I’ve been blogging for nearly five years, and doing so has given me the chance to reconnect with old friends, communicate more frequently with relatives, and to develop some virtual connections.
The first time I realized the power of those virtual connections was when I wrote a story about my son Patrick, and an award he had received from the Williams Syndrome Association. Somehow, someone in England read that post and reached out to me because they had a young son with Williams Syndrome and wanted to find out more about our experiences with Pat. That connection then led to the opportunity to meet the family when we were in London a couple of years ago. They invited us over to their house where we spent a wonderful afternoon getting to know each other. Such a meeting would have never taken place without that blog post.
And yesterday was my first opportunity to meet a fellow blogger, Ray Visotski.
Ray (he’s the taller guy) has been blogging for close to 10 years, and his eclectic blog can be found at the wonderfully named Mitigating Chaos. We have been following and commenting on each other’s blogs for a few months now, and I always find Ray’s posts entertaining and educational. Ray is a music buff (his iTunes playlist has 4,000 songs on it), and he has introduced me to some wonderful artists over the past few months.
Ray is from South Carolina, but as fate would have it, he mentioned that he would be up in my neck of the woods this week, and so we were able to plan a get-together. Ray said that he hasn’t had a good Philly cheesesteak in a while, so we decided to meet at a local pizza place and get to know each other IRL.
I think the way we found each other’s blog was through our mutual connection to another blogger, David Kanigan. (And I think our meetup was the second one in the past few weeks among mutual followers of David’s great blog. Talk about being a connector…)
But David wasn’t the only loose connection Ray and I had. Ray has worked in the funeral business for years, and part of that time was spent working for a funeral home and cemetery company in the Philly area. I mentioned that my college roommate’s brother-in-law owned a funeral home business in the Philly area, and the world being small, it turned out to be the same company.
It was a wonderful get-together, and could have gone on for a couple more hours, but Ray had a long drive back to South Carolina ahead of him. So we said our good-byes, hoping that we would get a chance to do this again.
I know a lot has been written about the downside to social media and the Internet, but to me, the upside of such technologies outweighs such concerns. I have always believed from the first time I was exposed to the Internet that the true power of it was in building community.
Blogging, thanks to WordPress, offers the chance to build a community.
And while most connections in such a community will be virtual ones, you never know when virtual may become real.
*image from Bloggers World