Kathryn at RevGals writes: I had the joy of spending time with Songbird last weekend, someone I would have never met had it not been for the blogosphere. Now we keep in touch using a large variety of methods: blog (hers a lot, mine not so much lately), facebook, twitter, text messaging, chat and email. So far there has been no skype.It got me to thinking of the pros and cons of these relatively new means of communication and interconnecting and so I ask you the following:
1) What have been the benefits for you of social networking (blog, twitter, facebook, etc...)
My first experience of connecting online was through a scrapbook message board in 2002. It was a difficult and isolating time in my life and I began posting to this board for help while putting together a scrapbook for a friend. A community of early morning posters formed, and through format changes on message boards, and the creation and demise of others, this group still continues to be in community with each other. I have met most of them "in real life," and all of them have been anchors in my life at one time or another. Three of them came to my wedding several years ago (pictured with me, above--another scrapping friend is in the top right photo).The ongoing contact we have means more to me than I think I can ever express to them all.
Through the Anglican/Episcopal discussion board on Beliefnet I met one of my dearest friends, Jayne, and through her I met my husband! That's Jayne above, top left, and I think you can figure out which picture is of my spouse! It was also Jayne who pointed me to RefGals and a few other bloggers I follow, so I owe her a huge debt for connecting me to people who have become staples of my day and enrich my life in more ways than I can count.
I love facebook. I have reconnected with friends from high school, college, seminary and other phases of life. Maybe best of all it has afforded me the opportunity to get acquainted with some of my husband's extended family, and that has proved a Godsend.
I won't venture into the benefits of blogging, because I think we all know about that!
I don't twitter. I can barely keep up with the above! And I use my phone to talk to people--I don't do tech through that channel.
2) Which medium do you use the most? Or if you use them all, for what do you use each of them?
I blog almost daily, and use facebook throughout the day. The former is a way to share photos and news with family and friends, and now and then offers a place to express thoughts or share quandaries. Facebook serves a variety of purposes, but is perhaps most valuable when I'm stuck on something and need the expertise of others (especially as it pertains to technical matters). Almost always there's someone who has a helpful response that saves the day.
3) If you could invent a networking site (with no limits on your imagination), what would it provide? What would it not provide?
I haven't a clue. That's a feat for those gifted with that kind of imagination.
4) Who have you met that you would not have met if it were not for the 'miracle' of social networking?
The most noteworthy, as mentioned above, is my husband. But there are also friends who are lifelines for me and help keep me sane, and the collective community of those friends are invaluable.
5) Who do you secretly pray does not one day try to 'friend/follow' you?
I don't think there is anyone in my life who falls into that category. Should it happen, however, I'll let you know!
BONUS: What was the most random/weird/unsettling/wonderful connection you made that would not have happened if it were not for the ease of which we can find each other in the computer realm?
There are many happy connections and reconnections that have transpired. One significant new connection came through Jan of RevGals, who commended a blog through which I found another blog, through which I began sewing again and rediscovered my inner quilter. Amen to that! There have also been some fun "small world" connections to discover!