Social Technology Creates Community

Social Technology Creates Community
*This is a sister article to Social Technology Destroys Communication.*

I entered into this world as an infant.

And by “this” world, I mean the world of writers, travels, and digital nomads.

I really had no idea what I was doing. The wealth of other people already doing what I was attempting to do was initially daunting and somewhat overwhelming. I mean, who was I to walk into the middle of all this and announce that I was joining the crew, so to speak?

I had also, up until that point in my life, never truly gotten what all the fuss was about with these various social technologies. My general thought about Twitter, besides not understanding how to use it, was, “why do I care what you ate for breakfast?!”

Yet a mere two months later, not only do I feel like a part of the crew, I feel like I’ve made oodles of new friends. And it’s all thanks to social technologies.

It’s amazing to me that you can really feel like you’re getting to know another individual simply via a communication through a machine. Regardless of where in the world that person is, they’re close by when they’re online.

This is even more amazing because that same technology can also have the ability to distance people.

But when it does provide connection, the power it can supply in that department is unbeatable.

The Discovery of New Communities.

Humans are such social creatures. But as I’ve mentioned before – sometimes walking this Rogue Road can get a little lonely.

Don’t get me wrong, I have an incredible community of friends and family physically around me in the Chicago area that I am extraordinarily thankful for every day. They generally have been very supportive of every step I am taking in this process and have put up with my endless rambling about everything I am trying to accomplish.

But sometimes, it’s still difficult not to feel isolated. Sometimes the task I have undertaken for myself, to establish a location independent lifestyle via entrepreneurship, seems incredibly daunting in its enormity. It can make connecting with those who aren’t on a similar path challenging.

Beginning the blog was a somewhat slow moving process….I could produce all the content I wanted, yet who was reading it? Were there others out there like me?

Slowly, primarily via Twitter, I started to seek out individuals similar to some of my favorite digital nomads that I could follow. As I did that, Twitter would suggest more “similar” individuals, and I would follow some of them as well.

Then one day, it happened. Someone I didn’t know in my daily life started following me and they were a traveler. I’d done it! I’d joined the club!

Now, everyday, I am connecting with more and more people on Twitter, many of them pursing very similar interests to the ones I am pursing. They’re travelers, nomads, entrepreneurs, foodies, and all around generally people who are looking to explore.

All of a sudden, I don’t feel like such a loner anymore. I see that there’s a fairly massive community of us out there, and we might not all be close by geographically, but we get to participate in the daily lives of each other as if we were right there. The good and the bad, the successes and the failures, the exciting and the challenging.

It’s downright fantastic.

The Maintenance of Ongoing Connections.

Personally, I have a problem when it comes to keeping up with folks I don’t communicate with often and primarily communicate with via email. Say I haven’t emailed a friend in three months….well, my life changes fast. Three months is, in my world, A LOT to catch up on! So this is a long email we’re talking about that I now have to sit down and thoughtfully write.

So I procrastinate.

And I procrastinate some more.

Eventually six months has gone by and I still haven’t emailed my friend. If I didn’t want to write that email before, I certainly don’t want to now. Six months! It’ll be a novel!

So the problem continues to snowball and so on and so forth….you catch my drift.

I’m sure others out there come up against similar, if perhaps somewhat strange problems. Lets be honest, with peoples’ busy lives these days it can be difficult to keep in touch. When we get especially busy or wrapped up in a particular aspect of our lives, all but the closest of our allies tend to fall by the wayside as time goes flying by.

But social technologies have given us an easy solution to this problem. With truly very little effort on our part, we can keep up with what those that we’re interested in are doing and they can, likewise, keep up with us.

If I want to know what my good friend in Knoxville has been up to, I can go peruse her Facebook page. My roadie buddy who’s typically bouncing around the country? His daily goofy personality is right there on Twitter. I can keep up-to-date on what the entrepreneurs I follow are doing via a variety of social technologies and it also helps to ensure I’m staying in the loop on news and events.

These social outlets all make it considerably easier to keep ourselves appraised to what’s going on with not only our friends but especially within the communities that we are a part of or wish to be a part of. If not for them, I guarantee I would not have the privilege of attending the World Domination Summit in Portland this summer, an event that has the potential to change the course of my daily life in a significant way.

The Creation of Connections Beyond the Digital

Ultimately, for me, this is one of the biggest things that connecting on social media is all about.

handshakeMy upcoming trip to Portland reinforces this. I located and developed most of my real life heroes through the internet and social technologies. And I’ve already learned a ton simply from following their blog posts and their communications via Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Yet now, because of that digital connection, I am off to meet a couple of them in person in a little over a month. In what other world could that be made so easy than the digital one?!?

I feel that this kind of accessibility will continue to justify the mass amount of time we spend messing around on our computers.

All these people that are currently becoming a part of my digital world are just as likely to become a part of my physical world as my travels increase. My next trip to Spain? There are one or two reciprocating followers I have on Twitter that I would love to connect up with in person while I’m there. Similarly, if one of my followers were to be traveling through Chicago, I would certainly hope they would be interested in meeting me as well.

These technologies have changed us from individuals all out there, alone & scared, into a cohesive network, allowing us to learn and grow from one another and giving us a combined sense of purpose. With this level of accessibility, maybe we’ll never have to truly go at it all alone again.


How has social technology helped you make connections that otherwise would have been impossible? Please share!

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