Monday, April 14, 2014

Our Incredibly Shrinking World

Disney had it right: it IS a small world, after all.

Our ever-evolving communications technology has made that possible. We've gone from the telegraph and telephone to social media, FaceTime, and Skype. I have a couple of small-world success stories to share.

1) I have a writing group now. The search went on for a while but I've found one. I went to one meeting, got to participate and see how the group worked together, and am now a member. Of course, I won't be able to make their next meeting because I teach a class that evening. What's success without a few speed bumps? However, I'm going to use Word with comments and track changes to do the same critique I would do in person. All the members are local, but I've heard of geographically diverse writing groups who meet via technologies like Skype and FaceTime.

2) This one is not related to writing. My daughter's Girl Scout troop is in the "Bling Your Booth" contest, competing with 11 other troops. The winner of the most blinged booth gets a special Build-a-Bear for each girl in the troop. Several of our girls compete in Special Olympics as cheerleaders. My wife and I reached out via Twitter to some local celebrities who have supported Special Olympics and the special needs community in the past (a comedian and a Nationals player) to see if they would help us get the word out. They did. We're in a dogfight with another troop. Thanks to those two people, plus our Special Olympics coaches, hundreds of people who would otherwise not know about our girls have liked their booth. (Shameless plug: you can too, by liking the pic here (links to Facebook).) Technologies like Twitter and Facebook make the world feel a lot smaller. As writers, we like to use social media to promote our books and ourselves. In this case, social media is helping to promote some very special and hard-working girls. Whether our troop finishes with the most votes or not, we know that our girls have already won just by being supported and embraced so broadly.

Even if I never become a master of social media in the self-promoting sense, I'm glad that I (and my wife) have been able to use it to promote our deserving Girl Scouts. When the world feels smaller, it's pretty cool.

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