I just returned from speaking on a panel at the Utah Bloggers conference. One of the questions asked was:
One of the criticisms of the Internet is that it tears down local community ties. What are your thought about this?
The panel discussion was wrapping up so I didn't have time to jump in and give my opinion. The question really surprised me. I can't think of how the Internet would do that since all of my experience has been that the Internet has been an enabling tool that created low-cost methods of communicating and maintaining relationships.
My extended family of over 100 people, from great-grandparents, to second cousins, keep in touch through YahooGroups, in a group email that we have had since 2000. There is no way we would have keep in touch to the degree and extent we have otherwise.
I see that forums, myspace, facebook, rss feeds, niche blogs, etc. are all ways at building and maintaining a community. Even with this event tonight, I was able to share the panel with Phil Windley, Pete Ashdown, Cyndni Tetro, and Phil Burns. The event was moderated by Ryan Money. Ryan and Phil were the organizers of this great event and promised something on an even larger scale in six months. Ryan spoke of the importance of building a community of bloggers and I think he made a great start here.
I even got to meet the latest member of the Know More Media community, Jeff Jordan, who is writing about Angel Investing at EnablingAngels.com. He was introduced to me by our fearless editor, Easton Ellsworth of BusinessBlogWire.
Dee Taylor asked if the male dominated panel and audience attendance was indicative of the gender mix of the blogosphere. Dee, just to let you know, Know More Media has a strong group of BlogHers within our community.
In response to how to start a blog, Phil Windley points to his great 12 Step Program to Blogging (Step 1 - Hi, I'm Tim and I am a blogger - no, that is a different 12 Step Program!).
Have you become part of a community because of the Internet? If so, what is the community and how has it benefited your life?