I realise that this blog hop deals with blogging and friends, but it’s one I feel compelled to join in with. So, instead of writing exclusively about blogging, I’m going to twist it a bit and write about online community in general.
I’ve been involved with online communities, you could say, since I was thirteen. The first online community I became involved with was the official George Harrison forum. I contributed regularly after taking the plunge and registering in November 2005.
Under the alias SimplyShady74 (taken from my favourite Harrison song at the time and the year it came out – 1974) I shared original poetry and stories and general fan banter with people around the world. One generous individual set a poem I had written commemorating the fourth anniversary of Harrison’s death to music. That won some acclaim among forum members and my real life friends.
Ultimately, it was through the Harrison forum that I came to form my most meaningful online friendship. On February 25th 2006, the forum members held a celebration marking what would have been George Harrison’s 63rd birthday. During that wonderful evening, where fans bantered about our collective favourite subject, a forum moderator offered some virtual banoffee pie. A user posting under the alias Chris Harrison wrote asking what ‘banoffee’ was. I wasn’t sure, but I gave my best guess with these words: ‘Banana and toffee, I think.’
I solved that mystery for her, and she seemed grateful. After a while, we began to communicate via email and instant messaging, as well as on the board. I learned that Chris was facing serious health issues, and joined the community members who were praying for her regularly.
Chris’ illness and passing taught me the value of online community, because we pulled together and supported each other whilst supporting her through her battle. Chris passed away on April 8, 2007. On November 30, 2010, I began this blog, in the hope that others who have experienced the death of an online friend might find some support and comfort here.
Wishing you peace and strength on your journeys,