|Courtesy of Steve Roggenbuck|
Love Storming is when you care about someone very much. Telling them “I care about you” doesn’t always cut it. Sometimes it takes a village. A village can be hard to assemble in real life, so you have to go to the internet. What you then do is tag a picture with roughly 50 or more people. Once this is done, you feel the love of roughly 10,000 or so comments existing as a broken up narrative. But this number only increases, if slower than before, never stopping to think why it exists, but simply being a part of the Facebook experience. It is in fact a living breathing internet organism, feeding off the participants’ wit and verve.
Steve Roggenbuck may be the genius of our interconnected generation. Without any sort of external help, he’s managed to become a force to be reckoned with on and offline. Twitter feeds, Facebook, Blogging, Chapbooks, he does it all with an enthusiasm which is contagious. I don’t know how he does it, but unlike many other writers, he invites participation. Most of his work and projects function only with outside participation. Plus, he adds a sense of humor and mischief that so many other writers lack. In case that wasn’t enough, he has confidence like you wouldn’t believe. Follow me on Twitter; Follow me on Facebook takes on a new importance with his work.
Bebe Zeva ended up being the love stormed person this week. Using a single photo of her, Steve then proceeded to tag about 35 people. Of course, this being Facebook, there’s really no limit to how many people can continuously post on the same picture, over and over again. Choosing Bebe was a wise decision as it is impossible to dislike her. If you don’t like her, it may be a problem you have, not a problem she has. There’s a reason Tao Lin and Megan Boyle made a documentary about her that I covered in extensive detail on this very site, or why they opened up a Kombucha bottle before giving it to her. MDMA Films might consider her documentary to be their ‘crown jewel’ of their ever-increasing collection of DVD releases.
The picture was simple. A screenshot, literally the most basic of internet skills was employed of Steve adding Bebe as a friend on Facebook. This was nothing too unusual for either participant, as they are both online personalities. Next came the tricky part. How can you tag the kind of people who will take an idea and run with it especially an idea as absurd as constantly commenting on a Facebook picture and transforming it into a full-fledged conversation, if not actual chat room? Can those people do online improvisation if required?
Walt Whitman once said “For great poetry, there must be great audiences.” Picking your audience is probably one of the most important things you can do once you try to create such an epic experience. Not like this was the first time such a thing had been done, apparently there had been tens of thousands of comments on pictures and statuses before. Steve’s goal differed in that he consciously want this to be a memorable, enjoyable experience that could have participants leave and enter while keeping up the velocity of the comments. Getting a group of people diverse enough to comment during the Earth’s full rotation meant people outside of the US, in the UK, in New Zealand, and countless other countries in other time zones.
“Feel the Inspiration” is the name of Steve’s Tumblr, but the chat felt more like “Feel the Love” as the project progressed. A natural flow of a chat room emerged, with Bebe even joining the conversation time to time. In fact, Bebe said she’ll be posting up an article on “Thought Catalog” about the entire enjoyable experience. Hover around Thought Catalog for when her version of the events comes out. Megan Boyle stopped by to say hi as well, along with the older Rachel Zeva. While a few characters came and went, a hardcore group of people emerged to keep things going. Steve served as a director of the event, calling it an “anti-shitstorm” and “meta-chat thread”.
How did the love exactly spread? Over the course of the chat, everyone made new friends, thus continuing the original intention of Steve adding Bebe as a friend. I met new people, added 17 friends on Facebook as the love storm progressed. People swam in and out of different ideas. Sometimes it would be about finding a new soundtrack by putting up a youtube clip. Having music play in the background makes staring at a computer screen with a near-religious devotion that much easier.
Focus turned to the giant thread itself, with people excited about who got which thousandth post (I was lucky enough to get four thousand, Louise Joy got the pivotal number of ten thousand, allegedly the cut-off point, but it continued after that with toe holes, a topic introduced by one half of the blogging crew “Philolzophy”). People even created youtube clips based on the excitement created by such a small articulate part of the internet, this moving clip being just one of many examples (thank you Jim Rowley!). One happy marriage came out of this intense experience. We wondered whether the thread could get a MacArthur genius grant, end world hunger, usher in an era of peace, win a Nobel Prize for Literature (beating Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’), or get some sweet blog coverage. At least the last topic was almost guaranteed. In case the thread wins a MacArthur genius grant, the thread will be able to focus on that novel it’s always wanted to write.
Summarizing such an epic thread is impossible. Can I summarize a living, breathing thread? Figuring that out is like summarizing someone’s future. I will avoid making light of this important event on the internet, in the confines of internet poetry. Internet poetry has never seen anything so great; I’m moved to tears by this event. Visit it here, keep it going strong, and see the genius behind such an event which comes along as often as Hayley’s Comet. Think of it as the Woodstock of Flarf, the Boykittens Family, or, how I put it:
|Courtesy of Je Sk|
“This is the most important comment thread I’ve ever participated in.”