When Fans Become FriendsPosted: July 16, 2012
Several years ago I joined Myspace and learned how to make friends using a tool called Friendblaster. I hoped my new friends would buy and love my books. I soon learned they all wanted something different. Some wanted to pass the time. Many wanted to sell me something. Some wanted advice. A few even wanted to sleep with me. That was a shock! I never expected women to solicit sex online, but now nothing surprises me.
At first I saw my new online friends as customers, but over the years I began to connect with many of them as true friends. I’ve learned so much from my friends in the medical, legal, and law enforcement communities. I’ve been counselor, mediator, and book reviewer to many. My most enjoyable role is still game show host. I love running contests and giving something back to those who have supported me most.
Writing in my office at home there is no one down the hall to chat with. No one stopping by the water cooler. But Facebook and Twitter are never far.
This last weekend I drove to Lisbon Falls, Maine to spend time with someone that goes back to those early days on Myspace. The whole family welcomed me in. Friday featured a birthday party with about 50 guests. Normally when I’m in such a large gathering of people I don’t know I’m “on,” telling people about my work and selling books, but this weekend I was part of the family.
It was a joy to sit back and meet everyone. I put my writer hat on a few times. I’m always curious about family dynamics and it was interesting to take in all the personalities. It’s also heartwarming to be surrounded by a loving family that truly cares for one another.
When I told people on Thursday it was going to be a relaxing weekend, they warned me it would be hectic and chaotic with all the little ones around, but we lounged by the pool, watched fireworks and took in the Moxie parade without a single tantrum. My kids are nearly grown, so one of the true joys of the visit was watching the little ones play in the pool. Those little giggles never get old.
Today as I go back to work I’m truly thankful that my circle of online friends has gone far beyond the typical author/reader relationship. I count myself lucky to have so many good friendships that have blossomed from a simple friend request.
What unexpected blessings have you found in your online life?