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HubPages as a Place of Learning
It has been gradually coming to my attention that HubPages is not necessarily just a place for writing, nor for merely larking about and having a laugh with one’s virtual mates. Of course, it is that too, but not exclusively. HubPages, almost without my knowledge or consent, has taken me back to school.
Think of this: I am a mother of three, and I stay at home with my youngest as I have stayed at home with my two older children. In my real life, the life I have that is tangible and doesn’t strain my eyes if I partake of it for too long without looking away, I see my family, a few mummy friends in the playground at the end of school time, and… oh, well, that’s it really. They are the only people I see. Oh, I am content with this life, blissfully happy with it in fact, and would never wish for it to be any other way. This hub was not created for me to have a good moan about how boring my life is, and how lonely it can be for a stay at home mum. Not at all. That is not how I feel. My life is far from boring, and I never feel lonely. Lots of people have said it, so I don’t know who to credit, but ‘only boring people get bored’. Mm-hmm. That’s not what I’m saying, it’s just what some people say. Just saying. It’s not me who said it. Ahem…
Anyway, I was going tell you that I have no place of work to go to, nowhere to practice my social skills, no-one with whom to practice them. Friends, of course, are beautiful and wonderful, and I would not be without them. But I cannot banter over the photocopier with them because we don’t tend to keep one in the playground (or do office workers now banter over the water cooler, coffee machine, latte maker, microfiche machine (do we still have those?) or whatever appliance or gadget has manifested itself from the pages of a science fiction novel? I suppose offices are run by intelligent iPads now, and the need for human beings has been eradicated – do photocopiers even exist any more? It’s a long time since I worked in an office, I’m sure things have changed dramatically.) In real life I cannot learn how to talk to people about something other than pee and poo, or about family dramas. We do discuss our career plans, our future planned jaunts into the world of Higher Education, but it often seems like pie in the sky for the time being.
Now HubPages has literally invaded my life in recent months. On HubPages I have met people from vastly different worlds of experience to my own. Well, how refreshing. I spent a little time, when I first I hubbed, dipping in and out of the Religion and Philosophy forums. I rarely commented, because if I did I was liable to get my head bitten off, or my words twisted, or my argument ripped to shreds, or just be made to feel very small and ignorant. But I still, from time to time, would be sucked into reading a particularly provocative thread. I would have whole evenings stolen as I endeavoured to work my way through the twisting and winding roads of banter, that often doubled back on themselves and forked off in several directions. I would type out a response when something had particularly angered me, but I would always delete it, with a wry little chuckle, knowing that the responses to my contribution would only anger me further.
Last week I deleted the Religion and Philosophy topic from my preferences, but I am wondering whether I might have made a mistake and should I perhaps add it back again. It might have made me hellish mad at times, but at least it forced me to think, to analyse, to work out my opinions, to think about them, to change my mind, to allow my mind to be changed, to be challenged, to stick to my guns when I’m sure I’m right, to back down gracefully when I know that I have been proved wrong. And no matter how vitriolic it gets in there (see, it’s even interesting that we talk about the forums as if they are actual places, with rooms that we can go into to sit down and debate over a coffee and a muffin) one can always say ‘lol, only joking :D’ and not go back to that particular thread. They serve a purpose, just as the Debating Club at my school served a purpose: I never dared to raise my hand and speak on a topic, but I learned so much from watching my friends make their points. I argued with them in my head, and in there I learned how to order my thoughts and articulate them (to myself.)
HubPages serves this purpose for me. Even out of the forums, and just in the comments capsules of the hubbers I follow, a little banter bounces back and forth, stories are made up and continued and allowed to fly. Okay, I’m still not so good at that; the best hubber I know for talking absolute twaddle and making it fabulously entertaining is Twilight Lawns. He challenges me to use my imagination, though he leaves me way behind. But I appreciate the practise. HubPages is full of fascinating people like this, and if I had never pitched up on these shores I would never have had my mind broadened and beaten, pushed and pulled in different directions, moulded and mangled, and nurtured ever so gently. I would never have met some of the most engaging people I've ever known; it doesn't bear thinking about.
Thanks fellow hubbers, for adding so much good stuff to my palette.