Days weeks months of every day interactions made that first meeting feel like less of a blind date and more of a catch up between friends I hadn’t seen for a while.
Berklee, Kyren and i laughed, drank tea, ate cake and talked about ourselves, app.net hardly got a mention as we did some colouring in on our real life existences, that we’d met each other online just three months previously was just by the by.
We had a moment noticing Stevie Wonder soundtracking our meetup as we sat down in one of my favourite cafes, a few weeks earlier Berklee had sent me a Stevie/Little Kim mix he’d done. Bonding over music can go deep and hearing ‘Superstitious’ that afternoon was an echo on the good vibes you get when someone you’re talking to likes the same stuff as you.
Somewhere along the daily way on app.net (ADN) of exchanging good morning pleasantries and cheeky situational threads that spurned much hilarity I’d formed online friendships with some engaging and witty friendly folk.
So i grew very fond of the place, but lets be honest, what’s a social network without all the complexities of human personalities amplified within? It wasn’t all funnies and how-ya-doins, the jovial salon was from time to time very much alive with The Disgruntled who would storm back to Twitter after posting hefty monologues full of drama, foreboding and "ADN GODS BE DAMNED YOU MUST DO BETTER".
I exaggerated just a tad with that, but some of the goodbye missives were extraordinarily heartfelt; like i say having paid for an annual or monthly membership some people felt the need to be in charge and tantrumising their dissatisfaction seemed the only way to say goodbye.
Theme Monday was magicked out of a conversation around some of the gloom left behind. Alicia’s "why don’t we change avatars for a day" was funnier than it sounds as around sixty folk shrunk down to their baby photos, some more recognisable than others and really really cute.
Creating value for other people shows up all the time on app.net, that is one of the community’s many endearing qualities that survives in spite of the sometimes febrile threads on whether the platform itself can/will/should survive.
A Second Monday of the Month community tradition grew from that first Baby Monday; Alicia, Berklee and I got more organised and efficient with each one. It was my first time doing anything like this and I was delighted to see people getting in to the spirit of it, part of the idea behind it was to give folk a reason to connect with users who might be strangers to them, and for me that happened a lot as I captured all the many different avatars.
It grew with each month, Albums Monday had 248 ADN users joining in, a milestone at its six month mark. Music sharing can be such an expressive thing, it’s one of the reasons why I love Rivr app so much, how it affords the opportunity to leave a digital thumbprint of what I’m listening to with some social potential attached.
With everyone posting their favourite album as their avatar I wanted to duplicate the Rivr experience and compile a playlist from each avi choice. I floated the idea publicly and discussed it with Berklee in private then found myself cut out of the conversation with the Monday Night Dance Party team.
Not what we agreed would happen but it happened any way, when I asked what had been said I received a petulant copy/pasted transcript of his conversation with the MNDP guys and later a broad stroke criticism of my personality. That was really the beginning of the end of my involvement with Theme Monday.
Do you think we talked it out as albeit new friends or collaborators? I tried but all my Private Messages and emails went unreplied. Aware of a bereavement in his family i gave Berklee space to get in touch and with the following month’s Lego Monday the bullshit flowed in to disrespect.
So the copy I produced for an Albums Monday Playlist never did go up on the Theme Monday website and Berklee’s justified his non response on the basis that my emails were incomplete.
Allowing for different communication styles or the varying ways people handle conflict I weighed up what I loved against what I was coming to hate, and calling time on my involvement with Theme Monday was a logical but sad choice.
I took a timeout from ADN and regrouped and returned to have Berklee in my morning Mentions exchanging pleasantries like nothing the frack had happened, that is too much disconnect for me to get my head around and i had to put a stop to that.
We can be whoever we want to be online and behave however we choose, trolling and flame wars for the most part don’t bleed out in to our real lives.
I have no idea why they reached out in to real life to meet me and kept their online personas going. The end of Theme Monday -and I won’t be taking part in any of it, was also the end of a friendship.
I’ve been freeze framing that coffee shop conversation, feeling small about not having filtered myself more, I didn’t think much about their cartoon avatars
and yes I had an expectation that I was meeting with real people not online handles. I probably wouldn’t have shared my business idea with them if I’d thought about them being aliases.
I’m very particular about having my choices eroded by other people, that is one aspect of control freakery that I’ll own as all mine. I can’t hold on to feeling upset about being genuine and real with fake people I’ve met, faux friendships have to fall apart.
I’m sad to hear Theme Monday has somewhat dissolved as a community event. No publicity efforts on the part of Berklee & Co, when Theme Monday was always about seeding a community, has had the inevitable effect of apathy and slim participation.