Gather one, gather all, let me tell you a story, let me regale you with a simple yet powerful tale of the wonders achieved when the internet and compassion of (wo)man join in harmonious union.
OK, maybe not. But I do have an excellent example of how this interwoven online life we lead is actually a good thing… bear with me though, as this covers many tangents.
It all started with an RSS feed…
[cue wibbly wobbly dream sequence]
wibbly wobbly wibbly wobbly
[cut to dashingly handsome man, idly checking his RSS feeds]
So there I was, sat at the computer having a quick skim through the myriad of nonsense I track in Google Reader when I happened across a post about a t-shirt. It immediately caught my eye as it was both stylish and bold, and commemorated one of the sporting highlights of my year, the NBA finals.
I may need to elaborate a little.
I’ve always liked basketball, possibly because as a kid I was better at it than football, possibly because my Dad is a P.E. teacher and encouraged me to look at other sports? I’m not entirely sure but I still remember watching the few brief snippets of coverage the NBA was given in the UK, completely in awe as Magic Johnson threw another no-look pass, being stunned by the grace of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook, and amazed by the white boy in the room, Larry Bird. Those are hazy memories but were soon made vivid by a young man called Michael Jordan who brought boom time to the NBA and regular coverage to UK TV.
Skip forward to today and despite awe and admiration for the 95-96 Jordan led Chicago Bulls team, I have remained a quiet Lakers fan. I remember hearing about Shaq being signed to the team, and admit to being non-plussed when a rookie named Kobe Bryant was added to the roster. Turns out that rookie was pretty sensational himself, hey, he IS this year’s MVP.
The only reason I know all of this is largely thanks to the internet (sidenote to Channel 5, your coverage sucks). NBA.com has kept me up to speed with the regular season and has helped build my anticipation as the finals approach, watching snippets of video online as the Lakers and Celtics headed toward another slice of history.
So it’s thanks to the internet that I can maintain my enthusiasm for basketball, an enthusiasm which includes a desire to own a t-shirt that commemorates the Lakers appearance in NBA Finals this year.
Excitedly I clicked through to the website (80spurple.com) and started filling out the order form, happy to pay for delivery of a $18 t-shirt. Although not so happy when I found out that the delivery costs were $36, way beyond what I had expected and what I was willing to pay for, let’s face it, a screen printed t-shirt. I was somewhat irked.
But, no matter how hard I tried (ok ok, I didn’t try THAT hard) I could shake the desire. I really wanted the t-shirt. Admittedly this may be a downside to the internet, with the instant gratification and the materialistic desires it can promote, the lure of many shiny things dangled temptingly within easy reach. However we are only as weak as our… ehh… willpower is strong? I dunno. All I know is deciding I couldn’t have the t-shirt only made me want it more.
As my frustration grew I posted a plea to Twitter, in the vague hope that any of my American followers (gosh that makes it sound a tad religious, don’t you think?) on there might spot it and be able to help out. It’s a bit cheeky I admit but, like I said, NOT being able to have something only makes the desire grow stronger. I was getting desperate!
Now, as some of you know, I have a Facebook account and, rather than use the Facebook status thing I use Twitter. In other words, whatever I post to Twitter is displayed alongside my Facebook profile, so anyone who has me as a friend on Facebook will see what I’m saying on Twitter. To be honest I only really set it up to work that way to save myself having to update two things when I could just use one. I like simple maths like that.
I monitored Twitter a little too fervently for the rest of the day, in the hope that someone, ANYONE, would respond. FINALLY, and possibly after having reworded my initial plea into … well… outright begging, two good people got in touch with me with generous offers of help.
The first was an old school friend who I haven’t seen for… god… 14 years? She now lives in Boston and had recently found me on Facebook. She very kindly offered to receive the delivery of said t-shirt and post it on to the UK, confident that it would cost MUCH less than $36 to post. Her name is Kirsty and she is the fabbiest bestest person on the face of the planet at the moment (or at least she was for THAT moment, such things are transient). The other person was Adrian -dare I post the photo of him passed out in the pub during his own party- Sevitz, who is travelling to the States later in the month and offered to bring the t-shirt back with him and post it on to me. And, in a rather nice chunk of serendipity, it was the self same Sevitz who convinced me to re-instate my Facebook account (as the invites to that party were distributed from there, you know, the party where he fell asleep.. ).
See, isn’t the internet fabulous?
From an RSS feed, to an online store with the chance to purchase an item, the purchase of which was fuelled by continued use of another website on a specialist subject, to a Twittered plea (beg!) and a Facebook status update, through a couple of emails and an online order paid via Paypal.
Without the internet none of this would be possible. Without the internet I wouldn’t have the adequate methods of communication, I wouldn’t have been able to reconnect with an old school friend and I wouldn’t be able to keep my passion for the NBA alive.
And best of all, I wouldn’t have been able to bore you all with this story.