JUDGING BY MY TRAFFIC
Evidently, People Are Losing Interest. Already.
I may have been one of the first bloggers on the Internet with news of the tsunami. It happened some time late on Christmas Day, our time. I became aware of it after midnight, the morning of the 26th, here.
In Hawaii, you hear the word "tsunami," your ears perk up. I saw the story on Google's news page. I read every story they had --just a dozen or so, maybe, at that hour. It was about four hours after the first shock of the undersea earthquake, just as the first waves were hitting.
My first concern was warning people. But that was hopeless. It was Sunday, Christmas-time, a quiet holiday weekend in the U.S. I had no idea how to reach people out there, in South Asia. I get a few hits from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam. But not much further west. Next, I thought of just putting out the alarm on the blogging sites, hoping some people in the affected areas might see it. I hit all the bigs --Atrios, Dkos, American Street, AmericaBlog, etc.
I realized that people needed to do something, right away. I posted links to the first, and then the latest news stories. And more links to general info on tsunami's, the science, the history, the geography. Finally, links to the charities, official relief organizations and NGOs. This was going to be huge; a disaster of historical proportions, even if Bushco couldn't see it.
The bloggers were not seeing it either. I was the first one to post on the subject, in most places. I had to post "off-topic," and put up links to my own site and the Diary I started on dailyKOS. It still took days until some blogs responded. I think people didn't really know what a tsunami was.
I didn't, before I came to Hawaii. Why would I? Why would anyone in North America: There's never been one there, since First Contact. Or in Northwest Europe, in about the same period, over five hundred years. So it really didn't register. It was just a weather story, right? Just another distant third-world disaster story.
But I knew what it was. I knew what was going to happen. Because I'd been through a tsunami before, here in Hawaii. It was just a small one, about seven years ago. But it took twelve hours to get here, from an earthquake in Japan. All we could do was sit here and wait for it to hit something.
It's not a high, visible wave. It's more like a depression in the ocean, rolling forward until it hits something. Then it climbs right up the side of whatever island it hits, from the bottom to the top. And keeps on climbing. No way to know how high, until it actually hits something. There was nothing between us and Japan except Midway, about two hours away. So, for the first ten hours, we had no way of knowing how big a tsunami we were in for. Turned out, it was only three feet high.
But the first waves to hit anything in the Indian Ocean were reported to be thirty feet high, or more, in this Christmas Tsunami. I was afraid for the people farther down the line, as we had been. I knew what they were in for, some hours hence. It was like watching a train wreck, in slow motion. With people standing in the path of the bloody train. And you couldn't yell loud enough to warn them off, in time. It was a nightmare. All I could do was blog, and post on other people's blogs.
I know I was making a pain in the ass out of my self, using other people's blogs. But their blogs get hundreds of thousands of hits every day. Mine has only gotten a few thousand in three months. I wanted as many people as possible to react as quickly as possible. A lot of people were going to die, and a lot more were going to need a lot of help, quick.
So, I did what I could. None of the bloggers I posted with responded to me. Nobody linked to my blog, or my Dkos diary. That's how I knew they were pissed. I didn't need the traffic. My stats went up tenfold right away, and stayed there all week, thanks to hits from search engines. I could have lived without the traffic. I just hoped some of them might help out, somehow.
I kept posting on the tsunami all week, on the disgraceful Bushco failure to respond to the emergency, then the fake, chintzy P.R. response. I posted links to every site I thought might help to motivate people, and channel resources towards the victims and their communities, whatever was left of them.
I don't know. Maybe I did some good. Maybe I just pissed off a few big-time bloggers. The bigger they are, the less attention they've paid to this historic tragedy, anyway. Fuck 'em. Not political enough? Too well-covered, by now? Dunno. Anyway, it was a learning experience for me, about the possibilities, and the limitations of the much-touted, lately, blogosphere.
This is not the real world. Nothing you do here has any direct affect on the real world. If you want to have any real impact, you have to do something in the real world. Bloggers are just a bunch of unrealistic, egomaniacal jerk-offs. Myself included. Now, go out and do something with your life. The Internet is a gigantic waste of time: A tsunami of meaningless, insubstantial blather. Fuck it.
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