August 13, 2005

Once upon a time...a Community Love Story

Once upon a time, many moons ago on an island not so far away, I fell in love with online community. Fell hard, on AOL, which was then a pay for access by the hour kind of place. It was a family that didn't need a long distance phone call. It was friends who had the same age children. Community was coffee klatsch, wise woman and a slumber party...sometimes with boys invited.

Awkward offline, I could manage to string sentences together. I still ran into a tone problem from time to time. (still do, on and offline) I sometimes spoke before I thought things through. (still do) I also had a knack for tending...take a deep breath...CHAT. I soon volunteered to help out on a message board, then more and then more. My perfectionist streak found home when it found an untended (Read: Spammy useless stuff flourished here because no one felt ownership and help was stretched thin.) section of boards. I thought I could just clean them up, get things moving so women (after all this was a place for mommies...even if it said parents) would have the support they deserved. I tended. I tended well. I got a paying gig doing what I was doing. I didn't get to pass off that section of boards for years, but I was doing what I loved.

Eventually, my boards grew big enough and other responsibilities (plus a new baby) grew big enough that I needed help tending those boards. Territorial and perfectionist meant that not just anyone would tend my boards. It meant someone who wanted to learn what I meant by tending community well and do it that way would do well. I started a weekly nag...err newsletter for those tending under me. I would remind, ramble and nag. Mostly wax poetic about tending community and what I had learned, usually the hard way. Yes, I flubbed big time sometimes. I had a reputation for being bossy, difficult, and well, passionate.

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