I love babble

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Unionist
I love babble

Comment.

 

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

I guess I must. I'm here again, aren't I?

 

Unionist

That's exactly the kind of response I was fishing for. Anyone else?

ETA: All right, let me elaborate. I have learned so much from people here in the last (almost) 4 years. I don't know whether the "powers that be" read any of this stuff, but I just thought I'd express my gratitude. This is really something special.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I hate babbling, but I love babble.

Unionist

That is profound, Boom Boom, and very likely true for me as well!

 

oldgoat

It went from a random reference in the Toronto Star which I decided to look up, to registering within 1/2 hour, to a very big part of my life.

 

Golly, who'da thunk.

Tommy_Paine

 

Well, I'm here as an alternative sentencing arrangement.

 

Serioulsy, why I like coming here has changed over the years.  In the early going I really liked the cut and thrust of debate, and I was much nastier then.  But now I've mellowed, and do that hardly at all-- and almost, if not entirely, tongue in cheek. 

Although it certainly happens, minds change over time, one learns this or that, but debate, or rather perhaps a point of debate rarely changes minds. But it's never ending fun to try.

But through debate we learn how to progress in the mean time with those that just need a little more time to see the inevitable perfection of one's views-- which they certainly will, one day.

And hopefully we translate that in places where it counts.

And, everyone here has grown on me. God help me, I like everyone, even those that don't like me.

Except you, Unionist.  You stink.

 

Wink

Unionist

:)

Michelle

I love babble too.  Even when I occasionally hate it, I still love it.  It's been kind of a political lifeline for me over 8 years, and it took me from thinking about the issues I feel strongly about to being active about them.

When I (very occasionally) give talks about media democracy and social media and such, I generally talk about the way babble has changed me personally, and how it is not just a great community (which it is), but also often a tool for social change.  If I can find it, I'll post the talk I gave at Media Democracy Day 2008, which is almost solely focused on rabble and babble, if anyone's interested.

Tommy_Paine

Very.

George Victor

Love is a very particular sensation. My feelings, a day or so back, expressed in another thread:

"I try to embarass the Conservatives with each letter to the editor I write, and to a lesser extent the Liberals.  Babble helps keep me from going 'round the bend, given a life situation I have had to deal with. Just "discovered" this group a couple of years back (through Friends of Canadian Broadcasting).  It's okay until someone "pees on my carpet" ...love that old phrase of Lyndon Johnson..."

Michelle

Okay, Tommy, you asked for it. :)  By the way, folks, this talk was given before the redesign, so back then, you COULD look at the old 9-11 threads.  Sigh. :)  It was a talk on citizen journalism.  There were other speakers on the panel who were bloggers, so that's why I focused on babble instead of going "wide" and talking about other forms of citizen journalism (of which there are many!)

Quote:
Why Citizen Journalism is Important

First of all, let me introduce the web site I work for, rabble.ca.  rabble is a good example of a media organization that incorporates citizen journalism.  We are a multi-media web site and we are entirely online.  We have a news and opinion section, a decent-sized network of podcasts, and a book review section.  We’ve just recently added a video section called rabbletv, and we launched our first blog during the election – and hopefully that blog will be the first of many to come.

But the section I am most intimately involved with, and the one I’m going to focus on the most today, is our discussion forum, babble.

I’m going to talk a bit about myself and my own experiences with citizen journalism, because I think it will help me to illustrate how important citizen journalism is, and the way it can transform a passive audience into an engaged, active, and interactive one.

I first got involved with rabble in 2001, as a participant on babble, not as a moderator.  I’d heard about it through Judy Rebick’s column that she did at the time on the CBC web site, and the first thing that grabbed me on rabble was its discussion forum. 

At the time, I was a university student at Queen’s in Kingston.  I was a mature student with a very young child, newly separated.  So, as a single mother and a full time student, I was pretty busy, and wasn’t really involved in anything political or activist in nature.

So up until I first found rabble, I would say that I was a passive audience.  I read mainstream news web sites, I watched the news on TV, I read the papers when I had a moment to spare, and the information was all flowing in one direction – from the media to me, the audience.

Then I started reading babble, and thought, wow, look at all these interesting and intelligent people.  They were talking about current events, politics, and activism.  These were ordinary people out there who thought like I did.  So I started posting along with them right away.  It was a fabulous outlet for a somewhat isolated single mom.

But one thing I want to make clear is this: we weren’t just posting our opinions or giving feedback.  That’s an important distinction.  There have always been ways to “talk back” to the media.  Letters to the editor, phone-in radio talk shows – I mean, I remember when I was six years old, hearing Cross Country Check Up on the radio at my grandmother’s place when I went to visit her.  Feedback is nothing new.

But with traditional media, the information flows one way – from media to audience.  And then there is audience feedback, which also flows one way.  But you never feel like they intersect, you know?  It’s very separate.  You can give feedback to traditional media, but you can’t really engage them.  And your feedback is labeled very clearly and put off to the side as “what our readers think.”  It’s not taken seriously.

But babble is different.  It’s not a feedback mechanism.  It’s not a letters to the editor section for the site.  It’s not even a phone-in show where you talk to the host for ten seconds and then he hangs up on you.  It’s a place where the readers connect with each other over time.  And they build a community.  It’s truly interactive media.

Now you might think, what does a bunch of people sitting around at their computers gabbing at each other have to do with media?  Well, babble is one of the most read sections of the site, and for good reason.  Babblers don’t just talk about the news with each other.  We report news, too, and then we deconstruct it.  I consider us to be citizen reporters, and citizen pundits.  We’re citizen journalists on babble, and I’m going to give you an example of that.

On September 11th, 2001, when the planes hit the towers in New York, babble became an information clearing house for 24 hours straight.  The web sites of the major networks were jammed at the time and no one could get any information if they weren’t near a television.

But babble was different that day.  We had an army of babblers posting updates from tons of sources.  We had “straight news” threads where babblers posted factual updates with their sources.  Citizen reporters.  We had “speculation” threads where we talked about who might have done this and what the impact would be.  Citizen pundits.  We had “reaction” threads where we talked about our feelings about the whole thing – we were scared, sad, cynical, angry – you name it, we felt it.  Human interest.  We had “information” threads where we could ask questions and get information on phone numbers to call in order to help, like Red Cross, or billeting people from grounded planes, etc.  Public service announcements.

And you know what rabble did?  They stuck our threads at the very top of the front page of the site so that readers of rabble could get the very latest, breaking news, reported by the babblers – the citizen journalists – of the site.  It was incredible. 

Every once in a while I look at those old threads.  They’re social history artifacts.  It wasn’t just news - it was the human reaction of an entire community.

So anyhow, that’s just one example.  Elections are another example.  Many babblers are politically active and work on election campaigns, and you often read the “inside scoop” from them about what’s happening at the riding level in various campaigns. 

For instance, remember Dana Larsen, the NDP candidate who had to resign because of those pot legalization activist videos during this election?  Well, what you probably don’t know about Dana is that he has been a babbler for years.  And so we got to hear, first-hand, his side of the story and his explanation.  He posted his reaction to the whole situation on babble while he was still saying “no comment” to the mainstream media about it.  Why?  Because we’re a community on babble, and he’s part of it and he wanted us to know what happened.  He cared what we thought, and we cared about what was happening to him, too.  And we know that in a three second soundbite world, if you want to get a complex idea across, babble is a good place to do that.  Mainstream media?  Not so much, right?

So, back to me, and I’ll wrap up with this.  When I found rabble and babble, I was not politically active.  I started posting on babble, became part of the community, and discovered a whole bunch of people who were at various levels of active engagement.  And I became inspired. 

At first, I became inspired by babble to post my opinion and put it out there, something that many people find difficult.  Then I became inspired to write an article about a racial profiling incident that happened in my community.  It wasn’t published by rabble, but it was published by another site that I’d heard about on babble.  I’ve written a good number of articles since then for rabble.

Then I became inspired by politically engaged babblers to join a political party and volunteer my time on three different election campaigns in Toronto in 2003 – provincial, federal, and municipal.

Then I learned about Proportional Representation on babble, and became inspired by some Fair Vote Canada members on babble to join the organization myself.  Eventually, I became very active in this organization, and ended up being a riding captain for two downtown Toronto ridings during the 2007 Ontario Vote for MMP campaign.

I learned what a podcast was from rabble, and when I tentatively volunteered to help out in the background of rabble radio, maybe helping with writing or something, Wayne MacPhail, the executive producer, said heck no, I’m getting you a mic and you’re downloading a sound editing program and you’re going to start producing segments for us.  And that led to doing my very own podcast for a few months.

When rabbletv started, I learned how to do simple videos and edit them myself, with lots of encouragement from the producers.

This is what is so important about media that incorporates citizen journalism.  They engage their audience and turn them into active participants in our media and in our society.  We learn about stuff, we get involved, and then we report on it ourselves and draw others in to do the same.

This is citizen journalism, and it’s at the very heart of media democracy.

Slumberjack

I can't recall how I stumbled across this site back in 2001.  With the informative news articles and posts over the years, I must admit that its starting to grow on me.

Unionist

Great, thanks Michelle - glad I opened this thread!

 

Michelle

I'm glad you did too!  It was quite heartening to stumble upon this thread this morning. :)

Unionist

I joined babble at the start of the 2005-6 election campaign, and bemoaned the NDP's stance on various issues (crime, Afghanistan, the Clarity Act, being outmanoeuvred by Harper on the pseudo-child-care baby bonus, etc.). For that, I was called a "Liberal shill" by one or two posters.

In short, it was love at first slight.

 

Tommy_Paine

 

No, I probably called Buzz a Liberal Shill, and you took it all personal like. 

Laughing

Very interesting take, Michelle, but it leaves me conflicted.  Yes, I think babble is important in the ways you describe. However, talk like yours could  lead to people taking themselves too seriously.  Or, more too seriously, and we'd lose something organic in the process.

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

If babble did not exist, it would have been necessary to invent it.

Unionist

Tommy_Paine wrote:

 

No, I probably called Buzz a Liberal Shill, and you took it all personal like. 

Laughing

 

Oh yeah, of course, that was the other part - the utter stupidity and hypocrisy of the ONDP in kicking out Buzz Hargrove, not for ideological reasons (because then they'd have to kick out lots more than him), and not even allegedly because of "strategic voting" (because then they would have had to kick out lots more than him), but for being a loudmouth in supporting Paul Martin and the like. That expulsion did nothing but damage to the NDP, as Layton wisely anticipated at the time, but that's history - hopefully the likes of Peggy Nash and maybe even Ken Lewenza can repair what was done.

So the more I was ranted and raved against for offering my opinions, the more I was stuck on babble. There's a name for that syndrome...

 

Tommy_Paine

 

Wrong?

remind remind's picture

Great talk michelle, and LOL@boom boom,we sure would.

Tommy_Paine

 

You know, that was such a floater right down the middle that I was really stuck for a moment.Laughing

Papal Bull

I like to rate things on severely broken scales that have no basis in reality. This scale is composed of the numbers -5 to 10. Why? Because I can rate things however I damn well please.

For example, nature gets 5/10 (and you have to remember that -5). Why? Because I got bit by a spider last night and I'm still all broken up about it. Why did nature do that to me? I'm not really sure. I rank spiders at a 6/10, because bastards can bite. They're not being assholes on purpose, just doing their job. Spinning webs and biting creatures bigger than them. Nature, on the other hand, is an asshole. Nature once caused wind, and the wind caused a big ol' branch of the tree to fall down and break my favourite glass which I left outside. Trees get 2/10 'cuz they're boring. My favourite glass got 8/10 because it had Batman on it.

babble gets a 6/10. Mostly because I post here, and I'm a 10/10. ;) That and it is a great link dump site where I can find resources that I wouldn't otherwise get. So, 7/10

Caissa

Commercial drift/

One way to show your love ofr babble is to become a supporter of Rabble.ca

/End Commercial Driftt

George Victor

That happens when the books are balanced in January, while still full of Christmas spirit(s) and turkey. In the meantime, saying thanks to the mods for their work is another means of expressing a real liking for babble - because they make it possible.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

I'd like to echo George: Thanks, Mods.

Michelle

Wow.  :)  Thanks, people.  It's so nice to read this after the other thread.  :)

Caissa

Since being on Babble I have taken to affectionately  calling my partner, oldgoat. I don't dare tell her where it came from...Wink

G. Muffin

"Love" is a very strong word but I definitely like babble.  Not as much as Rolo ice cream but more than Subway.  I think it might be lunch time.

oldgoat

er.....umm.....

 

uh.. ,

 

* ... !

Caissa

It could be worse. I'd be in real trouble if I called her Maysie or michelle...Laughing

500_Apples

I like this place, it was possibly my second introduction to left-wing thinking (concurrent with a few other things), and it's more permanent.

It'a also a very comprehensive site covering lots of topics.

When I argue with people here, I never actually worry the person at the other end is evil.

remind remind's picture

Ohhhhh Rolo ice cream....though I do love rabble more.

And just want to add my thanks too.

Michelle

Caissa, if you were my partner and you called me "oldgoat", no matter WHERE you got it from, I'd divorce you!  You must have a very loving, patient spouse. :D

remind remind's picture

500_apples wrote:
When I argue with people here, I never actually worry the person at the other end is evil.

Really interesting comment.

Caissa

Yes, Michelle, my partner is loving,patient and oh so long suffering.

Unionist

Caissa, take comfort in the observation that the wholener is always greater than the sum of its partners.

 

Tommy_Paine

500_Apples wrote:

I like this place, it was possibly my second introduction to left-wing thinking (concurrent with a few other things), and it's more permanent.

It'a also a very comprehensive site covering lots of topics.

When I argue with people here, I never actually worry the person at the other end is evil.

 

Dang.  NONE  of my puns have been evil?  This calls for a re-doubling of efforts.

 

BTW, 500 Apples, did you see the moon and venus this morning?  Spec-freakin-tacular.  Especially when it was still full dark, with the earth shine illuminating the shadowed part of the moon.

 

Weltschmerz

500_Apples wrote:

When I argue with people here, I never actually worry the person at the other end is evil.

I agree with this.  I'm a lurker, mostly because by the time I formulate a response to a post, the thread has either been closed for length or moved on to 5 other topics.  I try to be very clear in my communication (hence the delay in posting), but I'm mostly here to learn through reading. 

I like it here.  Should my brain ever shift into 2nd gear, I may even post more.

Weltschmerz

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Dang.  NONE  of my puns have been evil?  This calls for a re-doubling of efforts.

Puns are always evil, Tommy (I use them frequently myself).  You, however, remain cute and cuddly.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I love babble because: a) it is moderated; b) it's a place for those of us on the left to exchange views on issues of the day; c) it provides me with a quick way to avoid the MSM and find out what's considered important by people with whom I have views in common; d) it has helped me to clarify and formulate my own views; e) I get the occassional smackdown when I'm out to lunch on some issue ... which is probably good for me; f)it's made me a better and more confident debater; g) it has provided me with an opportunity to express socialist views and try to defend those views, which is a priceless exercise; and so on.

Tommy_Paine

Weltschmerz wrote:

Tommy_Paine wrote:

Dang.  NONE  of my puns have been evil?  This calls for a re-doubling of efforts.

Puns are always evil, Tommy (I use them frequently myself).  You, however, remain cute and cuddly.

 

Ouch.

CMOT Dibbler

sorry...

CMOT Dibbler

Love is a strong word. I love my parents. I love my brother and sister. I LIKE Babble (well, sometimes,) because it gives me contact with the Gods and Goddesses of Canada's left and gives me a chance to engage in the sort of political discourse that usually doesn't exist in Fernie. It's very frustrating being part of the very small leftist clique in an area that's either politically unengaged(hey, lets hand out pamphets about recycling and be really smug about the fact that we use organic olive oil, while at the same time voting Green, and disengaging entirely from anything to do with big picture politics!) Or barbarously right wing, (you take my fucking gun away, I'll shoot you, you fucking bleeding heart socialist, communist environmentalist sikh loving teacher tonguing union endorsing faggot!) So coming here is, sometimes at least, like finding an oasis in what is basically a massive political desert.

I just wish that it didn't get so nasty around here.

Unionist

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

Love is a strong word.

That's why I said I love babble. And it makes me very happy that you hang around here.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

CMOT Dibbler wrote:

 Or barbarously right wing, (you take my fucking gun away, I'll shoot you, you fucking bleeding heart socialist, communist environmentalist sikh loving teacher tonguing union endorsing faggot!) 

It is lines like this one that make me love coming to babble. 

___________________________________________

Soothsayers had a better record of prediction than economists

Wilf Day

G. Pie wrote:
I definitely like babble. Not as much as Rolo ice cream but more than Subway. I think it might be lunch time.

Maybe even more than cheese teabiscuits. Almost as much as Toblerone.

As Deanna Troi didn't quite say "I never met a chocolate or a discussion board I didn't like."

Nor a mod.

Infosaturated

Michelle wrote:

I love babble too.  Even when I occasionally hate it, I still love it.  It's been kind of a political lifeline for me over 8 years, and it took me from thinking about the issues I feel strongly about to being active about them.

When I (very occasionally) give talks about media democracy and social media and such, I generally talk about the way babble has changed me personally, and how it is not just a great community (which it is), but also often a tool for social change.

 

Do you think that would still happen if you arrived today rather than 8 years ago?

janfromthebruce

way to mushy for me - thanks to the mods, and to the people who post their thoughts, feelings, and often do so passonately and with conviction, humour, and often with well-grounded knowledge and general knowledge.

I find it very helpful to understand what is going on in different parts of Canada, and the world. thanks to all, and to all a good night. How many days till christmas?

remind remind's picture

You are not leaving are you?

janfromthebruce

oh no, and that not my intent - just wanted to say thanks and was signing off for the evening.

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