On the very first day of 2010 – and within hours of each other – I received the same forwarded e-mail from two people in my contact list. Now these two individuals do not know each other and could not be more diverse – in a variety of ways:
*by age, they are at least 40 years apart
*by financial status, the one’s pension is greater than 2 x the gross income of the other
*by social status, only one of them hobnobs with the well known
*by gender, one is male the other female
*by … well, you get the idea!
The only common factor is that they live within 145 kms (90 miles) of each other in the same province and yet on the other side of the continent from where I live in this massive and beautiful country of Canada.
Now how could two such contrasting, wonderful people have received the same e-mail? The fact that they both sent the e-mail to me is because they both know the topic is one that might interest me and they both know me well. But who may they both know – other than me – that binds them, one to the other? The fact that each of them got the same e-mail defies logic and, if truth be told, mystifies most of us.
That is the marvel, and the mystery, of social networking.
I did a bit of research on definitions of Social Networking. They are as varied as the source from which the definition comes. I checked out many of them through Google.
I pulled a definition of each word separately from the Encarta Dictionary through MS Word 07:
Social: “relating to the way in which people in groups behave and interact”
Networking: “the process or practice of building up or maintaining informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities”
I would add: the advantage of sharing and expanding common interests.
Two months ago, when my son Nick suggested that Mike and I consider becoming Professional Bloggers, I was astounded. Yes, I could see Mike doing this, certainly. He was already writing scads and sharing in his own fashion via the many different forums through which he was a member. If I were to become involved – I thought – I might write a blog post or two on occasion should I be moved to do so. I expected that this website would primarily be Mike’s baby.
Now, if you’ve seen anything of our website other than this post, you’ll know that I write regularly every Sunday (She Says), Monday (Marcia’s Meanderings) and Wednesday (Poetry Corner), plus I’ve added some of my stories in between. I laugh at myself as I write these words now. So much for occasional…
Back before all this started, I spent my spare time with my nose in a book reading other peoples work or I was scribbling poems and short stories in my own journals which I wrote in daily. I owned a home computer back in 1997 and my brother asked me why I didn’t write directly into it, rather than first recording it into a journal and then recopying it into our word processing program. I simply told him that I was a writer not a computer. I honestly believed that I needed pen or pencil in my hand to reach that level of inspirational writing.
Then last November I joined in with Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month – and, directly into the computer, I wrote my very first novel. It’s still in the second draft phase, but I’ve written more than 60,000 words and am excited by the outcome! I mention this here because the entire time I had NO pen or pencil in hand. The inspirations came anyway – and with a flourish!!!! What an freeing experience!
Till November, 2009 – a mere 2 months ago – my experience with social networking was two-fold: e-mail and me going into Facebook once a day to do the Scrabble games with my sisters. My approach to Facebook was to get in, play the games, then get out – with no other interest in pursuing conversations or any of this chitchat that I saw unfolding within that particular community. Many of my friends, as well as family, were part of that network. Yet it didn’t interest me at all. If I wanted to chitchat, I’d send them an e-mail. I didn’t want the world to see what I was writing to them personally.
And Twitter – my perception of Twitter at the time was the need to tell the world what I was thinking in the fewest number of characters possible (140 maximum only) – and I wasn’t about to open myself up to reveal my personal life to the world. Didn’t matter how many characters ‘they’ gave me. No way! So I avoided even looking into the concept and the lifestyle that it offers.
Now, however, you’ll find me on Twitter following 17 people/groups, being followed by 9, and involved with a few Twibes (groups of individuals communicating about specific topics of interest) – naturally one of them for me being storytelling and writing! All of that has unfolded in a mere few weeks and I’m loving it!
Hey, I also have a cell phone now and you’ll often find me text messaging! I’v lrnd 2 tel u lots n sml wrds!
One day shortly after the soft opening of our website I noticed this post on Facebook and Twitter – written by my son Nick: “My Mom blogs too!” I was so proud …
What made the change for me? Selfishness – pure and simple. I wanted people to know what Mike and I were doing. This social networking was a way of sharing our thoughts and ideas with others, of getting our message out to people: “Here we are, click on this link and find us. Read about us. Come back another day. Learn some. Learn more. Stay and see all we have to offer. Find us intriguing, beguiling, challenging, humorous, and sometimes educational. Each of us, Mike and I, is sharing with you while still working our own way through to, hopefully, some level of enlightenment along the way!!!”
Through my original selfish intention I have gained an immense amount! My world has opened up and taken in the scope of … the entire globe! People from all over the world and even places as far away as South Africa and New Zealand have stopped by for a visit on our site and are now starting to come back for second and third glances, and more.
Yet in addition to those who have come to us, I am now going to them. I read daily the blogs of others like ourselves who are reaching out to share what we know to be truth for and within us as individuals. The common links we each have are becoming visible, are being shared and discussed – opening us – me – even further into realms of previously unknown territory or adding to the scope of what I have known and can now build upon. My insatiable curiosity is being fed with a global meal of astronomical and gastronomical proportions!
I just had a good laugh with Mike sitting here beside me as I type.** We were talking about the last few He Says/She Says blog posts we did. I didn’t want to write about Christmas as a topic. Last week Mike really didn’t want to write about New Year. This week I wasn’t sure about this topic of Social Networking. Yet once we have gotten into the topic, the personal growth and development has been outstanding! Moving outside of myself, giving all I can to both my Self and our readers, has helped me expand my capabilities and broadened my skills. The more adamant I am about not doing a piece, the greater the reward for me once it has been completed. Now that has to be a dynamic purpose and the best promotion for continuing this unusual and dynamic profession.
Back to what started this post – the fact that two very diverse people who both know me but not each other, have sent me the very same ‘forward’ mere hours apart. We may never know how these two are linked together through the world wide web. Suffice it to say, there may be a simple logic of 1’s and 0’s that can make it possible. Yet, to me, there will always be a sense of awe and childlike wonder at the magic and marvel that makes it so …
This new year of 2010 is already proving to be an amazing platform for change. Mike and I laid the groundwork for it at the close of the year just ended through this vehicle called Social Networking and through our website. Thank you to my son Nick for lovingly persisting, persuading and encouraging me – us – into this amazing journey. Little did I realize the blog-monster within me. I love that I have been able to give life to it.
To you, our readers, thank you for visiting us. I challenge you to check out all we have to offer here. There will be something of interest to you if what Mike and I believe in matches or compliments beliefs of your own. Or maybe what we believe may challenge your own concepts. Feel free to let us know either way! We love getting comments!
So this blog-monster will close this first She Says post of 2010. May the year ahead be one of joy and challenge, of growth and potential, of playfulness and laughter, of pride and accomplishment. (Notice I said pride and accomplishment rather than pride of…think upon that for a moment.)
Happy New Year to you all – wherever on this beautiful globe you may be!
In Light & Laughter & Love,
**Though we sit side by side as we type, Mike and I write our He Says/She Says posts without discussion or communication between us once the topic has been agreed upon. We never read each other’s post till it has gone ‘live’. Keeps each of us on our toes and you get a true representation of our individuality.
BTW: Through one of my social networks I discovered that yesterday was a palindrome day – when the numbers of our calendar date – January 2nd, 2010 – are the same backwards and forwards: 01022010. The next one doesn’t occur till November 2nd, 2011: 11022011
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