Social Media

Dripping with irony

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I have always wanted to use the phrase dripping with irony. It reminds me of a stack of fluffy pancakes, topped with melted butter and pure maple syrup. The soft, slightly salty slightly sweet golden butter meets and melds with the rich, woodsy syrup, flowing over the top of the stack and slowly dripping down the sides. One can’t help picking up a fork and digging in; it becomes a moral imperative.

Dripping with irony. Lovely phrase.

So I was incredibly thankful when I saw the photos from the invitation-only Social Software Summit held by Clay Shirkey. Photo after photo showing this homogeneous social gathering made up almost exclusively of white, educated, upper-middle or upper class, 30-50 year old males. Why, I bet they even come from the same areas of the United States — San Francisco, Boston, New York. Extraordinary.

Particularly when you read the writeup for the event:

CBIers Rudy Ruggles and Geoff Cohen will join approximately two-dozen shapers of the world of social software for this landmark event. As described by organizer Clay Shirky, “We are living in a golden age of social software. Only twice before have we had a period of such intense innovation in software used by interacting groups: once in the early 70s, with the invention of email itself, and again at the end of that decade with Usenet, the CB-Simulator (the precursor to irc), and MUDs. This is a third such era, with the spread of ‘writeable web’ software such as weblogs and wikis, and peer-to-peer tools such as Jabber and Groove greatly extending the ability of groups to self-organize.

“Every time social software improves, it is followed by changes in the way groups work and socialize. One consistently surprising aspect of social software is that it is impossible to predict in advance all of the social dynamics it will create. Recognizing this, the Social Software Summit seeks to bring together a small group of practitioners and theorists (~25) to share experiences in writing social software or thinking about its effects…The big bet behind the gathering is that if we get a bunch of smart people in a room and ask each other the questions we’ve been asking ourselves about building software for groups, Good Things will happen.”


Every time social software improves, it is followed by changes in the way groups work and socialize. Dripping with irony. Excuse me, but I have to go make some pancakes.

(Thanks to Scripting News for links.)


Not seeing the priest for the man

AKMA writes about his 16th anniversary of being a priest:

Much of the difference I experience can be attributed very simply to the social construction of identity: people treat a priest differently from the way they treat a generally-pious person graduate school. (One day, a muffler shop even gave me a clergy discount.) Some of the difference resists reduction to social roles and expectations though, some of the difference surprises me and eludes me and still unnerves me.

It’s odd, but I never see AKMA as a priest. I see a man who sometimes gets weighed down by the troubles that beset those around him; who probably cares more than he ought to at times; who is tolerant; who loves his family with a devotion that, oddly, gives me hope (and makes me a bit envious at times). Who stubbornly looks for the best in us, when we just as stubbornly only show our worst.

It’s true that in addition to the above AKMA is also devout, compassionate, and intelligent—all of which can be seen as priestly behaviors I suppose. But AKMA also has a wicked sense of humor, can bite back when bitten, has a fascination with technology and its impact on communication, and has no hesitation in cutting loose and being just plain silly at times. This tends to jar my pre-conceived image of priest.

No, I just don’t see the priest. I see the man who has made choices in his past that have carved out the person we know today. If his actions are the actions of a Man of God, then I would say that AKMA has really been a Man of God since the day he was born.

(BTW, did I happen to mention that he wears a funny collar at times?)