Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Virtual Communities – the BEST Part of Technology

Virtual Communities

Technology provides us with so many opportunities that weren’t available to us before.  It allows us to watch any t.v. show or movie that we want to with just a click.  It allows us access to the written ideas of others from all of history through the digital archiving of books and papers.  It allows us to scan an item on our smart phone and compare prices with other stores without driving all over town.  However, for me, the most important thing that technology does is to form communities of people in similar circumstances, but separated by distance, time, or any number of other challenges.


As a new mom, I found it hard to make new friends.  We had just moved to a new area of town and I didn’t have many neighbors.  I was working full time and didn’t have time to go out to Mom and Me classes or playgroups that were often held at 10:30 a.m, when I was teaching a class full of kids and my son was staying with my husband or my mom.  I felt like an island, and it was very lonely.  However, one day I found a website that changed everything.  It was called Atlanta Mommas, and it was a group of amazing women.  Some were stay at home moms, some were work at home moms, some were working moms. There were young moms and older moms and everything in between.  Through this group, I met moms who cloth diapered, co-slept, baby carried and breast fed and I met moms who used bottles, disposable diapers, cribs and strollers.  I could post a question in the forums and generally, someone knew the answer, or could point me in the right direction to find the answer.  And then there were meet ups – Mother’s Nights Out, weekend and evening playgroups, a chance to get out and meet other moms.  This group was a life saver for me and the friendships I have formed from it are life long.


Before we moved to Morocco, I worried about not being able to meet anyone.  I could walk by a person who spoke English there and never know it, unless I stopped to try and talk to them, or was introduced to them by someone else who spoke English.  However, by using technology to join a group on Facebook – called American and English Speaking Women Living in Morocco, I suddenly had access to hundreds of women, most living in the same city I did.  All of these women spoke English and lived in Morocco and they were a combined wealth of knowledge.  These women knew where to find expat items like maple syrup and vanilla extract.  They knew how the education system worked and who to talk to if you were looking for a housekeeper.  Additionally, there were meet ups and gatherings to get you out, meeting others and building friendships.  While we were in Morocco, this group provided me with an enormous amount of support, and when we decided to leave, they were able to help me find buyers for many of the items we decided not to take with us.  Through this group, I formed friendships that I still maintain.


So, when we decided to move back to the US and become full time RVers, we knew there must be other people like us out there  - full time RVers with kids - and so I went hunting for blogs and facebook groups to help us connect with them.  I found a few groups and I like them all, but I have to say that my favorite is called Fulltime Families.  It is a place to go with questions about being full time in an RV.  There are discussions about great places to take the kids, way to help kids make friends, how to store your stuff, etc. etc.  Somebody in this group recently recommended DIY – an online “scouting” and networking program for kids that my boys are in LOVE with.  Additionally, there are rallies and ways to help people get together when they are close to teach other.  Now, I’m new to this community, but I am so excited to add it to the list of communities which have shaped who I am today.


What virtual communities are you a part of? 


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