Since today is an off day from training, I thought it would be appropriate to write about something which has nothing to do with running.
Earlier today I read this article (link) from New York Magazine; it's a review of a book recently published by Random House that is a print anthology of blog writing. I also checked out a blog written by another blogging colleague (perhaps there are a lot of those....) named Kempton Mooney. The article and Kempton's blog reinforced some things I've been thinking about lately as an avid consumer of media products (books, music, movies, blogs, web sites, etc.), as an employee of a media company who thinks a lot about the future of our business, and as a person with a lot of hobbies.
The first thing is that I'm constantly amazed by the incredible depth of content and information we all now have access to - typically from the comfort of our home or office. In just the past two days I've seen several examples of this: someone watching (from their home computer) a Library of Congress video of the first recorded balloon flight, my mother in law finding this map (Shelby Township - Oceana County, Michigan that shows the property her great-grandfather owned, and the creative stories and works outlined in the NY Mag article. I'd guess that several years ago seeing the balloon flight video would have required a trip to Washington, DC and getting the map might have involved traveling to Oceana County. Without the web, the bloggers highlighted in the book might never have had the chance to connect with an audience interested in their work.
The second thing is the relative ease with which people can connect to others with common interests. I recently took a short photography class taught by Cal Vornberger, author of Birds of Central Park. The book has incredible bird photography with the added bonus of being shot right around the corner from us in Central Park. At the class Cal mentioned a well-known bird photographer and teacher named Arthur Morris (check out his photos here: Birds As Art Photo Gallery and his website here: Birds As Art. Through Birds of Art site I've had the chance to join a bird photographers forum called birdphotographers.net, where I can post bird pictures I've taken and have them critiqued by great teachers like Arthur. I think it's simply amazing that the web and other technologies give pretty much anyone the ability to easily connect with and learn from well-known experts who in turn have the chance to more broadly share their insights and their message).
Though I've spent a lot of time at work over the past year thinking about how all of the things happening in media and technology will affect book publishing, it's been really fun so far to write this blog and has brought the concepts to life for me in a whole new way. We talk a lot at work about the idea of communities forming on the web at sites like facebook, librarything, myspace, ravelry, and others, but I'm now experiencing first-hand the power of the web to help people form and join communities. In time, I hope (expect?) that The Longest Run will become a mini-community of people from all the different walks of my life - be they friends, extended family, work colleagues, or people I've never met but who are interested in the same things I'm interested in. It's a chance for me to share in a new way the things that are going on - goals, projects, pictures, movies, books, articles, thoughts, challenges, etc.
Would love to know what you all think; let me know via the comments!