Let me start by saying while there is a LOT going on career-wise lately (as evidenced by my non-yoga posts), I am sticking to a 2x a week practice as best I can. I’m about 33 weeks pregnant and hanging in there with lots of modifications, use of a wall for headstand and feeling every pound I’ve gained thus far each time I get into chaturanga. I know my “birth conditioning” will be well worth it though!
Alright, so SXSW and #onlineBFFs. The genesis of this meetup was my fascination with how people develop and maintain relationships through the web. A bit of quick history: I’ve been online since 1994-ish, when we first got Internet America dial-up service. Not a lot of people I knew had email yet, and the web was a primitive world. I looked to connect to with anyone I could and found myself chatting with perfect strangers on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and ICQ. Eventually AIM came into play and xanga blogs and Facebook and so on and so on.
I don’t consider myself to be a social hermit by any means, but sometimes your personal network doesn’t meet your needs or have the experience or expertise to discuss certain topics. And that’s when I look to message boards, blogs and other online resources of likeminded people.
When 2006 rolled around, I found myself on theknot.com‘s wedding message boards. It was a great instant resource to ask questions about local vendors, prices and dress ideas. Where else in my real life world would I have such a wealth of information in one place?
The fascinating part to me was that brides might have joined a message board for the duration of their wedding planning for a very practical purpose, but for many, they were building strong friendships in the process. These weren’t lonely, sad, social hermits who didn’t have any real-life friends. A lot of these women are actually quite sociable, and being online gave them an even bigger pool of people to connect with.
I hear similar stories and patterns across other topics, demographics and even online formats. At Texas Style Council last summer, Elsie of A Beautiful Mess talked about how her maid of honor was an online BFF she made through their blog. My brother has made plenty of friends through a local Flickr group and MINI club.
So if you’re heading to SXSW Interactive, come join me for my meetup Message Board Besties, Sunday March 9 at 12:30 pm. That Sunday is the start of Daylight Savings, so set your phone alarms so you aren’t an hour behind the rest of America.