to "adoption day" at a local pet store. While I was there, I would hear all these stories about why people adopted pets only to turn them over to shelters. This was such a preventable problem, if only people went into pet adoptions with the right information. So I started bringing helpful printouts to these adoption events.

And later I created this web site. And that's what blogging has always been about for me. Trying to have my voice heard in a way that can make a positive difference.

Again, I know there are people who will read all sorts of malicious intent or self aggrandizing or whatever into my posts on the issue of bloggers supporting each other. Nothing I can do about that. But I also trust that there are people who will take me at my word, and it is those people I am addressing here.