Thursday, January 21, 2010

What Makes Social/Communities Important?

As I sit thinking about and reflecting on what my first blog should be, I finding myself asking how did I get here....a blog? When just a little over a year ago I didn't want anything to do with nor did I understand the importance of any social tools. I didn't Facebook, Twitter, or Blog. So the question here is why are these things so important? Before this is answered I think you need to know how I arrived at this place.

Up until pretty recently I would have told you "that isn't my thing", which is particularly interesting given that for the last several years it has been my husbands entire job. If he is everything "Social" I was the anti-social.

It started with Facebook. Without knowing anything I had decided it wasn't for me. Somehow I was talked into having a page. There I was on Facebook. I was a little nervous...which picture do I put up? What do I write about myself? Who do I friend? Who is going to friend me? Then it happened. A couple we me on our honeymoon at this time 11 years earlier friended me. We had tried to keep in touch but with life, growing families, and geography we drifted apart. We lived in Boston, MA and they lived in Calgary, AB Canada. But there it was an opportunity to reconnect and establish a lasting friendship. That was it for me. I now knew and understood the power and hype behind Facebook and was hooked.

Twitter however was something very different for me. "I wasn't ever going to be on Twitter" My husband would gently encourage me. I would always come back with a very strong opinion. "Twitter is very ego centric. Everybody just wants to see how many followers they have and how many people are responding to them" It all seemed to self serving to me.

Soon I knew more and more people who were Tweeting. Funny, they didn't seem ego centric or self serving to me. Then it happened. Oprah joined twitter and tweeted the first time on air. This gave me pause. So VERY humbly I went to my husband and said "it is time, would you set my up on twitter?" I had realized that maybe I have judged this tool to quickly and really needed to experience it for myself. Before I knew it @aaronstrout, my husband, was very graciously giving me a tutorial on Twitter and Tweets.

You are probably thinking but this is a blog - a blog that was tweeted about, has a name and potentially a purpose....what happened?

Here is what happened. I spent some time asking myself "why" why do people Facebook, Twitter and Blog? What I realized is that with the world as big as it is, life moving so very fast, and technology changing daily it is so very easy for people to be forgotten and lost. Swallowed up by the rapid change and movement life brings to us. So it is in my opinion that we do these things to feel connected, to make the world feel a little smaller and give everyone a voice. That is what makes Social/Communities important.

So as I approach 41, am 13 years into my marriage, 10 1/2 years being home full time, and a mother of 3, I simply decided I have some things to say. Now I have a voice.

Melanie Starner Strout (Facebook)
@melaniestrout (twitter)
Not Just Mothering (


  1. Love the back story! Looking forward to post #2 (and 3...4....).

  2. Subscribed - looking forward to hearing more. My wife is earlier on in a similar journey. She's become a Facebook addict (FB is the gateway drug, don't you think?) and has an iPhone (I don't). Having a community at your fingertips seems to be what it's all about. She's still skeptical on Twitter and blogging, but some signs of the "addiction" include starting to do FB status updates more often and commenting on other people's events. All the power to you!

  3. Love this, Melanie! I remember the first time I wrote a blog post . . . it certainly is a process that teaches you a lot about yourself. Thanks for letting us in on it and I look forward to reading.

  4. Melanie,

    So does this mean you are no longer working for Brooks Brothers?! ;-)
    Wait a sec, maybe you should start blogging for them....

    Great that you are here online- woo-hoo

  5. Yay - welcome to my world! Look forward to reading your prose, honey.

  6. Jim - Thanks and working on posts 2 ,3 & 4 now.

    Adam - It is still a learning process for me as well. However if your wife needs any encouragement I'd be happy to help.

    Doug - It certainly has proven to be a very interesting process. I am enjoying it more then I thought.
    Tyson - Haven't been at Brooks Brothers for years. My understanding is that they could use a little help. You might have something there.

  7. You summed it up perfectly. Even my mom is on FB and Twitter now with my encouragement. She barely knew how to log on before!

  8. best re-connection EVER ,

    Love The Stiel's from "Calgary"