Personal media and social software such as facebooks, blogs, myspaces, twitters and whatnot rely on user-generated content. They also are positive pressure systems - they count on more stuff coming in over time. There is nothing pulling that content into the system other than the users' own desire to participate.
One of the results of this, though, is that someone you normally feel connected to, through their webpages or livejournals or tweets can suddenly drop off the face of the earth for a few days or even weeks, and only by more traditional forms of communication (or by the return of the prodigal)does it become clear what happened. Friend X had a family tragedy. Blogger Y was in the hospital with the swine flu. Facebooker Z is dealing with a breakup.
This stuff won't get into the system unless the poster so chooses it. In fact, unless you're paying attention to that particular individual and know their habits well, you might not even notice they were gone.
So in my case. I've been radio silent not because I've been out of town (a usual reason), but because I have been recovering from one of the nastiest cases of food poisoning/stomach flu it has been my misfortune to get.
Thursday lunch I has a "almost reuben" from a local sandwich shop, sent into the office. the coleslaw tasted a little iffy, but I did not think much of it at the time. That was about 1 PM. By 2 PM I started feeling queasy, and by 3 PM I started getting cold shakes. I went home at 4 which proved wise because by the time the Lovely Brid got home at 6, I was totally incapacitated with at temp of 100.4.
Now, as you can guess, I got better (well, getting better - still a bit woozy and break out in a sweat when I have to lift anything heavier than a mug of tea) but I completely lost Friday, and missed most of the weekend (a Bookfair, Steamcon, and my Sister In Law was up for a visit - she didn't see me until Sunday and was convinced that "Jeff has a stomach bug" was a cunning plan the LB had dreamed up to cover the fact she had killed me with a trowel and buried me under the tomato beds).
But man, the dreams from Friday - color, three dimensional primitive atari art dreams (mind you, I don't think I actually dreamed in color, but I remember dreaming in color, as my fever-infused mind tried to deal with with overheated surroundings). Here's what I ended up with:
Our universe is bounded by other universe (nothing new there), connected by tubes in which the nature of other universe pour into our universes (an upsurge of magic from a more magical universe, an upswing of evil from a more evil universe, an increase of fresh water from a fresh water universe)and vice versa (nothing surprising there).
But the competition is not between opposed universe (evil vs good, salt vs fresh), but rather by factions within each of the universes - those who favor incremental changes versus those who prefer sudden, major jumps in the influences levels. Think of the first as damage over time, and the second a damage from a single hit of a weapon. Gradualists versus Catastrophists.
And agents of each side are convinced that their method of maintaining the tubeways is the correct one - the gradualists feels that the sudden shocks of the catastrophists weakens the structure of the multiverse, while the catastrophists feel the gradualists are slowing the nature sudden ebb and flow of the multiple cosmos. Both sides think of themselves as the good (well, right) guys, and that the others are sworn, wrong enemies.
And it came through is such incredible interwoven clarity that such dreams of capable of, that the curtain has been pulled back and now I get a view of the workings of the cosmos itself.
Basis for a fantasy campaign? Maybe. Foundation for a religion? Heck yeah. And anyone who picks this up remember that I get a piece of the take (no martyrdoms, please)
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