Monday, November 29, 2010

Cybergratitude

By Karen Maslowski (still in Ohio)


Thanks to Bente Gallagher for asking if I would like to blog with the Working Stiffs; I'm truly honored. While I've written several books–all out of print–none of them have yet been fiction. I'm hoping to change that someday soon.

There are so many things to be grateful for: good health, daughters happy and on their own financially, a brilliant (of course!) grandson, and the fact that my parsimonious husband insisted on saving everything we could for a rainy day. Now that the metaphorical rain is drenching us I can see his wisdom, and I do thank him often for holding that line (even though it kills me to do so–we still don't have cable).  Every day I find a new reason to be grateful for my computer, and for the connections I have to the rest of the world because of it, including the Stiffs!

When it comes to my writing life the Internet has to be considered as the single largest success factor, after experience and desire to write.  I was one of the very first in the sewing industry to have a website, advertising my books. Research has changed considerably since I wrote my first book in 1994; at that time I found many of the subjects I wrote about–sewing professionals–through message boards on Usenet, Prodigy, AOL, and Compuserve. In my last book I included a chapter on using a computer in a sewing business; it had become that important on so many levels.

The social aspects of the Internet have become increasingly important, as have the entertainment portions. Who would have dreamed we'd be reading books on mobile phones, for heaven's sake? Or hearing from our friends multiple times a day, even though they are on the other side of the world?

Over the years I've met a lot of people first online and then face to face, including in four other countries. It's fascinating that, while we rarely write letters today, we probably read each other’s' written words far more often than ever before. We learn more about our friends and acquaintances, I think, when we see how they write. Bente and Laurissa and I met in person at an RWA conference here in Ohio. Reading one another’s blog comments for the last few years led to a nearly instant connection. And I’m fairly sure I’d recognize Annette instantly!

How has the computer and the web made a difference for you? What are you grateful for in the cyberworld? 

16 comments:

Annette said...

Karen, I've already had someone recognize me (in WalMart!) from me being online. It kind of freaked me out, only because I did NOT recognize them! You, I suspect I'd know.

I love that I've been able to connect with some old and dear friends on Facebook. And right now my little grand-niece is going through some nasty medical stuff. On Friday, when the little one was in surgery, her mom and dad kept family and friends up-to-date online. The web definitely keeps us all connected quicker and easier than the phone.

And before I forget, welcome to the Stiffs, Karen, although you've been here all along!

Karen in Ohio said...

That would freak me out, too, Annette!

By the way, the book pictured is actually still available, although not technically "in print". When the rights reverted to me seven or eight years ago I began selling it in .pdf form. I've probably sold as many in that format as the publisher sold in the original print form.

And thanks for the welcome!

Joyce Tremel said...

Welcome, Karen! It's nice to put a face to your name.

I don't know what I'd do without the internet. I'm grateful for all the friends I haven't had the chance to meet in person yet.

Jennie Bentley said...

It was wonderful to meet you and Laurie at COFW, Karen, and I'm so glad you were able to work out the posting.

I love the internet. It keeps me in touch with people I don't see regularly, and it makes me feel like I know people I've never actually met. I just know that when we do meet - like in Columbus - it'll be like we've always been meeting.

In keeping with my post earlier this month, though - the one about the Pony Express and newfangled technology - do you ever wonder what'll happen to the historians of the future, with no written material to study? Most of what we know about the past comes from letters and diaries and contemporary writings. I know they say that once you put something on the internet, it's always there, but I've lost enough emails to know that isn't necessarily true. There's a book in that.

Laurissa said...

Welcome, Karen! I enjoyed meeting you in Columbus. You're right I felt as though I already knew you. I also like the internet for being able to stay in touch much easier with friends and family.

Karen in Ohio said...

You're so right, Bente.

Historians used letters for many reasons, too, and now we rarely write them on paper. Email from dear friends that I wanted to keep forever, in particular on longlost versions of AOL, all gone. I could have printed them out, but that might have taken out an entire forest. It's too sad.

Ramona said...

Karen! You are on my short list of "Cyber Friends I Must Someday Meet" though I'd prefer not in a Wal-Mart. (Freaky, Annette!) I "know" you from TLC; we are Friends on FB; and now we are guest-blog-mates at Working Stiffs. All this and we have never met.

The world is a big place--except when it's not.

Karen in Ohio said...

Ramona, don't forget TLC, where we "met" originally!

I'm not stalking you, honest. LOL

Karen in Ohio said...

Oh.

Never mind. :-/

(said in best Emily Litella voice!)

I missed that part of your post, Ramona. Too fast on the trigger finger this morning.

Would love to meet you in person, too. Someday.

Annette said...

Ramona, my WalMart encounter wasn't "freaky" as in "scary." It was freaky as in I thought I was having a senior moment and should KNOW this guy who knew me! Turns out he's someone local I've been doing some writing for, but we'd only "met" online and talked on the phone before.

Pari Noskin Taichert said...

For someone who lives in a state with a small population -- and an even smaller reading pop. -- the internet has been an incredible boon.

It's astounding to me how I've connected with so many other writers and readers through the world wide web . . .

By blogging, I've made virtual friends I hope to meet someday. By having a web presence I know I've sold more books than I ever would've any other way.

The positives go on and on. Of course, I also take time to totally turn off that external access too -- when the noise gets too demanding/distracting.

Patg said...

I've been able to connect to a few old friends. The shocker is how many others refuse to even own a computer. Well I still have Christmas cards for them.
I have a world of new cyber friends that I've never met, yet feel I know because we talk so much on line.
I don't think anything is ever lost in cyberspace. WE may loose it, but there are others holding on to everything. And as a bit of a futurist, I believe history will also be viewed differently. Remember, everything is now recorded, we don't have to depend on the scribblings of others who were not writing for a world view, but recording their own opinions and prejudices.
Patg

Marie C said...

I love to connect with family members who live in Canada and United States.
This is a great blog, Karen!!

Gina said...

I love the emails and groups, too, but I also love youtube!

mary lynn said...

Your first book is currently on my sofa to pass on to a young friend. I felt like I sorta knew you from your email list 16 or 17 years ago. Now, with TLC and FB and our emails, i feel you are one of my friends.

This is really important to me because I'm moderately housebound/disabled. I go for days on end, weeks even, without face to face contact with people other than my husband. My online friends and my online bridge partners keep me from being totally isolated. Otherwise, I would become totally whackado, I fear.

Karen in Ohio said...

Mary Lynn, that's very sweet. And yes, I also feel as though we're old friends!

Hope the youngster enjoys the book.