The Global Connection On A Local Level

The beauty of the Internet is that we make connections. Family a thousand miles away can catch up in the time that it takes to download an email and a couple of digital images. We find friends from long ago and regain what we may have lost forever in decades past. The journey along the path finds hidden treasures, and forms bonds with those across one ocean or another.

What many of us lack these days is the local network. Our lives are chaotic, trying to fit 60 hours of work in 40 hours of schedule, spend quality time with our families and enrich our children's lives with activities. It doesn't leave a lot of time for friends on a local scale. Let's just say that I'm not the only Mom at those two nights of scouts each week who looks forward to that hour or ninety minutes to forge friendships with like minded women-because we ALL have that insanity called life in the digital age.

For me, enter Twitter. When I joined up, a simple tweet about something happening here in Lakeland and I got a new follower, Chuck. At that time, I had something like 30 people following me and they were either real life friends or blogging pals. Chuck was different. @ChuckWelch was local.

Now, in addition to catching witticisms from far and wide, I was getting tweets more local in scope. It wasn't just blathering about local stuff, it was GOOD stuff. Somehow, I had a writer friend in my new hometown.

Over time, the nature of Twitter brought more local people into that follow file, thanks to Chuck's lead. Soon after I started chatting with Chuck pretty much daily, one of his friends, Barry, started following me, too. That's the nature of Twitter-you check out the feeds of those you follow to see if there are others that they follow that look interesting. Thus, @BIF followed and I followed back.

These two guys rank as among the smartest follows I probably have on Twitter, because they brought me closer to this town that is now my home. They understood the job market, the closure of a local supermarket made an impact and could also tell me where a newbie could find good BBQ (and verify that yes, we'd found the best in town). They make this town a HOMEtown.

Between Chuck and Barry, I've picked up a couple of other people to follow, a few have followed me. The friendships put my words in print besides the pixels before you. I have felt more connected to Lakeland in the past six months than I did in the four years in the last town. Thanks to these two guys.

Tonight, Barry hosted a Tweetup at the Lakeland Ledger. Forty bloggers, Tweeps and Ledger staff came together to mix and mingle, find out about each other and further the connections made electronically.

I'll post the videos later, but it was very cool to finally meet face to face those met on a global social networking site that live right down the road.

Thanks to Barry for hosting, Chuck for coordinating and all those who we met that already seemed familiar because their faces are in their avatars or on their websites. (Links to follow, too) I'm looking forward to the next one.


Staci said…
That is great! It really can be hard to get to know people locally. I know I don't get out nearly enough.

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