As my participation in Ello has increased, my attention to my email has declined. Email has become an unending stream of requests to sign petitions and contribute, each justified by a pronouncement of impending disaster or recent catastrophe.
Email always wants something.
Ello posts want to give some things.
Ello is about "show and tell", which asks for little in return but recognition, which I am glad to give. Ello is the refrigerator door where mom always hung our art. Ello is about sharing whatever is of value, what is human, what is sacred.
Ello reminds me of the day after 9/11: there was a sudden silence in the cacophony of the marketplace. Commercial activity, at that time, would have been disrespectful. The situation called for all of us to honor the dead and to reflect upon their humanity.
For a moment, there was respect for people who had died, some of whom had acted heroically. In an effort to help others,some were willing to die. Some did.
Temporarily we were being addressed as people, not as consumers. On the TV screen, a man had descended to his death as he jumped to avoid being burned to death. Policemen wept, firemen embraced in grief. People walked down streets together toward their homes. A woman related how a stranger had momentarily pressed against her to protect her from falling debris: "I could feel the beating of his heart".
Soon, ravenous commerce resumed, the silence ended, the respect vanished, and our sense of being a single community of people united by our capacity for shared grief, fragmented once more into thousands of pieces under the relentless pressure of predatory capitalism.