I apologize to those from my LIS 753 class who have heard this story before.
So it’s the Summer of 2005 and I am freshly divorced after almost a year of separation. It was not pretty. Nothing that would make a Lifetime movie, but I was not doing well. I was pretty numb. My ex-husband had a friend who had a blog. I had been without an internet connection for awhile due to a move and I finally got it set up. I checked on his blog and noticed for the first time that you could click on the name of the people who left comments. This was how I found my ex’s blog and his girlfriend’s (of more than one year) blog. The good news was that I was no longer numb. The bad news was that I was no longer numb. You know how most blogger have made-up names and don’t refer to the actual names of others. Not so much. Even his address was his name spelled out. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I got pretty obsessed. People assume that I was upset about horrible things he wrote about me and our marriage. It took awhile to figure out, but what really killed me, was the utter lack of any mention of me.
Prior to this, I had observed the online world of Everquest from a distance. My husband, after getting fired from a job, became obsessed with the online gaming world. I played a little, but it became his escape from his life.
One of the main reasons I took LIS 753 was to make new associations for myself with the internet and its communities. I started subscribing to library, knitting, and pop-culture blogs. I enjoyed it. Since then I have become very involved with three communities: 43 Things, Ravelry, and Kiva.
43 Thingsis a site where you set personal goals and then blog with others working with others working on the same goals. I freaked out a bit when I got my first subscriber. While I knew that I was putting stuff out in public, I was blown away that anyone would actually be interested. I couldn’t write anything for about a week, feeling pressure to be interesting. I got over it, but it was a strange feeling for awhile. Currently I’m up to four subscribers. It’s still a bit odd.
Ravelry is a social site for knitters. Knitters have always been community minded and it’s interesting to see it on the web. Knitters tend to be on the older side and not what I would describe as ‘early-adopters’. This site has been a huge hit with young and old knitters alike. I can tell from talking to customers where I work that it’s popularity is growing.
Kiva is a site where you can loan money to people all over the world. This is my favorite thing about what the internet can do. Through this site, and other social entreprenural ones like it, a person do something directly. It’s not about electing someone and hoping that they do something. You can take action yourself.