Several times in recent days I’ve been reminded how powerful a tool the internet is for connecting people. I started blogging, about being a stay-at-home-dad, because, in the absence of a like-minded community on the ground, I had discovered a virtual community online, connecting, especially, with other involved dads (at-home or otherwise) and with both moms and dads of color and parents of kids of color, and I wanted to more equally participate in the conversation I’d so happily stumbled upon. As the technology progressed and I spent less time reading and writing blogs and more time on social networks like Facebook, my “virtual” friendships migrated and grew. It didn’t matter if we’d never met “IRL,” or, when we did, it didn’t matter that we’d first met online. We had made connections that were real, and were growing communities that were real, and having conversations that were real.
Last weekend, I was struck by how so many of the friends that turned out to support me at my reading for the Rad Dad anthology in LA were either old friends I’d reconnected with on Facebook or friend I’d made online in the first place. Even with the friends who came out to support me in Bakersfield, the ones I see regularly, the internet is a daily means for us to catch each other up.
Earlier today, I introduced to each other via Facebook message a group of friends who are all passionately interested and involved in the practice and reform of education. One was a friend from college who I’d reconnected with on Facebook, whose links and posts I’d been passing on to the others in the group, all people I’d met first through parentblogging. They needed to know each other, and now they do.
Tonight, we were happy to be able to have a friend from back east over for dinner. He was on a quick business trip to the region and we’d arranged his visit via Facebook. Though we’ve known each other for a few years now, we’ve only met in person four times, including tonight. We met through a mutual friend that I’d connected with online through my parentblogging. I’d recruited our mutual friend to contribute to Rice Daddies, and he then recommended his friend. Later, they both involved me in an awesome book project, an anthology of original graphic Asian American superhero stories, leading to our meeting in person. Tonight, with his wife and child back home and la dra. and the kids playing in the playroom after dinner, we got to have some much appreciated grownup talk time—and of course talked mostly about science fiction and comic books and bad television. It was great.
When you’re taking care of children all day, it’s easy to forget and forgo the need for adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around said children. While those same children are what brought me to the internet all those years ago, looking for folks to connect with and talk to, today it’s given me so much more, so many more people to talk with and share with and connect with, and so much more to talk about.