Markos Moulitsas started a Blog, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Except ... not quite
Jump the "Hitchhiking" Squiggle
In the good old days, those days before Bob Johnson ever dreamed up DK6, and Bill in Portland Maine was just a guy called Bill, who lived in Portland, Maine, there was a guy who started Blogging.
He was a young, single, no kids and a veteran of Venezuelan extraction. No different, in most ways, to others who did the same. My how times have changed.
From a UID of 1 (Scoop, I believe) to 3 then 6 and on up to 300 billion, or so it sometimes feels. Take away 200 Billion trolls and spammers and we have a sizable membership here.
For many years Daily Kos was a two-dimensional entity. Useful, helpful, creative ... It was all those things and more, but for our fearless leader it just wasn't enough. He didn't want just a Journal, however positive that was, he wanted and still wants, a Community.
The first online Community for Liberal Progressives, designed, built and serving those people committed to a Progressive agenda and prepared to work towards electing Better Democrats, and more of them. That the work is on-going, unfinished, still needing more of the same, and more, is undeniable. That Daily Kos has changed, and changed for the better, is equally certain.
Where else could I write about politics, community and motorcycles and have all of those subjects treated with equal enthusiasm? Is there another place where I can switch rapidly from the latest GOP Primary farce, to a recipe for (insert favourite recipe here), and be equally entranced by both. What other blog just had its Users donate fifty thousand dollars just for the personal satisfaction of giving a helping hand to other, anonymous, Users. Then find five thousand more to keep a contributor in her home?
The Daily Kos that many of us grew up with is no more. It has evolved, which in itself tells you that it is more than a Right Wing Blog, and, ironically, it has involved with some very Intelligent Design ... well maybe not the colours!
The process is on-going, but a two-dimensional Journal has become a multi-faceted Community. Not all is to everyone's taste, that much is clear, but there is something for almost everyone and you get out what you put in. This comes at a price ....
For the longest time folk have worried about their privacy on the Intertubes. Some of that concern is real, and well-founded, but much is not. Stories abound of cyber-bullying and Cyber-Stalking. Those things have happened ever since Bulletin Boards, and they continue apace with Facebook, MySpace et al seemingly the biggest culprits.
Like many other unpleasant aspects of society the fear is rather worse than the reality, nonetheless a modicum of caution never hurt anyone. However, the change from Blog to Community has implications. It does mean that folk get to know each other better. They invest more in their online relationships, even if they tend to be a little lacking in personal knowledge. People begin to actually care more for each other. They cheer at successes, personal. political and professional, and they commiserate with the set-backs.
That is what happens in communities. You do not care personally about a feature writer at the Washington Post anything like as much as you do about twigg, or NurseKelley, Edrie, Massman .... and each of us has our followers, admirers, detractors, friends.
The situation facing Kossacks last night goes with the territory. A Kossack posted in pain and the rest of the community hitched up its metaphorical skirts and reached out. They reached out with caring, with concern and with very genuine offers of emotional and practical help. They reached out in the way that only real people, not screen names, can reach out. They conspired to uncover personal details in an anonymous setting, and dammit it was the human thing to do.
So if anyone objects to the response by this community, blame Markos. He wanted it, he created it and I suspect that it is doing just what he wants it to.
There will be errors. Folk will have their feelings bruised and we need to care for them too. Some people have genuine privacy concerns and issues, and we can, do and should always respect that. We are still, all of us, feeling our way in a new medium, sometimes getting it magnificently right, other times spectacularly wrong.
Last night showed me a couple of things ...
It showed me that the very nature of this place can still be frustrating when there appears to be a genuine need for intervention. It taught me that there are some very resourceful folk out there who really should have been born bloodhounds, and it showed me that now, more than ever, I am proud to be a Kossack!
Bill in Portland Maine may indeed have lost some sleep last night. Meh! Folk have always turned to their Community Leaders at times of stress. Long may it continue.