That is to say my connections via the computer seem to be lifting and carrying me through the cold, less active and more isolated time of the year. I confess to being slow to new things. I did not latch on to Face Book until pushed by my desire to see a young friend’s pictures from Japan which were posted there – and not available any other way. As well, almost a year ago I started this blog, and it too has been a release, an entry point for conversation and sharing. In both I have been blessed.
Wikipedia (which thankfully is available today) describes a virtual community as “a social network of individuals who interact through specific media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals.” In looking this up I learned that the term “vitual community” is attributed to a book of the same tile written by Howard Rheingold in the early 1990s. Wiki goes on to say “These virtual communities all encourage interaction, sometimes focusing around a particular interest, or sometimes just to communicate.” Amazon notes that in his book Rheingold “describes a community that is as real and as much a mixed bag as any physical community -- one where people talk, argue, seek information, organize politically, fall in love, and dupe others… Indeed, contends Rheingold, people relate to each other online much the same as they do in physical communities. Th[e] book questions whether a distinction between "virtual" communities and "real-life" communities is entirely valid. The Virtual Community argues that real relationships happen and real communities develop when people communicate upon virtual common ground.”
So let me say to those of you out there in my “virtual world”, THANK YOU for being real. Thank you for the support I receive, the kindness I witness in exchanges among you, the humor with which I (and others) am blessed, the challenging links to which I am referred. This is indeed the “real world” – and it is good.