Sick, and loving it
Hey all! Sorry I’ve been away–life called me to participate in certain must-be-there occasions that kept me from updating lately.
Anyhow, I’d like to give a shout-out to my good friend Elena for alerting me to an incredibly fun new website. She was watching a Jimmy Fallon interview with wonderful renaissance man Alan Cumming, and Cumming mentioned his current involvement with the site < itsasickness.com > . One of the many reasons I adore my best friends: they know me all too well–she sent me a late-night email urging me to check it out, describing it as a cool site where you can join groups for things you are obsessed with, and then you can share ideas/info with other people who are obsessed with it too. itsasickness describes itself with the following plotline on its Facebook fanpage:
it’s not about illness, it’s about sickness. your sickness is what makes you …extraordinary. that thing you geek out about, that is what makes you amazing.
itsasickness then celebrates our sicknesses and the most hardcore sick people with short films;
Alan Cumming is the itsasickness emcee.
itsasickness: obsession-based programming for an obsessive-based culture.”
*By the way, the all-lowercase writing is their thing, not mine. Just wanted to re-create their voice accurately.*
I went over to the site and my jaw dropped. What a fabulous idea for a website! People who are obsessed with things just like me, creating little worship corners for these things, exchanging information and inspiration about these things. In some ways, it’s sort of like Twitter, but more interesting for me because it has an intense focus. While Twitter is fueled more by stream of consciousness, itsasickness is fueled by cultivated obsession. Of course, the two sites serve different purposes, but I can’t help but draw a slight comparison since itsasickness is constantly updating in real time, and you can “follow” different members.
Cumming is essentially the emcee of the site, although I’m not quite sure what that means yet. In any case, he seems to be the public face of the site. You can create a profile, and upload a pic to personalize it. There is a “lounge” which is the part of the website that features “people like you geeking out about their sickness; whether it’s hula hoops, Doctor Who, or politics.” If you click on the “lounge” link, you’ll be directed to a page with celebrities talking about particular obsessions that they have, i.e. actor Jason Bateman has a video on there and he talks about how obsessed he is with classical music; actress Marisa Tomei talks about how she’s obsessed with hula hoops. My favorite page though is the “see all obsessions” page where you see an A-Z list of all the obsessions compiled so far. I think of it as a list of kindred spirits I haven’t met yet: Hello fellow human being, allow me to introduce myself–I’m someone who is as obsessed with cast iron cookware as you are!
I’ve already started creating obsession groups. I’ve made three: one about Amadeus (my fave film), one about alligators (among my top 3 fave animals), and one for squash fruit (to address my obsession with pumpkins and various heirloom squash). Then I panicked because I found out you can only create five–kind of a bummer because I had already made a mental outline of about 20 obsession groups I wanted to create. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for some kindred spirits out there to create them.
I can add interesting articles, pics and videos related to each of these groups, and others who decide to share my obsession can also contribute info. If I see someone else’s obsession group that I like, I can join that obsession. For instance, I love luxury travel, so I joined the ‘luxury travel’ obsession that Alan Cumming created. If I come across a picture of a particular luxury hotel abroad that I’d like to share with the group, I can click on the ‘add content’ button on the group and post it there.
I think this is one of the most innovative social networks I’ve ever seen. Cumming mentioned that after joining an obsession group for truffle oil, he discovered a lot of new info about the product thanks to others who shared useful articles on the magic culinary substance. His experience represents the extreme loveliness factor of this website. It’s social networking with a focus on common ground, and could become a place for a genuine sharing of interests and information. Hey, you never know–that guy or girl who loves Madagascar Vanilla Red Tea just as much as you do may end up being your soulmate.