Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
(Author: Cali Harris)
The age of the internet allows us to have multiple kinds of interaction, some with people we may never meet. It's hard to imagine that this phenomenon has come upon us so quickly. It almost seems overwhelming when you start to think about the people you now connect with on a regular basis through online communities of all kinds. In the days of phone calls, snail mail and chance encounters at the grocery store, your circle of interactions was fairly limited. Now on a daily basis, I have an exchange with an online quilting group, an email group of very close friends who all live fairly far apart, and, on Facebook, high school and college friends, work colleagues, quilting friends, acquaintances from previous careers, my daughter and some of her friends and few podcasters whose programs I listen to regularly. Wow! How in the world do I have time to get any actual work done?
There is nothing that will make you question what yourself about these relationships than to tell your 77 year-old mother about your "friend" in Kansas City whom you've never met, nor actually ever spoken to, yet you know their cat's name and their husband's favorite food and what their latest quilting project is. Life is fast-paced. There is no denying it; we have evolved into a community of people who quickly check in and catch up with a great deal of people with whom we share something in common -- a hobby, an interest or a career. I think its fun to see what gets other folks excited and its comforting to know you can reach out at any time and connect with someone without worrying about waking someone up or bothering them.
On the other hand, I have actually met a number of my online friends over the years on a variety of occasions including a cruise, a wedding or two (including my own), a graduation party for my daughter and a wonderful shopping trip for quilting fabric in Lancaster County, PA. I've even gone off to quilt camp with a few of my online friends combining my "in person" quilting friends from my quilt guild with my "virtual" quilting friends. And you know what? People are people. It's been my experience that if you become friends online, you actually end up knowing someone a whole lot better than some people you see in the flesh. So far, there hasn't been one online friend whom I've met in person that I didn't like just as much as I liked them online. In person and online, I know so many great people.
I cherish the friendships I have discovered through my online community. They have become some of the dearest people to me. My quilting friends are quick with encouragement and good advice and just the nicest people. We have been through some tough times and some wonderful times together. I truly hope that continues for a very long time.
Love you Tiara Babes!