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Small World

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Many of you will remember how, a few weeks ago, my little family was featured in a StoryCorps segment that aired on NPR's Morning Edition. I bring it up again because it's a good example of the way the internet has dramatically changed the way we interact with information.

If that interview had aired on the radio ten years ago, we would have had our minute of fame and been done with it. It would have disappeared from the airwaves the instant it aired, and it wouldn't have been archived in any meaningful, accessible way. We would have hoped and assumed that somewhere, for that brief moment, our story sparked a conversation or two about non-traditional families. But it would have been like throwing a stone into a pond in the dark — you know it causes ripples in the water, but you can't see them.

Things are different now. Because the segment is archived online, it's like we can keep throwing the stone into the water over and over again. And we can see the ripples. We can measure the height of the ripples. We can even measure their velocity and know how far they travel. It's crazy, how much we can find out about those ripples. Frankly, I find this increased capacity for knowledge both thrilling and disturbing.

Ever since that interview aired, I've been looking for references to it online, and have found some interesting ones. There are the obvious references, from public radio websites that have archived the interview, and on blog posts by people I know, like Eva, Alison, Odum  and Bill. Not surprisingly, a lesbian blogger at Windows Media (which owns the New York Blade, Washington Blade and the Southern Voice in Atlanta) picked it up. She also referenced it at her personal blog, where I left a comment, which she responded to (another small world-ism — I discovered, reading her blogroll, that she knows VT librarian-blogger Jessamyn).

But there are a multitude of other online references as well. For example, someone posted a transcript of the interview to a message board at askmen.com. A guy from London commented on it: "What the hell?" he writes. "Reading that feels like stepping through some twisted Looking Glass." Huh. And check this out — a weird Google translation of a Japanese blog post about our interview (here's the original, in Japanese).

I also found a transcript posted at a blog called Whosedaugher? (yes, misspelled in that way), which appears to be a site created by a disgruntled donor-conceived child woman who opposes the whole donor dynamic.

What does it mean, that all this information exists out there, and that I can find it so quickly? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it's changing me and my worldview in some fundamental way. I'm just not quite sure how yet.

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