In 2009, on a weird, wild hair of a whim, I decided to try Twitter. Someone mentioned it on television and in a moment of curiosity, I decided why not. In my early hours, everything I tweeted was fraught with peril. I had become E. F. Hutton, when Angela tweets, the world listens.
Which, of course, it does not.
I couldn’t tell you how long it took me to realize the core emptiness of the internet, but it didn’t take long before I was writing things like this:
We create blogs and websites; tweet on Twitter; share what’s on our minds on Facebook and our status and moods on MySpace. All of which is simply yelling into the internet vacuum, “Can you see me?”
“The Internet vacuum.” I had come to a self agreement of safety on the internet. Really I could be myself, say what I want, share what I want. No one is listening anyway.
On September 14, 2008, while at Disney’s California Adventure, I tried on a pair of goggles in the shop across from “Soarin.” Noticing me, a friend snapped the most fleeting of snapshots of me. It is a blurry shot and almost never happened at all. It had just the right amount of fun and anonymity to make it my perfect avatar. I used it on Twitter and every other internet site I’ve joined ever after and have seldom deviated for more than a requested hour or two.
Here’s the thing, though, just when I decided no one pays attention. No one cares. Someone did.
The person I now consider the love of my life saw that avatar on blip.fm and it caught his interest to want to learn more about me. He read my stories at writing.com. He read my blog at blogger. I could walk you through the ins and outs of how the relationship built, when I realized I lam in love with him. I could try to explain to you what is essentially the unexplainable. Instead I will say simply this:
Posting a blurry snapshot of myself on the internet created a domino effect in my life that has led to me falling in love with the man with whom I want to spend the rest of my life.
To quote Shakespeare: “There are more things possible in heaven and earth . . . . .than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
I have had living proof of the impossible being possible in my life.
I have had proof we live in one world rather than the 196 the world’s countries would lead you to believe. That guy who saw my picture and read my writing? Did I mention we aren’t from the same country? Did I mention we live not only 6500 miles apart, but at our best we are 21 hours apart and 23 hours at our worst. When we talk, via Skype, from out of own countries, we aren’t even living the same calendar date.
Perhaps instead of the big vacuum where fragile egos struggle to be heard, perhaps the internet is like a large body of water. Throw enough rocks or just one large one and you create enough ripples someone just may notice on the opposite shore. Perhaps the ripples will still happen even if you don’t believe in rocks, bodies of water or ripples. Perhaps someone will notice even if you believe no one is watching.
This is your chance. Watch the Invisible Children video and see if you don’t want to throw a metaphorical rock or two, by means of the Kony 2012 action kit, out into the world.
Near the end of the video, Jason Russell makes a brave promise.
"The better world you've waited for is coming."
Meanwhile memes across the internet proclaim it a joke. I posted the one below myself.
I should explain. You see, my country, America, has been in one damned war or another my entire life. Until September 11th, none were particularly marketed as anything protecting my safety or really any one else’s. Strong arguments can be made they were all simply about money. It seemed to me, before I was born Americans had a modicum of respect in the world, but by the time I was old enough to understand the question, I was pretty sure the answer is that we are hated.
I mean, we are the world’s biggest butt-in-ski’s. We pick sides all over the world, choose “allies” to be part of our team, and then fight the world’s battles. Sometimes it is a bit much to stomach. I mean, consider “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” According to the hierarchy, man’s needs begin at the physiological level, in other words, the things a person needs to simply stay alive. It is only after those basic needs are filled that humans can extend out and consider safety, love/belonging, esteem, and finally, self-actualization, or, morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts. It always seemed to me that if a human being can’t even begin to think about solving the worlds problems until AFTER all of his other needs are met, you would think a government would be the same.
America herself would seem to still have enough problems we aren’t quite ready speak on anyone else’s.
It is that internet relationship which opened my eyes a little. I’ve seen my share of “Ugly American” assumptions across the internet. I’ve seen Americans be ugly and people of other countries assume that they will be. He and I weren’t part of that. He and I formed a bridge despite all bigoted, prejudicial assumptions. Where I cringed and saw a country with feet of clay, he praised it, talking of how quickly and thoroughly Americans come to the rescue in times of disaster. Where I was weary of being the citizen of the country seemingly determined to be the world’s police, he taught me the words to the theme of “Team America” and lightened my load. When I was skeptical, he presented the postulate, “what if sometimes the world DOES need police? What if sometimes America does get it right?” While I was posting negative memes about overthrowing a dictator by hitting “like” on Facebook, he watched the video and encouraged me to do the same.
Watch the video.
If there ever was a chance for America “to get it right,” this is it.
Help bring Joseph Kony to justice in 2012.
Watch the video. Take each and every action you can stir yourself to making. Each action is a pebble thrown in that water. Each action could be the outward edge of a ripple that makes a difference.
The better world you waited for is coming.
Bring Joseph Kony to justice in 2012. We achieve that and just imagine what we might attempt in 2013.