Plus Ca Meme Chose, Plus Ca Change

“Plus ca meme chose,  plus ca change…    Nothing endures, not a tree,  not love,  not even a death by violence.”   John Knowles–  A Separate Peace

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.

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28 comments on “Plus Ca Meme Chose, Plus Ca Change

  1. life’s journey brings many opportunities to form new friendships. I have a number of “old” friends but continue to make new ones. I will always remain friends with individuals that I am no longer in contact with for one day our paths may cross again.

    By the way, the pies drive me crazy

    • Tom, in my experience some friendships last forever and others…it’s like Billy Joel once sang….’you say a word out of line and find that the friends you had are gone, forever’. (A number of people tell me the pie pics make them Hungry, but everyone does seem to love them 😉

    • Sally,

      “social media” may be in its infancy, but I’ve been making friends online for more than 20 years now. Thing is, making friends and being a friend hasn’t really changed at all. And it probably never will 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by today.

    • You’re certainly right about that, Vicki. If you’d told me when I graduated from high school where I’d be thirty years later, I’d never have believed you 🙂

  2. it’s amazing alright how things change so quickly, 4 years ago I didn’t have 2 of my children and my oldest was just learning to talk. Now he gives me advice on everything from keeping fit to buying houses.

    The people I hung out with in those days I rarely see anymore and the folks I do hang out with are much more aligned to my personality because I have met them through the world wide web rather than at work or at the rugby club.

  3. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience. I’m going to check out BC. Hopefully, I could meet some friends and grow together.

  4. Greetings, new acquaintance and possible new friend. I agree totally, social media IS all about making friends, wonderful, amazing and generous friends.

    BTW, it may be no coincidence that most apps have no immediate customer support or a live person to reach at all. Peer support groups and groups on LinkedIn are available to ask questions and get support. If forces/allows us to rely on each other as peers rather than turn to a ‘higher authority’ to direct us.

    This fosters community which is something that could be lost by many of us who reside in solitary, virtual worlds during much of our day. Social media IS all about making friends, establishing community, and circles of like-minded folks beyond anything real time and space could allow all but the privileged few to afford. The Internet is the great equalizer, I have heard and I wholeheartedly agree.

    • Alison,

      While I think we agree that there are many wonderful user support groups, and the Internet certainly does allow users to create their own communities, I honestly see this not nearly so much as benevolent companies getting out of the way or avoiding directing their users near so much as refusing to pay for customer support staff.

      (Full disclosure– I once had a really great job in customer support for an Internet company.)

      • Libdrone,
        Yes, you do raise a very real point. As trite as it may sound, gray clouds do have silver linings. I guess the lack of customer support fostering peer support community and groups is an illustration of that cliche. I do love the customer support I get from companies like GoDaddy 24/7 and Constant Contact. I do find it very frustrating that I can never call facebook, the other social media companies, WordPress and many other companies as well. I guess I have come to accept it as part of the technology that we get help where ever we can, poke around ’til we figure it out, or give up in utter despair to try another day.
        Thanks so much for replying to my comment.

      • To be fair, most of the time most users have no real need to contact customer service for companies like Facebook and WordPress. But every now and then one encounters an issue that the self help systems don’t really address. For me the fact that Facebook users are NOT Facebook’s customers (if you’re an advertiser, I’m told, there is an 800 number and advertisers can get real customer service) rankles a bit. I had a friend who ran into serious problems trying to convert his Facebook profile to a Page (this was some time back) and spent weeks struggling to get help. He finally just deleted his account in frustration, then signed up and started over again.

        Free is a very compelling price point for most users. But it is often true that you get only what you pay for 🙂 Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Alison. I’m so pleased to meet you.

  5. I find it interesting that human social techniques are probably the same as they ever were.

    Most of what we’re seeing in technology are old social techniques being re-branded, re-packaged and re-skinned. And new technology makes it all so much easier to do.

    • I think you’re quite right, Mike. Those who have understood how communities work offline can mostly apply everything they know to online communities. (Except that sometimes it really is different online.)

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