Adopting some perspective

I’ve been watching with interest this week as Jeff’s posts on CSS frameworks ruffled the feathers of web designers everywhere. The strong community of blogging designers has been a key element in my transition from hobbyist website maker to professional designer. Beginning in 2003 for me, it was this network of blogs that gave me answers to questions I had regarding how to achieve accessibility and efficiency in my code, and taught me valuable insight regarding questions I never knew I should have.

These clusterfucks of one-sided soapboxing aren’t positive contributions to our collective knowledge base. All I’ve learned from threads such as this is that there are site-building options out there for people with varying needs. I love that people like Jeff raise these issues for discussion. I just wish the threads would quit degenerating so quickly. Lealea at least shed some light on what went wrong with this discussion.

Rather than throw my hat into the ring, I’ve spent time absorbing a completely different network of blogs. You could even say I’ve adopted this community as an enlightening new interest.

It all begins with my cousin Joce, who is in the difficult process of adopting a child from Ethiopia. Much of her family, including myself, lives far away from the city she now calls home. And we’ve all been able to experience this process with her by reading her blog. This personal space has detailed every bit of paperwork and every bit of emotion that Joce has encountered along her journey. And her family has been able to take part the entire time.

Maybe more importantly, my cousin’s blog has introduced her to other parents adopting children from other countries. Her sidebar contains links to countless other families sharing their experiences. They share knowledge. They share emotion. Most importantly, they share support. For each high and low Joce has encountered, there’s been another family that already climbed that mountain or crossed that valley. They are all friends in creation of their families.

I’ve hopped from one family’s blog to the next, and am truly amazed at the strength and love displayed in the quest to start a family and provide better lives for kids in need. Much like I used to hop from one designer’s blog to the next in awe of the skill and expertise being shared.

Am I missing some new corners of the design community? Am I letting my perspective be skewed by a few frequently-visited forums of unruliness in a sea of otherwise helpful sharing? Am I just too busy with other endeavors at the moment to find the valuable information that’s out there? Am I maybe hypocritical for having contributed little value to this community myself over recent months?

I suspect the answer to these questions is mostly, “Yes.” But I doubt I’m alone in my concerns with the state of the web design community. My future treks through the blogosphere (I really hate that word) will likely show that just like my cousin in her journey, I’m not alone.

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You're definitely not alone in your concerns. The web has gotten to that point of critical mass where you really have to sift through the noise to get through the message.

At any rate, though, I'm often more concerned for people who spend TOO much time in the web community (or online, period). I think that type of thing narrows one's perspective. Anyone I know who actually manages to innovate or excel on the web, often gets their inspiration away from the web (through conversations "in real life" and well, living said life) and just find a way how to apply it accordingly for digital masses.

November 25th 2007, 11:42 a.m. by Lea
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Innovation certainly doesn't happen when just looking at what everyone else is doing.

I know I get my best ideas when I'm nowhere near my computer, instead interacting with other environments and experiences.

November 25th 2007, 1:45 p.m. by Ryan Berg

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