I’m honored that I’ve been asked to speak on a panel about social media at BlogHer ’12. I believe that the ways in which we share online are wonderful opportunities to inspire and be inspired. I also believe that embracing the new means we can’t disregard the past. The new ways we share ideas don’t mean we change the way we respect them.
I recently wrote a piece for BlogHer about the early days of filmmaking, about films like Hugo and The Artist, and how they touch me on a personal level. My family has been making movies for over 100 years.
My great grandfather was a producer who made the transition from silents to talkies. My grandfather is a writer, producer and director who began in film and became a television pioneer. My grandmothers are actresses who made the same transitions from stage and film and radio to television.
I didn’t witness those changes firsthand, but I learned from them.
Some of my earliest memories are of my father’s cutting room, playing with film cores and napping in trim bins. These things disappeared as film moved to digital, and he no longer held in his hands the film that he cut.
I witnessed those changes firsthand, and I learned from them.
I began writing online content over a decade ago. I was in college when I was hired by AOL and for several years delivered articles every Friday via dial-up. I kept writing screenplays and worked with private clients doing editing or research. I then joined the staff of a film magazine and later was editing there. While my passion for print and screenwriting hasn’t waned, I’ve found my place online more than print the last few years.
But I didn’t begin blogging until a year ago. I blogged vicariously on the sites of others for years by guest posting, as I began to find myself excited and fascinated by what was being written online. As a photographer, I went from film to digital – I took that work online as well.
When I began blogging, greatly influenced by my two friends Morgan (who I met when I was really little) and Eden (who I met via the Shrinky Dink effects of the blogosphere), I found so much of what applied in my offline work disregarded online. And not in a progressive way. Not in a way that was revolutionizing anything.
I think there’s a pattern in all of this. A pattern that explains why If Emily Posted is so important to me. I have read, watched, and learned firsthand about how entertainment and information is shared. How with every technological advance, there were those left behind. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t see the value or maybe were too afraid of change.
I come from a long line of artists and innovators who have always stressed the importance of embracing the new but who believed that with a connection to the past, to the ways things used to be done, we’re better at what we do in a brave new world.
And I think that’s why I am unwilling to listen to the comments, the posts and tweets that say people have to realize this is the future. That the way people misbehave online isn’t something to change or simply accept, but something to embrace.
As a writer and photographer, I have had firsthand experience with my work being misused and abused – that’s personal. I’ve watched it happen to friends and colleagues. That feels a bit personal, too.
I was raised with a real appreciation of how the past is applied to the present. How we need the one to succeed with the other.
And that’s why I’m here. That’s why all of this matters to me.
In the last week, we saw a examples of how viral messages are spread so quickly. How often people take info and pass it on without doing any homework, as Jessica wrote about so poignantly.
I’m not comparing a social media style guide to labor practices in China or atrocities in Uganda. But I do believe that it’s important that when you take information from online sources, like this blog, you know where the opinions and ideas are coming from (this applies in print, too).
All week I’ll be writing about the who, what, when, where, why and how of IEP.
I was thinking about a linkup for Friday. I want you to share how you’re feeling. To say what you love, hate, hope you’re doing as a blogger. How the internet enriches your life, the moments you’ve wanted to walk away, the moments you’ve realized why it mattered to you.
I’m not sure if people will be interested. Drop me an email at alexandrawrote [at] gmail or leave a comment and let me know if the linkup is something you’d be into. It’s not about preaching but rather putting it down on paper why this place matters and how you want to be respected.