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When Online Communities Get Real

I blog on this site about the power of community to affect change in our natural environments, our families, our businesses, our schools–all those places and things that are part of healthy urban living.  There is, however, another aspect to community–the sort of parallel universe created by the Internet…and blogs like this one.

Whether virtual or real, both types of community have power that is real. Today I felt the power of the “online” community “offline.”

Those of you that have read this blog for a while know that I’ve blogged about the power of “online communities” before (huge props to the mom bloggers out there!).

Today I had the pleasure of getting real with a wide cross section of more than 500 bloggers and podcasters at Podcamp Toronto 2009. For those of you who tend to limit your recreational or business interaction to online forums, I encourage you to mix it up and “get real” every once in a while. I came home charged and full of  inspiration–the kind you can really only get from live, face-to-face conversations with people who share your passion on topics and life interests.

Since I showed up 1-hour early (old habits and all that) I had the opportunity to meet some really interesting and wise social media pros many of whom I hope to connect with on other projects down the road (hi Leona Hobbs). I also met a politician, PR reps, fellow mom bloggers, fashion bloggers, internet marketers, photographers, retired professionals, college students and even some folks who weren’t quire sure what they were doing at Podcamp.  Those in that camp seemed to feel that the time had come to find out what alien life force had hijacked their friends, neighbours and even local reporters, who have of late taken up the habit of peppering their communications with words like twittering, Digg and SEO.

Podcamps aren’t all that new and are held in numerous cities across North America.  This year I finally realized I couldn’t miss it.  You better believe I’ll be back next year.  Here’s the link to Podcamp Toronto to give you an idea of the topics covered.  Next time there’s a Podcamp in your city or region, think about attending.

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