Remembering How to Play

by Dan Blank on October 26, 2007

The coverage of the California wildfires gives another interesting look at how quickly reporting is evolving with the advent of new online tools and communities. What is most interesting is how the lines are blurring between official reporting from major media outlets, and information being gathered and shared from those directly affected and others throughout various communities. 

I want to look at the many ways that this event is being covered, and liken it all back to LEGOs. That’s right.

Here are just some of the ways that individuals, victims, communities, journalists and others are reporting on the California wildfires:

This is not just coverage – this is involvement. To the affected communities, and even to our society as a whole, that makes a huge difference.

So how does this all tie back into LEGOs? When you look at collectors of toys, the first thing you notice is that they keep the toys in their unopened boxes, and sometimes seal them behind thick plastic. They appreciate the toys, but have lost their ability to play and interact with them. And of course, this is the entire purpose of toys.

This happens in the toy collecting hobby for most toys except one big exception: LEGOs.

With LEGOs, adult collectors are constantly playing with them, and pushing the boundaries on what they can create with these little bricks.

They share photos online, have conventions, and a small industry has cropped up around Brick Films – movies made using LEGOs.

It is this kind of interaction that is not just about coldly preserving something, but interacting with it in a more meaningful way – one that helps build a community.

As digital tools allow more communities to have meaningful interaction online, it is a wonder to watch how they are leveraged in something as tragic as the California wildfires, and as playful as LEGOs.

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