Worth Its Weight In Gold

A Guest Post by The Jack B

When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun‘.” — Groucho Marx

The biggest mistake that people make in social media is the one where they believe that if they put a few words on a page people will flock to their blog and laud them as the second coming of Chris Brogan or the next Guy Kawasaki.

I don’t know about you but I am not interested in being either of those guys. It is not because I dislike them or have any sort of disdain for what they do but because I like being me. I like being me for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that I don’t have to try to be me because I just am.

And that my friends is what I look for in social media, the “just ams.” I like the “what you see is what you get crowd” best. I like them because they let me focus on the most important part of the social media scene, the people.

People are what keep me in this game. Sure, I like to write and I would do it even if no one read a single post. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t value people or that I think they are unimportant. Far from it.

People and the personalities that come along with them are like the secret sauce of the blogosphere. They help turn a simple comment section into something that can be magical and spectacular.

Sometimes they make that comment section into a classroom where I learn things that I never knew and sometimes they turn it into a very cool nightclub.

But the ones that I like best are those that are similar to the old sitcom, “Cheers.” You know, the show with the bar and the cool theme song that talked about a place “where everyone knows your name.”

Sometimes friends and family from the “real world” question me about my online experience. They want to know how I can make friends with people I have never met and wonder if the friendships are real.

I suspect that many of you who are reading this already know the answer to that question. Many of you have had the privilege to develop relationships with people you met online. Many of you could tell those that question me that “online friends” can be among the best friends you have.

They can tell you that “online friends” are real, dependable and true.

But when they press me on this I like to point out stories like this one about how bloggers helped more to feed more than 300 families Thanksgiving dinner.

That didn’t happen just because people are giving and generous. It happened because these people were part of a community and the community took time to try and take of its members.

The community that exists is there because someone took the time to treat their visitors as people. They didn’t view them as collections of dots on a page or pixels in a picture.

People power social media. People drive the platforms and provide the reason for most of us to show up and hang out in the places we frequent.

Most of us won’t make “real money” from blogging or using any of the various social media platforms we show up on. But if we are lucky we’ll come out with a good friend or friends and if you’ll forgive the tired cliché, “that is worth its weight in gold.”

Other places to find me:
Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?
Odd Dad Out
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheJackB
About Me

“When you’re in jail, a good friend will be trying to bail you out. A best friend will be in the cell next to you saying, ‘Damn, that was fun’.” — Groucho Marx

18 thoughts on “Worth Its Weight In Gold

  1. I wanted to thank you for this post Jack. As you know, my life is in utter chaos right now. My own family has not helped me that much. It has been my online friends who are very much like my family who have been carrying me since the shit hit the proverbial fan about a month or so ago. I learn so much from everyone it really is amazing. Some of these friends have really restored my faith in people. They know who they are and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me.

    Those friendships are priceless to me. I value them as much as the few friends I have here in Jersey that I see and talk to on a regular basis.

    • Hi Nancy. Thank you, I appreciate the opportunity to be here. The online world has shown me on more than a few occasions that there are some really wonderful people.

      Here is to a better 2012 for all of us.

  2. I just wanted to stop by to say well done Jack for putting into words so eloquently thoughts that have been swirling round in my mind recently.

    I have been finding that I’ve been trying to be in too many places at once in my social media activities and as a consequence some ‘old friends’ are being neglected. And I do agree that they are real friends even though I have never met or spoken to most them and am unlikely too in the foreseeable future.

    I really do value these connections and intend to concentrate on them more in future by cutting down on the superfluous on line activities and getting back to basics. (There’s a blog post somewhere in there so watch this space!)

    Congratulations to you for a thoughtful post Jack and to Nancy for being such a good host. Wishing you both all the best for the forthcoming holiday season :-)

    • Hi Tony,

      I know how that goes and have let myself get caught up in other things on more than a few occasions. It is easy to do. But I try to make a point to do more than just make the rounds so that I can connect with my friends.

      It is important. Happy holidays to you too.

  3. Yes, all of it.

    I think you and I are on the same wavelength when it comes ot blogging and twitter. I’m looking for conversation, information, and organic enlightenment.

    I’m just glad that you feel the way you do AND you’re open to others.

    Great post

    • Lance,

      I am positive that we are on the same wavelength. It is always a pleasure to see you and or read your blog. One of the things that I appreciate is your love for music and how you tie a video into each post.

      I think that is really cool.

  4. Right on, Jack, it is about people and connecting. Love the analogy to “Cheers”, I miss these oldfashioned places where you could drop in and would always meet somebody you knew, some you would acknowledge with a nod and with some you would start hour long discussions.
    My real life friends and family have asked me the same question about building online friendships combined with “this looks like an awful lot of time you spent on your blog”. Actually, I spend more time on communicating with the community.
    And it is worth every hour (even spent long after midnight), here’s to online friendship!
    Thanks, Nancy, for sharing Jack’s view with us!

    • Hi Barbara,

      A good friend is invaluable. I think that it is ok to make them in a different way than we might have done so in the past. Online doesn’t have to mean bad, wrong or less than in person.

  5. For most, if you are not ‘all in’ in social media, they just don’t get it; they don’t get the true depth of some of these relationships even though we haven’t met face to face. The believers and the non-believers, huh?

    The other thing is, I see you just about every day. Other than my wife and some of the people I work with, I don’t see anybody else that much. Therefore, it does allow me to get to know you.

    I wonder if Guy and Chris were ‘just ams’ when they started and somehow they figured it out and gained some notoriety. Now that they appear elevated it certainly can attract haters; just look at the Tebow effect. I apologize for even mentioning his name because personally I’m tired of it and I didn’t like his ass at the Univ of Fla either because they were always spanking my Seminoles.

    I’m good at being a ‘just am’ and hopefully that will be all I ever need to be. It is the one thing I’m very comfortable at being.

    Good to see you at Nancy’s today; hopefully you were helping her find a job.

    • Hi Bill. I think that social media provides the means and ability to get to know people very quickly. The nature of the beast certainly makes it easier to learn things about people that very few of their friends know. It is targeted socializing.

      I suspect that most of the “big names” weren’t all that big when they started. Many people like to chase after the shiny pennies so if you have enough people pointing their fingers at you there is an opportunity.

      I am with you about Nancy. I hope to read that she found something good.

  6. It’s very hard to talk to non-bloggers about blogging. Most people don’t get it and don’t understand that it is possible to meet and make real friendships with people online.

    My experience as a b logger has made me stop laughing at the concept of online dating. ;-)

    • Hi Renee,

      I think that FB has helped some non-bloggers begin to understand a little bit about what happens here and why it can work, but overall I think you are right.

      There is this incredible world that we get to experience each day. It often amazes me.

  7. Jack,

    The first time that my father, a complete non-blogger, understood the power of the relationships that developed online was a remark that you made on one of the posts after my grandmother, z”l, died. The idea that someone, unknown in real life, could reach through a computer screen and provide genuine comfort was profound.

    As is the support and friendship that you have given me.

    • FS,

      I am grateful for the friendship and all that we have gained from the blogosphere. I remember how shocked I was the first time someone commented on my blog and am ever so happy I didn’t quit.

  8. Nice post Jack…and nice blog Nancy. I agree that we should be who we are and I believe that if that is how we blog, true to ourselves, then we will attract the same sort of people. I have been blogging for less than a year and can only start saying I have blogger friends. Actual friends…which was a beautiful surprise to me. But many of the people I know in the real world, friends and family, question it as they know so little about it. But that doesn’t make it less real.

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