Networking in on-line communities continues to interest and amaze me. The camaraderie that can be built by reading someone's blog, following them on twitter, and watching them via a variety of other social networking and media tools can make you feel you know people whom you have never personally met.
Tonight I was invited to an Austin Twitter Meet Up organized because internet maven Susan Reynolds was visiting Austin. I could not attend due to other commitments, but wanted to drop in for for five minutes to meet Susan in person.
Susan is currently in a battle with breast cancer, and has taken on the courageous effort of sharing her journey with the world on her blog, Boobs on Ice. Her open messages of her struggles with cancer and chemotherapy has launched the internet based charitable efforts know known as The Frozen Pea Fund. In just nine weeks they have raised over $8000 for cancer research and started the paper work to form a permanent 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Donations have come from those on-line friends and strangers, each giving small amounts.
I believe The Frozen Pea Fund is on its ways to much bigger numbers than $8000. I suspect that this organization, which was born out of Twitter, will take off and become a major force for good. I know this from spending just a few minutes with Susan, as she too is a force for good! I have been reading about Susan and the frozen peas since the fall, and I blogged about the fund raising efforts in December. I am glad I got the chance to meet her in person as she is a true inspiration.
My five minutes turned into twenty, as I delighted in having the chance to meet Susan and others whom I have only known via their digital persona's. These meetings of people who know each other via tools like Twitter happen all the time, and it gives one a chance to make real face-to-face connections. Look for ways to meet up with those you know on-line, you will be amazed at the cool-ness factor.
I wish I could have been there for the whole evening, as they all were having a great time! But I also know there WILL be a next time.
Have A Great Day.