Sunday, July 01, 2007

Cinthia Ritchie Diaspora

I'm not feeling all that serious today, a rare break in the mood for this blog. The internet is full of personal diasporas. What if I contacted all the "Jim Russells" or "James Russells" I could turn up in a Google search? Cinthia Ritchie has an answer for me:

I never particularly liked my name until last week, when I Googled myself and found other Cinthia Ritchies -- Cynthias and Cindys -- across the country. Each time I discovered another one, I felt an instant connection, the way I used to feel in elementary school when I noticed a girl with the same lunchbox and knew we would be best of friends.

When I called and e-mailed a few of them, they were equally excited.

"Another Cynthia Ritchie," they said, followed by "How many of us are there?"

I'm sure such vanity searches are common. But I appreciate that Cinthia took the next step, establishing a new community. The same process is at work for bloggers. Many of us are seeking others who share an issue, idea, or world view.

Diaspora literally means scattered. While I champion Scattered Pittsburgh, I have a passion for all dispersed communities, including the Cinthia Ritchie Network. Trust cultivated over space, beyond the practical possibilities of face-to-face relationships, is the exception. Distance is its own Tower of Babel.

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