/ log / 15th Mar, 2011 /

Ides of March

My friend and colleague, Chris, has shared a spiffing idea, the Ideas of March. He suggests: ‘If we all blog a little more than we normally would this month, maybe we can be reminded of all of the reasons blogs are great.’

But wait, this post is called the Ides of March? Right. As soon as I read what Chris had posted, a twist on the phrase echoed in my memory. The Ides of March is a Roman festival dedicated to the god of war, Mars. Some say it’s on the 15th of March (today). I can’t find a reference that this is accurate relative to the Julian or current Gregorian calendars, so I will use the first full moon instead. This year it will be on Saturday, 19th of March, in four days time. Wikipedia has more:

The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 44 B.C.

Dramatic stuff. Appropriate in these times, too. Mars may have been the god of war, based on the anarchistic Greek god, Ares, but he represented the pursuit of peace through military strength. A thoroghly debunked method if you ask me, but a pretty neat rationalisation still used today. The military pursues Gaddafi’s version of peace in Libya. Mubarak tried it, and failed, in Egypt. The Ben Ali regime collapsed under protests in Tunisia. Saleh is on his way in Yemen. Right now, Saudi soldiers are deployed in Bahrain to quell protestors fighting for democratic freedom.

Whatever you think about the current strife, one thing is true: Tyrants never last. I’ve been an advocate of Twitter, and its ambient intimacy for almost four years. In that time I’ve seen it buoyed by the innovations of its users. Smart folks using @replies, and retweets that became a part of the fabric, coded into links and threads (sort-of). Other smart people building clients with new ways of looking at the graph. I’ve seen Twitter take the good ideas and do good things with them. Yet now, Twitter isn’t just the platform any longer, it wants to be the clients too. From URL shortening and tracking, to changes in who can make clients, and how they work. People don’t like it. The same kind of smart people who helped it be successful. The same kind of people who permit benevolent dictators to exist until they become tyrants.

I’m still a fan of the idea of short messages. They are neat, by their nature, but lest Twitter forgets, they also exist elsewhere, too. They’re a snack between meals. Signposts to feasts. The real banquets are blog posts, though. I’ve learnt more from them in the last ten years than I ever will from 140 characters. That’s why blogs are something to be treasured. Blogs and RSS may be dead according to some, but I like that I disagree. After all, even with this rambling post, you’ve probably learnt something, just like I have writing it. Thanks for the prompt, Chris.

Don’t procrastinate, fire up your editor and share your own ideas of March. Drew, Lorna, and Sean already have. Go on, you know it’s been far too long!

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4 Comments

  1. 1. By Chris Shiflett on 15th Mar ’11 at 08:18am

    Great post, Jon. You’re one of the people I’d love to read more from. I always learn something, even if your calendar math confuses me. :-)

  2. 2. By Richard Rutter on 17th Mar ’11 at 05:21am

    Super stuff. You may like to add that Julius Caesar - self-appointed dictator-in-perpetuity - was assassinated by members of the Senate on the Ides of March, as they feared his growing power (and, to be fair, feared losing their own).

  3. Jon 陳’s profile 3. By Jon 陳 on 30th Mar ’11 at 13:44pm

    Thanks, chaps. :) It’s great to have an kick in the bum to post more.

  4. 4. By Martin on 6th Jul ’11 at 20:59pm

    Fourmembers of the Senate on the Ides of March…

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