As someone who has moved around a whole bunch, I’m always on the lookout for ways to contribute to a sense of belonging in whatever space I happen to be occupying– physically or mentally.
When I was living in Toronto a few years ago, going to school and “working” an (unpaid) internship, I decided to explore more of the potential for digital community and I joined Twitter. One of the first folks to send me a message was Kevin Wilder @thegulfscream
He urged his audience to check out an ebook/podcast that he was writing, along with Carrie Rollwagen @crollwagen, called Some New Trend. So I did. And it was a really fun read. (Go back and read it all here right now.)
Not only did I like their story but I started to dig some of the other content they were putting out. I began to engage with them here and there: leaving a comment on their posts or sending a tweet in their direction. It was fun. I even got them to send me some stickers and I did a little international promotion when I moved to Ottawa.
A couple of years into tweeting and blogging, I felt like I had really discovered a way to make connections outside the traditional avenues. It was different than the friendships I was developing face-to-face, but it was still significant. I was engaging with like-minded people in a whole new way — and sometimes even a way that connected my experiences of a digital community with my experiences of a physical community. How cool is that?
By the time I moved to Halifax, I knew I could really use the tools of digital media to help build and discover a sense of community in a new city. It didn’t happen overnight…it’s an ongoing process! I’m still working at building that community for myself and others and to be as engaging, engaged, and supportive as possible. I went to a tweet-up, Podcamp, Bookcamp, and more.
When my pal Steph from http://awaywegohome.blogspot.ca/ moved to Halifax shortly after me, I reached out to her and we attended Podcamp together. The she introduced me to http://ecoyogini.blogspot.ca/, who invited me to blog for www.greenphonebooth.com (where I post as Mindful Echo). See where I’m going with this?
From there, I was welcomed into an FB group for Halifax bloggers to chat, ask questions, share links, etc. about blogging in Halifax, NS. It’s all connected, people!
Sidenote: I’m now an admin of the Halifax Bloggers FB group and if any of you readers are also local bloggers, please comment on this post or send me a message on Twitter. We are an open, inclusive group and would love to have you join us.
So, what’s another way to build community? Shopping locally, of course!
When I saw that Carrie had put out a Kickstarter to help publish a book on doing just that (shopping locally, that is), I obvi had to send some support her way for The Localist Book: A story of shopping local. Unfortunately, her paperbacks are only listed as being shipped within the US, so that option was out. (But I’ll gladly order one when you can send up to Canada- nudge, nudge!) So instead I opted for the Nail Art option! So fun!
I asked her to write “community” because it really encapsulated a lot for me: from the reason I wanted to support her book to the way I feel about participating in these campaigns to how I feel about using this blog as a platform to lend further support and strengthen community connections.
I think they turned out fabulous. Best of luck with the book, Carrie!
Other posts I’ve written on My Community: