“What My Online Community Means to Me” – By Tanja Burkinshaw
Many people (especially women, I think) experience a type of isolation as they mature. As career or family become more time intensive, we often find ourselves dissolving into it. Sometimes so much that we lose track of the boundaries of our existent with whom those we are devoted. Being so all-out, full-throttle absorbed into other’s lives provides a treasure trove of rewards. However, there are also sacrifices we make in that exchange, as well.
One of the sacrifices we make is connection. Sure, we are making important connections in the physical world, but those are often with the business (albeit gratifying) task of rearing family and achieving success in careers. What happens less is the connection to others on a soul-connecting basis.
Connecting with my online community causes me to more deeply consider who I am because it forces me to more deeply consider the words to which I carefully commit to “paper”. Knowing that the written word is without facial expressions, without gestures, and without outside identifiers to help place it in context, I then have to more fully consider what, exactly, I’m trying to say. This process teaches me to get to know myself better by the same process my community gets to know me better. It is a blessing for me to be able to truly articulate the inspiration, emotion, or goal of what I’m trying to express.
Another gift is the intimacy that happens between people who write to each other. I suppose it’s because it cuts through so much of the typical formalities that can bog down communication in other settings. The type of communication I love most is direct and significant. With my online community, we can directly discuss what is significant to us, learn from each other, all the while growing an ever-expanding base of connections.
Before technology, we all were reliant on the expertise and experience of those in our direct circle of influence. If there’s a medical question or concern, one could ask “around” but their ability to tap into a richer well of experiences was limited. My online community not only allows me to tap into their collective knowledge of life, health, and emotions, but it also feeds my soul because I know I get to directly influence theirs. As a nurse, this mode of wide scale connectivity answers a fundamental need of mine. I don’t only impact the person I saw today, but I get to positively influence many other people in other places. People I wouldn’t have been able to connect with. Most importantly, this is who I am; and I think anyone would agree that there’s nothing more satisfying and gratifying than just being able to be who you are!
My online community feeds my soul, expands my mind, and satisfies my desire (which is everyone’s desire) to be somehow significant in this big, bustling, busy world.
Want to win a free ticket to BlogathonATX on September 26, 2015?
Send YOUR 500-word essay entitled “What My Online Community Means to Me” to ilene@blogathonATX.com by Monday, August 17th.