Do you remember when everyone was all excited that the internet, and subsequently social media, gave them a voice? It was novel to publish something that anyone else could read without having to go through a publisher. Anyone could find you. So many people were rushing online that it was a little overwhelming. It was almost like a million stock brokers all shouting on the exchange floor. Buy me! Sell me! Ah heck, somebody just listen to me! And like the good little minions we’ve been trained to be, we stuck our fingers in our ears and hummed as loudly as we could. “I’m not listening. I can’t hear you!”
The land of Twitter, at least the land of Twitter that I knew, went through a phase where it was all just a bit too chaotic. There were people everywhere, yet only a handful who seemed to know what they were doing. Some of them became annoyed with the massive amount of newbs flooding the little world they had worked so hard to create. In the Calgary scene, I caught wind of a rather grumpy undertone starting to take seed. Resentment? Exhaustion? Having to watch and experience yet another wave of people “discovering” social networking and how fast their message can travel, watching them stumble a bit when to us it’s so natural and so easy after years playing with these tools. I could see how that could get old real fast.
But do you know what’s gone and happened? Why, we all stuck it out. Surely, if you were that fed up with everything, you could have simply given up, closed your account and moved on. And some of you have, but the rest of us… we’ve stuck it out. Our little community was experiencing a rather massive growing pain. But much like our awkward adolescent years, we’ll grow up and block it out.
We’ve created something pretty special. We’ve created a place where individuals come along to a group full of people they’ve never met before and announce “Hello, I’m here!” Do we turn away with a cold shoulder? No, we turn towards them, give them a big a smile and say “Welcome!” And with that, we’ll turn to the rest of the group and say “Hey group! Have you met so and so? They’re new here. Why don’t you help me make them feel at home?” Then the group swarms around, and the newcomer is welcome. All it took was for them to let us know they’re here.
This feels good. I’m proud we’ve managed to cultivate a little sense of community in this online world. Those of you in amidst the crowd, helping others figure it all out, you stand out to me. You’re my kind of people. I can’t wait to see this perpetuate.