the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

A Twitter Idea

Recently, I went on Twitter and mentioned that my uncle passed away.  Some of you sent me such beautiful messages.  One blogger sent a quote from the Bible.  Later that day, I went on Google Reader and noticed that I missed reading about the death of a blogger friend’s mother, a birth of a child, and a woman’s three day stay in the hospital for surgery.  After people were so nice to me, I felt like a jerk — and self-absorbed — for not sending support or congrats to others.  Sometimes I think I follow TOO many people, only giving superficial attention to everyone.

I wrote a post last week where I said that the blogosphere seemed “conservative,” meaning that this virtual world follows the rules of Adam Smith and Milton Friedman.  It is a free market system, each blogger acting out of self-interest and self-promotion, each wanting to network with the more powerful.  If you work hard, Write well, meet the right people, and give away wii-fits, you can have 2000 comments just like an A-list blogger.  It is up to each of us to work harder to “compete.”  The system works well for most of us. 

But can we make the blogosphere a little more “liberal” — meaning trying to lessen the differences between the haves and have nots, a strengthening of the human aspect of community while maintaining the free-market, democratic nature of blogging?  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was more equality in the attention we get from the community during important life events — birth, death, illness, marriage?  It is a sad fact that Dooce’s dog would get more love and attention from readers for getting a splinter in his foot than an unknown blogger electrocuted to death by a faulty laptop (sorry, just made that up, but you know it is true).  It’s just human nature, and our limited attention span.

Every once in a while, a grassroots campaign starts up after a tragedy, such as the Nie Nie Benefit Blog.  But what about the sad events that aren’t so well-publicized.   Do we care only for those when there is sufficient media coverage or the story makes it on Oprah?

I spent this morning trying to think of way to equal the playing field online, not in quality of writing or popularity, but in how we can show more concern to each other, a way to open up the community to helping as many people as possible with a friendly message of hope or congratulations. 

And I thought of Twitter.  Twitter is the ultimate PR tool (look how marketing companies use Twitter) because “social media” spreads information quickly through word of mouth.

I have noticed that news outlets like the AP now use Twitter.  Whenever there is a big news event going on, they broadcast it.  Those on Twitter frequently know about an event before CNN.  Now that is powerful!

Here’s my idea.  Tell me if you think this could work.  We set up some new Twitter account and call it something corny like BloggerCares, BloggerNews, or LifeEvents.   Whenever one of us reads about a blogger with a big event — a death, a birth, a major surgery, a wedding — even if he is someone we don’t know personally — this information could be sent to this account, and then re-tweeted to hundreds of peoples at once, sort of a personal bloggers AP service.   Then each receiver of the tweet could act however they wanted to — sending a message to this blogger acknowledging this happy or sad event, trying to be as personal as they could with someone they don’t really know, posting a comment on the person’s blog, or writing an email showing support.  If it all worked well, we would be closer to a blogosphere where every blogger who needs it — can receive a few nice messages from the community, without any thought to who he is or what religious, color, political entity — or clique — he belongs to, or whether he is A-list or C-list.  

It wouldn’t require much work from anyone.  It is pretty easy to send an “I’m sorry about your loss” or a “congrats on your marriage” in a quick tweet or comment.  I know I certainly appreciated getting those messages about my uncle.

There are still some issues that need to be worked out.  For instance, wouldn’t too many people submit the same information about the identical surgery?   Would it all be too overwhelming to handle?  I’m not sure I could do this by myself.

Is this a dumb idea?  Any suggestions?

75 Comments

  1. All Adither

    You’re always thinkin’ Neil.

  2. V-Grrrl

    Neil, Sigh. Luv, you worry *way* too much about equality in the blogosphere. I will tell you what I tell my kids ALL the time: Fair does not always mean equal. Fair does not mean everyone gets everything in perfect measure. Fair does not mean we give/get the same thing from every person we encounter.

    I don’t want to have to process a thousand tweets over everyone’s losses and celebrations. I can only be a real friend to a limited number of people. Everything else is less than authentic to me. Getting messages from/about that many people wouldn’t be much different than being spammed. I’m not going send out auto congrats or condolences to people I barely know or have minor connections with. That doesn’t mean they’re bad people or that I’m a bad person for not “caring.”

    Yes, I like the idea of community, but I’m a person, not a technology. I have limited emotional bandwith. I already feel like CNN and the BBC put the weight of the world on my shoulders with 24/7 global reporting. I have a husband, two kids, and a circle of friends that I’m trying to love, support, and be present for. As it is, I often feel stretched thin and ineffective.

    Social networking is great and it’s fun and I enjoy it, but if it’s going to truly create communities, the users themselves have to set boundaries and decide to participate in a meaningful way. For me, that’s about DEPTH, not breadth, about building a connection that honors the person and not the technology.

  3. Lesley

    I wonder what would happen if Chuck was electrocuted by a laptop?

  4. Neil

    V-grrl — maybe you are right. It wouldn’t be very meaningful to just get random messages from strangers. Well, I tried… not every idea is a winner.

  5. Neil

    Marilyn emailed me about this post — http://zenhabits.net/2008/08/random-acts-of-kindness-a-social-site-id-love-to-see/

  6. Shiny

    This is an automated reply created by “ShinyCares,” Shiny’s life-cycle event notification and appropriate reaction system.

    I have read that your uncle has recently passed away. Per past keywords associated with your tweets and blogs, I have surmised that religion(Judaism)=true, so: “May God console you together with everyone who mourns for the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.”

    In all seriousness — I think the premise here is a good one. It becomes a concern for me on two levels: The first is the sincerity of the reply garnered through a system like this. I recall about a decade back when my name and birthday were registered through the then open and public “World Birthday Web.” It was interesting to see what kind of automated responses would come through. I always grinned at the birthday greeting the Klingon Language Institute would send me. 🙂 But the majority of them were simply using my birthday as a means to acquire an audience to sell something — whether it was a physical product, religion, a website or both. I had received personal email replies from friends and family as well; those stood out as the ones which I felt really counted.

    When I posted about my mother’s death, I was comforted by many folks from my online community — some of whom were new commenters to my blog. But I guess I would have felt a bit uncomfortable if one of them was someone who had no connection to me aside from a fleeting alert that someone in the vast reaches of the blogosphere suffered a loss. Furthermore, what’s to stop people from using this system to promote an automated response from @StevesFuneralHome to solicit services?

    My second concern is similar to the first one: I understand that my tweets are public to all. But do I really want to be monitored for any references to any upcoming births, deaths or surgeries? I suppose it’s easy enough to block the account which is monitoring me, but that makes this more of an opt-out service than an opt-in.

    So — it’s a very compassionate idea that may be successful if tweaked a bit. And I applaud you for thinking of ways of using the Twitterverse for a good cause like this one.

    By the way: I am sorry for the loss of your uncle.

    — S

  7. sassy

    Can I write about being mad at my husband and giving him a titty-twister? (Like I did this morning on twitter.)

  8. G. Savant

    Oh, happy day! So this is what it’s like to be your Blog Crush O’ The Day, eh? It feels like… like… warm sunshine on my back. Like eating sushi from a beautiful woman’s navel.

    Your blog stands as a shining example to those of us who are just starting out. When I first found, and subsequently began perusing through your archives, I thought to myself: This! This is where I want to see my own blog someday! An ever-growing audience that cares! Social interaction with other bloggers! A totally sweet header image!

    So, thanks again, old man. Not just for the Crush, but for every post that you… err… post that brightens my day. Which is damn near all of them!

  9. Jane

    Why not just call it Random Condolences and Congratulations from Perfect Strangers
    who May or May Not Really Care?

    I agree with what V-Grrrl & Shiny have said, and would add that when we start “needing” condolences and congratulations from the online world, it’s really time to get off the computer and connect with family and friends.

  10. Neil

    You LOUSY BUNCH OF GROUCHES! Jane, are you trying to insinuate that this is just another way of getting laid?

    Shiny — I’ll have you know that my dentist and my auto body shop both send me Christmas cards every year and that means that they really care about me!

  11. Neil

    And V-grrl — Just remember, many years ago, there was another Jewish man with long, wild hair who had a crazy idea, and people pooh-poohed it and said it was ‘dangerous’ and that it would never work and that he should just go home and build some cabinets… well, you wouldn’t ever see me building any cabinets, unless they were from IKEA, and then again, I used to let Sophia build them…

  12. gorillabuns

    I’m going to be negative and say, everyone would become even more desensitized to the human conflict and struggle when bombarded every 3.5 minutes about death, destruction and sadness.

  13. Neil

    Gorillabuns — good point.

  14. Mattie

    You’re a good man, Neil.

    I wish I really knew you because I’d be honored to call you my friend.

  15. piglet

    i kind of like how it’s working now, without organization or planning. makes it all seem more special, and random.

    in my few years of blogging, i still get mesmerized and enlightened by kind acts performed by “strangers”.

    not that you don’t have a good idea, but that’s my two cents.

  16. piglet

    i just read your other comments, i guess my take on it wasn’t as original as i’d hoped 🙂

    but then, it never is and i’m ok with that. collective consciousness is a powerful thing.

  17. blackbird

    I’d do it.

  18. 180/360

    You really are a sweet guy and you are clearly the consummate idea generator… but I can see where V-Grrrl is coming from.

    I think if something was bothering me enough, I would post it on twitter regardless.

    Maybe you just need to whittle down your “friends” and then you won’t feel so overwhelmed or miss out on big events. I can handle about 30 peoples’ twitters. I can’t even imagine 500!

  19. SciFi Dad

    Conceptually, it is a noble idea. However, in practice, I fear the response would not be what you expect. For instance:

    1. “WTF? Who decided a pet dying is worthy of this caring twitter network? I think it has to be a human death, either immediate or slightly extended (i.e. if you have a number for the cousin, it doesn’t count) only!”

    2. “Who’s sister has cancer? I don’t know that person. Next.”

    3. “Sigh. This system has too much sadness. Unfollow.”

    I’m sorry to be so cynical, but I suspect that would be the eventual situation with such a concept.

    The reality is that while it may make people feel nice to say that A-listers are “good writers” and the popular bloggers are the intelligent or thought-provoking or articulate ones, we all know that this is not the case. A-listers make A-listers by embracing a C or D lister. A B-lister is doomed to be a B-lister forever, or at least forever in blog years, until their following grows organically, because an endorsement from an A-lister will never impact a B-lister the same way it does a C or D lister. It doesn’t provide the same surge of momentum if you’re already at B-list levels.

    I know I digressed from your point, but I kinda sorta stayed on the theme, didn’t I?

  20. Anissa@Hope4Peyton

    It’s a tremendously thoughtful idea, but what made the support so uplifting to you was that people cared enough to comment on your sadness. I think that the overwhelming consensus is right that if it was just totally random “sorry and thinking of you” it just wouldn’t mean as much.

  21. Carolyn Bahm

    It would be nice if Twitter would allow a third kind of tweet — one that persists at the top of your “recent” list — and it could be used for special sad or happy announcements until you delete it. That way you’d see major announcements from your Twitter friends immediately when you log in. You’d have to opt in to receive these, so they’d only come from the people you care about online. Then they could let everyone who matters to them online know when a relative dies, a child marries, or a grandbaby is born, without anyone who wants to hear missing out.

    Okay, that’s probably my lame idea of the day. I can see the potential for abuse of such a feature. But I like the heart that inspired your original suggestion, Neil. :o)

  22. kapgar

    I freakin’ love the idea. Now if we can only find a way to keep big-name bloggers from trying to use it for themselves…

  23. Rachel

    At first blush, I think the concept is wonderful. I will have to agree with V-GRRRL that there would likely be an overload of spam type messages. and life should be about the depth of our relationships.

    Being new to the *blogosphere*, I am still getting used to the idea of *sharing* my personal life with the entire world. Not long ago I wrote a post about my children and titled it Beautiful Boys. I get creeped out every time I check my sitemeter and see that someone found my blog by googling “beautiful boys”! I don’t imagine I would feel much better knowing that some random *well wisher* found out that my grandmother died by googling “dead grannies” or something crazy like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting comments, I am just getting used to my loss of anonymity.

    On the other hand, I live in *the bible belt* and send my children to the parish school where we attend church. Our *women’s group* has a yahoo group (actually 3 groups) that we use to communicate. We have one for posting items we have for sale, one group is for the moms who have young children & set up play groups and lastly, a general group where we can post prayer requests, updates on births, deaths, illnesses, accidents etc. When our family has gone through difficult times it has been very uplifting to get messages from my friends and acquaintances. But I have also found myself overwhelmed when it seems that every message I get is about death and illness. I don’t think I could join a group that would have the potential to be so large and anonymous.

    Wouldn’t it be better to dedicate one post per week or per month to the people about whom you have been thinking/ praying? You could link to their blog and send them a sincere comment on their situation (and maybe with your encouragement others will follow).

    You seem to have a sincere need to leave a positive mark on this world. Perhaps the best way to do that through QUALITY of well wishes and prayers instead of QUANTITY. You are such a skilled writer, surely you can help to make the world a better place through your WRITING instead of a social/media networking campaign.

    Like I said before, it is a great concept. If this is something that you truly believe will make a difference, then ignore what everyone else thinks and go for it.

  24. better safe than sorry

    i don’t use twitter, so i don’t really understand how it works, but i can appreciate how you are trying to make a difference. you’re a good man, caring and compassionate, but i don’t know if doing this on the computer is the answer, it’s definitely something you should be doing in your non-computer life.

  25. Astrogirl

    Neil – I’m twittering you on this now, so considering the nature of the beast we’ll probably talk about it more there than here, but I wanted to put in a vote on the blog for your idea. I think this could work; simply put, anyone who found the experience distasteful could simply un-follow from it. I say, what the hell – let’s try it. What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? That’s not always the worst thing in the world. Go for it, my optimistic friend 🙂

  26. sizzle

    Another great idea. Seriously Neil, you’re such a humanitarian. I love that about you.

  27. Jack

    I have never read Dooce. In 4.5 years of blogging just never bothered to check it out.

    So, maybe Dooce’s dog wouldn’t get all that.

  28. kateanon

    It’s a great idea, but I would have many of the same concerns everyone’s already listed. I’ve found if people retweet the things that need to get around – someone’s house fire, a death, a birth – they get a lot of empathy from those who they feel connected to as well as those they may have an actual connection to (albeit a random twitter one)

    I think the best you can do is try to support those around you and hope they’ll do the same.

  29. Neil

    In defense, the twitter account wouldn’t be ALL depressing. It would also include births and marriages. But yeah, I can see how this might getting annoying. The idea wasn’t thought through to the logical conclusion. I’m not sure that I WOULD WANT to follow such an account for long. It would be like following a blogger Headlne News/Entertainment Tonight 24/7, with constant updates of people jumping off bridges and pets found hit by trucks. Probably the only good it would do would be to get people less obsessed with Twitter because it would be too depressing to be on it.

    Maybe if I change the idea a bit — Would you follow a tweet called “Guess Who Just Get Laid?”

  30. Chantel

    Neil, you’re one of those people who are selflessly putting others before yourself. I think that’s noble of you and I always want to participate but this could be a bigger animal than the Great Interview Experiment. I love all of your ideas I’ll be curious to see how it turns out.

  31. Krissi from Krississippi

    Sounds like an awesome idea, honestly. I would follow.

    I don’t think I follow you (or you follow me) but I do read your blog… so I’m glad I at least saw your post about this.

    And sorry for the passing of your uncle.

    K2

  32. Krissi from Krississippi

    LOL I do follow you (and you me) I just didn’t have you on my SMS updates. So now I do and I’ll have no excuses to miss any important events 🙂

    K2

  33. lizardek

    I thought it was a lovely idea. I don’t understand why everyone thinks it’s only for sad stuff. Joyful things certainly would have their place!

  34. SciFi Dad

    Neil – even the “who got laid” thing would get old… think about all the parent bloggers “trying” for a second! We’d have daddy-bloggers posting every day or every other day for half the month. 😉

  35. Neil

    Sci Fi Dad — Like any of us would believe that any of the daddies get it more than once a month.

  36. schmutzie

    I kind of like this idea. I have to limit the number of people I follow for practical reasons, so I do miss a lot of news I would like to hear. I’d definitely follow a personal bloggers news feed account like this on Twitter.

  37. Kate

    I think it’s a lovely idea. Of course nothing is ever truly equal – but what’s wrong with creating a little more community? Something dedicated to providing support to people when they need it? It’s not like it would go unappreciated.

    One thing that I like about NOT getting hundreds of comments is that I feel like I’ve gotten to know the readers that keep coming back. I actually make an effort to either return the favor by taking time to read their last post and comment – or send them an e-mail if that’s more appropriate. If I was getting 50+ comments every day (who am I kidding – if I was getting more than 20 comment per day!) this wouldn’t be doable. So that said – I feel like I could count on a good number of people to support me if I needed it, and I wouldn’t hold it against anyone who missed it. It happens – we all have lives.

    BUT that sort of veers away from what I was trying to say…I just think that you are a kind soul who really appreciates the community aspect of blogging. And your idea to spread the wealth – so to speak – is admirable. I’d be happy to participate will gladly send good wishes to the people that need them.

    Looking forward to hearing more on this.

  38. ali

    i sooo know what you mean. i always feel like a total asshole when i miss something important. because, like you, i follow a buttload of people.

  39. Avitable

    I think that’s an interesting idea. That is the frustrating part of Twitter – I didn’t see your tweet, and now I feel like an ass for not offering my condolences.

    A Twitter account or even a blog that gathered this type of information and posted it for people to be aware might be a good idea, although I could see it being used nefariously by people trying to get donations or something.

  40. Jennifer

    Hi Neil–I’ve been “lurking” on your blog for awhile. Just wanted to say that I like your idea and your blog!

  41. Finn

    You need to get laid.

  42. Neil

    Avitable — I know. It is impossible to follow a thread because by the time you put a tweet up, it is off the front page.

  43. Neil

    Finn — You know my response to that one.

  44. sarah g

    Hi Neil.
    Again, Im sorry for your loss.
    I completely understand where you are coming from and I think it is a very compassionate idea.
    How many people put down an idea or are able to only see how it would be unbeneficial.?
    I say go for it.

    You arent demanding that someone do something. IF someone is bloggin it, they are sharing it, and sometimes it is that extra little something that can make something bearable. Or make something more joyful-joyfilled.

    Perhaps it would remind people how blessed they are, and that the coffee stain on their shirt that has their day in a hizzy–really isnt such a big deal. It may not result in them sharing a condolence, but it may just change their day.

    I say go for it neil. Its a good idea. The worst that can happen, is that people dont like it or it doesnt ‘take off’. At least you tried. In the end, its the efforts we put forth. If you never followed through on anything simply because someone else didnt agree with it, most nice things would never happen.

    Be the change you wish to see in the world. (Ghandi).

  45. Neil

    Sarah G — What would be a good name for this twitter account?

  46. Memarie Lane

    It’s funny (funny ha-ha not funny queer), I just posted about how I especially have a difficult time responding to people’s tragedies. I’ll congratulate something no problem, but when something terrible happens I can’t think of anything to say that doesn’t sound trite or stupid.

  47. Sara

    I think it could work if you tweaked it in one important way: Instead of having someone else tweet when they came across a disaster-stricken blogger, why not have the bloggers themselves tweet when they need a little more support? It would help make the system more valid and less… oh, routine. Someone could say, “Hey, my dad just died and I need a little consolation,” and the community members could either say, “I’m here to help and I’m so sorry,” or let it go. It would make the responses a little more genuine — we’d be choosing to give support to those who wanted it, rather than spamming everyone with auto-condolence. (Or auto-congrats, for that matter.)

    I love the idea, Neil, and I think it has heart. It might not work exactly as you envisioned it, but if you believe in it, why not play around with it and see where it can go?

  48. Neil

    Sara — I don’t know about you, but I would never ask for help like that. Or ask for congrats.

    Probably the best argument against this system is that the one receiving the tweets might get more annoyed by the whole thing than feel good about it. Not everyone wants to get fifty “I’m sorry” or “Congrats on the baby” messages from strangers.

  49. maggie, dammit

    I just love you. You’re good, good stuff.

  50. Danny

    I think you should try it but I admit my reasoning is way less altruistic than yours: I think it’s an idea that will get a lot of press and attention for you and I’m very curious to see what would happen! But as for me personally, I have to agree with the naysayers. I would be creeped out to get a ton of comments from total strangers about anything good or bad going on in my life. To me it would feel like they’re responding because they’re “supposed to” and that would ruin it for me.

  51. heathercoo

    I like this idea. I think you are a great person for thinking it up. I know after my recent loss of my childhood pet I loved receiving messages from people letting me know that they cared. Even though he was just a cat to some people.

  52. Chris

    I agree with Danny. I’m curious to see “what would happen”, but personally it doesn’t appeal to me.

    It’s like when people pass around a card at the office – I enjoy congrats, sympathies, and well wishes from those whose signatures I recognize, but the unfamiliar names feel obligatory – perhaps they’re genuine, but something isn’t quite right.

  53. Robin

    I think that is a brilliant idea.

  54. justrun

    I applaud you for thinking on this level when it comes to blogging. But some people may feel wary of others spreading their “news,” even if they’ve already published it themselves.

  55. mp

    If something like that was set up I would use it..I think its a great idea.
    FYI.
    Sugared Harpy lost her cousin..I knew about this story but not that it was her family.
    http://www.sugaredharpy.com/2008/09/10/this-is-my-cousin/

  56. Neil

    MP — But I think Just Run and others are right. This might end up being more helpful for those who want to help others than the others themselves. They may not even WANT so many messages….

  57. Otir

    I have never been mad at you that you never commented on my very successful campaign although I have advertized it on all same social media that you are on with me 🙂

    I love you for who you are, not what you do.

  58. Hilly

    Why am I one of the only people that doesn’t see any problem with the idea of this.

    1. As far as getting “Twitter Spammed” goes, people do not have to follow this account through Twitter. They could easily subscribe to the RSS feed and check in on it once a week if necessary.

    2. I can’t always get to my blogs, let alone blogs of blogs once removed. It would be a great way to know that something happened to someone when I’ve checked out of the PRB for a few days.

    3. Individuals can decide to spread their own news. A service like Ping.FM would allow anyone to share what they wanted out there to the group Twitter account. Soooo, I am not sure where the privacy becomes an issue here.

    All in all, I think it is a great thing that you want to do. It comes straight from the heart and I hate to see it so nitpicked to death. But that’s me…blah blah.

  59. Neil

    Otir — A perfect example of something I totally missed, despite you twittering about it.

    Hilly — There are group Twitter accounts.

  60. AG

    I like it in theory (and I lurve Carolyn Bahm’s idea about a third, more persistent sort of Twitter, sort of like a Facebook status message), but based on what happened with some of the other group-Twitter projects — I’m thinking specifically of that confessional thing that was active earlier in the year — the potential for abuse is sadly really high.

    Which… mean people suck. There, I said it.

    But I know what you mean about the power of unsolicited sympathy from random Twitters / remote friends — it’s strangely moving stuff, as if the universe contains infinite small pockets of goodwill for you. Don’t twist yourself up over missed opportunities to be the unsolicited good thing; take ’em when you cana nd trust the rest of us to catch whatever else needs caught.

  61. Neil

    And some woman of a conservative bent called — I’m not going to say her name, saying this was just like a “liberal’s idea” — caring for everybody and everything in ideological terms, but not really caring for anyone specifically.

  62. Loralee

    You’re a good egg, Neil.

  63. mommypie

    I think this is a really great idea, Neil. You ARE a good egg.

  64. Neil

    Jeez, I’m going to have to write a really raunchy post now cause all this “good egg” shit is never going to get me into anyone’s bed. I know what women want. And it isn’t this.

  65. Kate

    Huh. NOW you’re on to something Neil. Can we start a Twitter account for people who want to read little bits of raunchy text dispensed in easy to absorb 140 character slices? Like a “pay it forward” for the horny?

    I like this idea (your original, non-dirty idea) in theory but in practice I think it sounds kind of sterile.

  66. Hilly

    See how much I know about Twitter? Bupkus! Hahaha!

  67. Jody

    I don’t twitter. Have no desire to twitter. Love and agree with every word V-grrl wrote.

  68. Nannette

    Sign. Me. UP.

    This idea really hits home as I think the blogosphere needs the playing field leveled.

  69. Maura

    I’m torn. I love the idea but I see the point of commenters who point out the more cynical side of it.

    There are so many ways for us to use Twitter that haven’t even occurred to us, so bravo for thinking of something selfless and original.

    Perhaps a commitment by people who follow you, and other like-minded individuals, to use Twitter to let their own followers about people who might need that support or kudos? A movement of kindness instead of something so structured?

  70. Backpacking Dad

    Shall I? I shall. Even though I love the idea of leaving this thread at 69 comments in perpetuity, and thereby leaving you with an eternal bit of excellent, I have to chime in and say…

    …what were you talking about?

    Oh. Something about Twitter and nice things.

    I think that even though these missives would not be empty, they would be a burden. I’m all for random acts of internet kindness, and if I ever get my act together the Blogging Justice League (trademark infringing though it would be) would be just one such thing. But maybe soliciting, even indirectly, such kindnesses is, not wrong, but chalk. Tasteless, though not offensive.

  71. Zoot

    I think it’s a brilliant idea, even if the logistics may be tricky. I too would like to find a way to lessen the distance between the haves and have nots, maybe even a simple email chain (like a phone chain) for people who want to be a part of it. Send us all to a certain blogger when they need a pick-me-up. Go down the chain telling people which blogger needs our cheery words/comments.

    Or maybe that’s too difficult?

  72. PomJob

    Haha, I honestly don’t care about Dooce’s dogs, but I respect her right to use her blog to talk about them. I just quickly scroll past the photos in my reader to get to her humorous posts.

    I think you’ve come up with a fabulous idea. Can’t wait to hear more about it. (Found you thru MissZoot’s shared items.)

  73. apathy lounge

    I think it’s a great idea, Neil. I,too, have found myself away from the blogosphere only to discover that someone suffered a loss or had their baby and I had not responded. And I felt guilty…even though it wasn’t an intentional lack of response…but one of just being out of the loop. As for Chuck and Coco? I mean…I like dogs just fine, but I don’t understand the public’s response to these two canines. Even a dog that can dial 911 isn’t worth 2,000 comments.

  74. abigail road

    That’s an awesome idea! Do it!

  75. sarah g

    Hey Neil,
    I went out of town.. I have no idea of a name for this new twitter caring community : )

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