I am addicted to the internet. I’m active on Twitter and in the local TweetUp community, I’m a blogger, I’m a prolific blog reader, I’m an active commenter on several major blogs, and I have a long history on message boards. Sometimes, my husband gives me a hard time about my internet addiction, but lately he’s been forced to change his tune.
Little Rock, Arkansas, while not exactly a major metropolis, is home to an awesome network of bloggers and Tweeps (what we Twitter addicts call fellow Twitterers). Monthly TweetUps are just the most visible manifestation of an engaged and enthusiastic online community of local folk, sharing their lives 140 characters at a time. As I’ve written, I connected with the LR online community before we moved out here, and I even used Twitter to find a house (I put the word out about what we were looking for, and it turned out one of my tweeps was moving out of a great house that we subsequently moved into). But more importantly, I’ve used the local internet community to find My People.
We had/have many wonderful close friends in Charleston, but none of them were “mine.” What I mean is, almost everyone I knew there, I had met through my husband or his work. I was always, to some degree, Jon’s wife, Sarah, not Sarah, Jon’s wife. While I wouldn’t trade those friends for anything, after all, we survived the wild and crazy world of residency together, I needed to find My People. I have found them.
This week, I had the pleasure of being invited to a local gathering of fabulous women bloggers. It’s called CheeseburgHer, and it’s a spinoff of the big BlogHer national conference that just took place this week in New York. What started as an impromptu gathering there led, a few years hence, to satellite parties in various cities, and Little Rock, with its somewhat-surprisingly active blogging community, was selected to host such an event, largely thanks to the very talented Kyran, who has a BOOK coming out next year, because she’s a rockstar. She knows how to throw a party!
Anyway, I got an Evite encouraging me to come to a swanky downtown address to party on the 18th floor with fellow bloggers, looking fabulous, sipping wine (courtesy of Middle Sister), eating McDonald’s cheeseburgers, and wearing a bag on my head. I was really excited to go, and as I was telling a friend about my Saturday night plans, my husband kind of ragged on me a bit about it. I asked why he couldn’t be a bit more supportive, and he said he was just messing around– “after all, no one can knock the awesome community that you’ve found.”
He was right. What an awesome community of talented, funny, fabulous women! I arrived at the swanky address wearing one of my favorite dresses, I hugged “old” (being that I’ve been here, what, a month?) friends and met new ones, and, stereotypes of internet nerds be damned, we clicked! I had an amazing time, and I laughed my head off.
These were My People. People who feel the urge to share their stories with the Interwebz. People who know what it means to have friends you’ve never met in person, though you’ve watched videos of their kids and read their life stories. People who don’t bat an eye if you pull out your camera to document the party, or whip out a smartphone to check in to Gowalla or send out a quick tweet. While we may be very different– some of us are childless, others are stay-at-home-moms, others are juggling work and home life, some of us are young, and others think some of us are still babies– we all are very much alike in many ways. Unlike my experience with the Bible study group, where I felt like no one knew me, no one liked me, and no one would like me if they really knew me, I felt at home with this group of women. It was a raucous, joyous evening, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it. There’s something very powerful about a gathering of women who have a voice and aren’t afraid to use it!
I’ll end with some images of the event:
This one is snatched from the lovely Audreya: