October 27, 2003

Blogs and Trust

I was thinking about this today--about trusting and not trusting bloggers--an especially interesting question for those of us who haven't met too many of our blog cohorts face to face.

I would trust a number of bloggers with my money, my house, my job, to keep a secret, to stand up for me, and some with my life. When I was thinking about who I trust most in the blogworld, though, I couldn't narrow it down to as small a group as I originally thought when I asked myself that silly question, given rise by much bullshit that's been going down in these parts lately.

Now, if you say you trust AKMA, that's cheating. AKMA is THE blogger's trusted agent, we know that. I'm not sure how AKMA or Margaret feel about AKMA being a "given" in the trust department, but for crying out loud, he's already the Official US Dead Blogger Executor. That, I think, is a gold seal of approval in the trust department.

First, I trust everyone at Gonzo Engaged with my online life. How can I say this? Because about a year ago, I began making every member of that blog an administrator. What are there, like 20 of us now? (Ken gets his nuclear status next week -- after he passes the test of building the world's tallest port-a-potty. That's everyone's initiation. Ken, did we tell you that on the front end? I'm always forgetting details....That stuff's supposed to be Marek's job. Marek, did I tell you that on the front end? I'm always forgetting details...).

Think about that.

Every single person on Gonzo Engaged, the first team blog on blogspot, which I started more than two years ago, has the right to hire, fire, or disembowel any of the others. Including me.

Every single one of us can go in and mess with the template and fonts and the blogroll. (Exhibit A: observe the amazing changing font size. we like to think of that as a feature.)

And it also means that every single one of us has the power to blow away the blog and its entire two years of archives.

Did ya'll know that?

How does that sound for trust?

How does that sound for risk?

Are you with me?

And can anyone back up the archives quick before Frank gets giddy with power and does something stupid?

You know I did that on purpose, right?

HAAAAA! How insane is that. Don't you fucking LOVE IT?

Yeh. Guess what. That's trust.

And guess what else--I didn't choose a single member of that blog. Not one. Didn't make sure they were professionals, or young or old, didn't care if they were known to have popped their cork on occassion or pooped in the street during Fourth of July Parades, didn't care about anything other than their desire to contribute and engage.

It's amazing what happens when you share trust within a community early on. It's freeing. It's anti-hierarchy. It is truly a network within a network. It's joyous. It's hysterical. It's annoying. And it can be tragic. Ultimately, it can be tragic.

So can life. That's what's real.

Let's play here, let's weep here. No sugar coating, no shake-n-bake on the chicken. Just skin and feathers, baby. You blow me away, you blow away all of it. You take it down, and you've cheated yourself. And 20 other angry motherfuckers too.

I don't know. Maybe that blog is more of a posse than a community. Maybe that's the difference. Maybe in an online "community" you can mold and cast members and decorum and protocol. But in a posse, everyone "gets it." No explanation needed. And don't abuse the privilege (and it is a privilege to share blog control with 20 other lunatics) or none of us wake up here tomorrow.

Are we professionals? Well, many of us are tops in our fields. Does that make a difference? Not a fucking ounce of difference. Who's young? Who's old? Are we diverse? I don't know. I haven't seen one of those goofballs up close enough to know if they're men, women, transgendered, black, white, or Bill Gates.

That's the point: It's humanity, it's the each other in the other that opens up the possibilities for creating, innovating, misbehaving, irritating, engaging, and transforming.

It's not the only way. It's not even my only way. But it might just be the right way.