The more things change, the more they stay the same. Back in 2008 I wrote a post on a blog called Chain Drop titled With A Little Help From My Friends. While that blog is no longer there, I republished that post in 2010 on BrooWaha, a citizen journalism web site. And today I found myself thinking that although most of the friends I rely so much upon today are actually different friends than the ones I wrote about four years ago, most everything I do, I still do with a (not so) little help from my friends. I believe the post below remains as relevant as it was in 2008 and in 2010. Here then I present, With A Little Help From My Friends:
When I stop to think about it, I realize that for me All social media and social networking and (insert other buzzwords here) all really boil down to one thing. Making friends.
That sounds so simple, too simple really. It has no “secret formula”, no Web 2.0, no sense of having just let all of you in on some big secret. I started blogging because I had fallen into the habit of keeping up with two of my oldest, dearest friends (Hi Ron, Hi Bev) via their blogs and I wanted them to be able to keep up with me too. And I included book reviews in my blog posts almost from the first, because I work at a library and I am genuinely passionate about books and reading.
And then something funny happened. I was looking at my traffic report one day and I noticed that there were people coming in Just to read the book reviews. People I had never met and had never told about my little backwater of the blogosphere. So I started thinking maybe it would be neat to actually promote my blog a little bit. Somewhere or other I found a list of blog directory sites and began submitting my URL to them. A few at time, when I had time. And then one day I got to one of the sites on the list, Blog Catalog. My life, and my blog would never be the same.
I started hanging out on the Blog Catalog discussion boards and soon found myself engaged in conversations with all sorts of really incredible people. Having been involved in many online communities before, I knew instinctively how to ease myself into the group and make friends with people whose virtual company I enjoyed. Honestly, I had no agenda at all in pursuing these friendships. I just gravitated to people that I liked.
When I upgraded my blogspot template and my site went all FUBAR, I didn’t think twice about posting an appeal for help on BC. Though I Was a bit surprised that I soon had two top notch HTML developers fussing over my code and fixing the problem for me. When I casually mentioned that I was thinking about moving my blog to Word Press I was amazed that a buddy offered to host it on his server and set it up for me. When I had questions about how things really work or what I really need to know and do as a fledgling web publisher, I was incredibly gratified to receive expert advice and counsel from business professionals, attorneys, college professors and many, many other people whose expertise would have been far, far beyond my means or reach had it not all been offered in friendship.
And the thing about focusing on making friends with other bloggers is that they Never stop surprising me with their gifts. Which is how it is that I find myself collaborating on what I hope will be one of the hottest new sites in Social Networking with a man I respect enormously and who has already taught me some invaluable lessons about blogging, about life and about friendship.
And my blog? It’s taken a lot of work, quite frankly, but it is really starting to take off. With a tip of my hat to my friend Lucy Dee, I remind you of the old saw about the ten years it takes to become an overnight success. I am well into the first of those ten years. And whatever the other nine point something bring, I’m quite sure that whatever success I enjoy will be due to the help of my friends.
This post was lost to me when the blog died. I recently retrieved it from the Way Back Machine. All of the links in this post are to the Way Back Machine’s January 2008 archive rather than to the actual sites. If you follow any links, remember that you are web surfing in January 2008 rather than today. Also, as you will see the archives saves only limited information and the archives do not in most cases display custom themes and other site specific graphic elements. I no longer hang out on Blog Catalog, although many of my friends from that site remain in contact with me on Facebook these days. My address books (and my friends) are a huge intangible assett that continues to get me access to and assistance from people I could never afford to pay for their professional advice and counsel.