Friday, December 13, 2013

In Defense of Cybercommunities (December theme) by Tracy Barrett


Some people are fond of saying that we’re so busy texting and tweeting and posting status updates that we don’t have time for “real” friendships.

I beg to differ. Through social media I’ve built up a group of friends, some of whom I’ve never met in person, some of whom I see regularly, most of whom fall somewhere in the middle—we might have met at a conference once a few years ago, or we get together once a year at a regular event. I count the members of this glog (did you know that’s what a group blog is called?) in that group of friends.

When I have a first face-to-face meeting with someone I’ve grown to know on-line, we can skip a lot of the preliminaries. I already know what’s important to them, what they find funny, what recent losses they’ve suffered in their lives, whether they’re a cat person or a dog person or neither. I’ve already cheered on their victories and commiserated with their setbacks. We can get right to the important stuff.

I found my wonderful agent through a referral from an on-line friend I’ve never met in person; I’ve gotten great writing advice and reading suggestions from others; I find my horizons expanded by the thoughts, jokes, and comments of almost all of them.

I don’t believe—and neither do a lot of social scientists—that on-line community is taking the place of the real-world version. For many, including me, each of those communities enriches the other. Community is where you find it.

11 comments:

  1. You and I met in person just once, Tracey, at that Authors in April event in Florida. But I feel we've become good friends simply through the cyber-world. And from being part of this glog together (and no, I didn't know that was what it was called!).

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    1. I was thinking of you (among others) when I wrote that!

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  2. Well said, Tracy. Wouldn't be here today had I not "met" Holly online. Great post!

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    1. Same here, Darlene! I would love to have a face-to-face meeting with everyone on this blog but I doubt that's going to happen, so I'm happy to have our cyberconnection.

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  3. Insightful view of these wonderful communities we are a part of...I recently posted about on-line communities on my blog too. There are definitely 'levels' we go through as we interact. I think writers have a special advantage through 'glogs' or blogs because...well...it's so rooted in our medium--writing. You can see my post here: http://sevenacresky.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/just-me-and-yall/

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  4. Great post, Tracy! I would not have met any of the wonderful people on this blog (or Glog!) had it not been for our cyberconnections.

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    1. And wouldn't that be a shame, Annie? Of course, I love meeting people face to face whenever possible, but given the realities of life, that doesn't always happen.

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  5. I agree. In fact, I believe on-line communication fosters community. There are many people I've stayed in touch with or reconnected with simply because online communication made it possible.

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    1. Same here, Marcia. Like anything else, it can be abused, but that's no reason to damn the whole medium!

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