I took my first improv class in 2003, I restarted in and have been doing it consistently since 2005, I was on my first indie improv team in 2006, I got on a UCB house team in 2009, I’ve been coaching consistently since I think 2009, I’ve taken dozens of classes and done hundreds of shows, and I started thinking of myself as a good improviser last month.
Message boards have fallen out of favor, and I feel like there are times when they’d be useful and we don’t have a great substitute. I thought of this when the improv community got all ruffled about Triple Crown recently: the whole thing played out over social media, but Facebook comment threads are limited to people who know each other, and Tumblr would be unwieldy for something like a thread (i.e. you’d have to reblog every time you wanted to make a short comment). Something like a message board would be great for something like the improv community, which is big enough that nobody knows everybody, but small enough that common concerns arise (plus a constant influx of new people, so nobody will ever know everybody and there will always be perennial topics to revisit). But it’s a cultural thing, not a utilitarian thing; message boards exist, but people don’t use them. I’m not saying we should; I don’t want to. Social media covers most of it. But not all of it.
Also: when social media started, it was geared more toward meeting people. Friendster was geared toward dating and networking, and Myspace retained some of that. But all of that seems harder now, largely because legitimate privacy concerns have made social media less searchable and more restricted. I guess you could go join a Facebook group for some common interest, but that seems like more work. I guess some people use Twitter or Tumblr to strike up conversations with strangers, and I know people who’ve made friends that way, but that also seems like more work— it’s more about ongoing content creation, rather than a profile that’s just there. Maybe it’s just me, and my own habits have changed, and I’m less inclined to dick around how I used to. But I used to make friends online, some of whom are still some of my closest friends; that doesn’t happen anymore, and I’m not sure how it could.
1) While internet culture has improved in many ways, it’s gotten worse at bringing people together.
2) It feels strange that so many major cultural shifts in how we interact are 0% because of organic changes and 100% because of specific, intentional functionality changes made by ubiquitous online services.
3) Nostalgia can make any form of crap seem like the good old days.
OK, so the story got a little better in this one, but Beto is smoking mad crack.
I am laughing out loud at the most concisely accurate Love & Rockets review I have ever read.
(I can’t believe I’m linking to a goddamn salon.com article. But it’s fun and good and I believe in positive reinforcement as first resort.)
The New York Times did this profile of Christine Quinn when she was running for mayor, and it was about how she was aggressive and vindictive in her use of power, and it got a lot of backlash from people who felt those same qualities in a man would be praised as assertive leadership skills, and I agreed, but I didn’t get why that was an argument against criticizing Quinn instead of an argument in favor of similarly criticizing lots of male leaders. I think about that a lot.