More than a month ago, a friend of mine posted a question on Facebook about the NCAA. It caught my attention for a couple of reasons. First, I've come see how much of the NCAA is built on the myth of the "Student Athlete" and how much we (myself included) take what the organization says as the truth when in reality they are perpetuating their own myths to sustain their current model. Secondly, the person who posted this isn't what you'd call a huge sports fan, at least when it comes to his social media presence so I was surprised to see such a question from him.
Now normally, I'm not one to engage in debates on Facebook. It's not that I don't have opinions (sometimes even strong ones) on things. It's that I don't know how much, if any, the debates will have on changing anyone's mind. I also worry that I don't know enough about a certain topic to be able to say definitively things are one way or another and by the time I'm able to research a given topic to get a better understanding of it the topic has disappeared from my Facebook feed.
But for whatever reason, I figured I had a pretty good handle on the NCAA's myths and had the time to discuss the topic, so I jumped it. It was a fun discussion and I was able to pull from several things I'd read on the subject to counter a lot of the misinformation being presented. I didn't really think any more of it after a few hours, but as the day went on, the thread kept going. Unlike a lot of internet discussions, this one never descended into being mean spirited despite the disagreements that developed over the topic.
One tangent led to another, and another, and after a few days, the original topic was all but forgotten. It meandered from one thing to another, seeming to eventually settle into a comic book/Sci-Fi/Pop Culture discussion as many of the participants would likely self-identify as "geeks." But the cool part about it is the thread just kept going. Hour after hour, day after day, the same people kept coming back. It was, in a sense, like the TV show Cheers where it just became the place to gather and talk about whatever was going on. New friendships were formed. I learned new things about old friends.
A few days ago, it hit 10,000 comments. A PDF of the thread would be more than 500 pages. I have no idea how long the thread will keep going, but it's been a fun month getting to meet new people and discuss anything and everything, even if a lot of it things I don't understand. (I may be the only participant who not only hasn't seen the new Avengers movie, but the only one who wasn't super excited about it coming out. For some reason, they still let me hang out there.)