The world we live in today is such a different world than 25-30 years ago. The way we look for information has dramatically changed. I was going through old family photos this week and found a picture of 12-14 years ago. It was of my kids sitting in the kitchen and in the background, there was a stack of 6 telephone books, white and yellow pages, from our local town and our metro area.
Now I don’t think I even own one telephone book. Why would I need to? Every business I want to find would probably be online. That is the first place we look now.
When I was a young mom 25 years ago, when I needed to make friends and seek out likeminded women, my options were limited. I remember listening to radio programs by Focus on the Family for teaching and encouragement on being a parent. I heard of a group called MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers. I had to call Focus to find a local chapter, and call and get the details of when and where they met. Through that MOPS group, I found support and friendship at a time in my life when I was young and inexperienced.
Fast-forward 10 years. The birth of the internet had begun to change things. I found something called Yahoo groups and various discussion boards, all devoted to specific topics or niches. And when I began researching homeschooling, I had access to all the information I could ever need and women everywhere ready to help and support me.
Through the internet, I was able to connect with local homeschoolers, and participate in activities and learning opportunities all throughout the metro Atlanta area. I eventually began a business doing photography, class and family pictures for homeschoolers all over the state of Georgia. The world wide web had opened a whole new world.
Life without the Internet?
Fast forward to today. Our kids don’t even know what life without the internet was like. I just saw a tweet from @athomemom3 whose son asked if they had printers when she was a kid. Last night our DSL was down. Yikes! We do not have home phone service. We were desperately trying to search on our phone for a tech support number (and not a website!) that could help us! My poor daughter had to run to Starbucks to take a test online for college! And I remember vacation last year to a sleepy little island with no internet service. How were we supposed to find what restaurants to eat at!?
The benefits of the internet expands our possibility for friendships online. With the advent of Facebook, it became possible to find friends you went to high school and college with, to keep up with family members across the country, or the world. Skype is an awesome service that I have not actually taken advantage of, although my 18 year old daughter and her friends do! If you are a young military or missionary family, think of how things would have been 20 years ago. Even though being separated from your family members is difficult, you have so much more opportunity to communicate meaningfully with them! I remember getting postcards 2 or 3 times a year from my aunt who was a missionary in the Phillipines!
Social media makes life, well, “social
With the progression of Facebook, and the advent of Twitter and other smaller various social media outlets, you can “meet” and make friends with people who have the same likes and hobbies as you. You can find people going through the sale struggles as you are. There is a whole world out there who is also looking for connection.
True, internet connections are used quite a bit for business and networking, but there is a reason it is called social media. The use of Twitter makes it easy to have ongoing day-to-day connections with your “friends”, and blogs give us a way to speak out and connect even more deeply. Online forums are also still used quite a bit, as well as membership sites.
Online support and healing
Through social media, I have found an outlet to journal and share my healing process from burnout, anxiety and depression. I have found others dealing with similar situations. I have found others headed down that same path, and I hope my words have been advice to slow down.
I have also met other people who are dealing with handicaps and disabilities of their own and of other family members. I have met families who are battling postpartum depression. Others still who are unemployed and looking to start a business.
I have found friends I would have never been able to find without the internet. Without the internet, I would probably not have connected with my old high school friend from One True Kim. I would have never met Cris at Goodeness Gracious. Or Amanda from They Hold My Heart. Or Melissa from Peanut Butter in My Hair who is having her 3rd baby tomorrow! Or Jen Welton from 867-5309! Oh, and I can’t forget Heather from ThetaMom. And there are SO many more I cannot even name them all!
Finding your own place in the world
If you are looking for blogs or forums or groups on a specific subject, type in the format you want and the topic or niche into a Google search. You should come up with plenty! Start looking and searching for a place where you feel comfortable and you are connecting with those with similar interests. You never know what you may find!