Today I’m a Mum on the Brink of meeting some lovely virtual friends in the flesh-
For months there’s been a buzz about Cybermummy 2011 on Twitter, but the tickets were sold out. Last night, I entered In the Powder Room’s (http://www.inthepowderroom.com/) competition where the prize was a ticket to this coveted event. At midnight, just as Firefox crashed on me and my laptop ground to a holt, I saw my phone flashing indicating new tweets. There were lots of congratulations: I felt like Charlie finding the last golden ticket to Willy Wonker’s Chocolate Factory… I had WON!
Now, I very rarely win, so this a great surprise, but the best bit was the out pour of warmth from a community (the MAD bloggers) that I had never actually met in person. Sure, I spend a lot of time chatting with folks on Twitter- they are the ones there at all odd hours to help solve problems from tantrum management through where to go in Barcelona to discussing the likes of BBC’s Apprentice live as it is broadcast. They are usually in the room with us as I sit in the darkened room with the Littlins while they drift off to sleep and they mostly share my morning coffee with me too.
My “real” friends often ask, so what’s the draw of Twitter and other social media. For me it is having people in the ether that I can discuss more or less any topic with:
– It builds confidence – as I can share my learnings and get encouragement when I feel I am failing,
– It gives intellectual stimulation – as we discuss anything from merits of single sex schools to providing more flexible working options for parents,
– It is definitely as very strong support group and a platform to get valuable input on whatever one is on the brink of,
– On the practical side, it is also a network for finding people to work with (as I think I’ve found the ideal virtual PA for a friend here).
The drawback is, as my OH will attest, like anything where human relations are involved: It takes time to develop an engaged, supportive network. Time which I’ve given happily because I have got back a lot, often more than I put in. I’m trusting these are real relationships… and now I’m going to meet these people who till now have been tweets, blog posts & an avatar. It is very exciting! The range of emotions running though me is like being on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride. As I mentioned the support has been amazing already- in the space of 12 hours I have a room mate to share with, have got loads of advice of getting there, what to do, wear, etc.
To me this, thus far, shows what Social Media is really about- it’s bridging the gaps of time, space, money and bringing together people in a totally egalitarian way.
I look forward to meeting all you MAD bloggers tomorrow.