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July 23, 2015

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Cathy Miller

I admit at first I resisted the advice until I read the entire post. I think what I was resisting was the labeling of it as "fake intimacy".

When you build a community of followers, that "intimacy" is not fake. However, I agree that feeling of community without the face-to-face meetings can have us forgetting there are new individuals to our group. Forgetting we have someone new in the community can result in an almost cliquish environment.

It reminds me (on a smaller scale) of using acronyms and assuming everyone knows what they mean. Frustrating for those who don't.

So, point taken and appreciated. :-)

Marcia Yudkin

Hi Cathy,

If I subscribe to an ezine, I do not ever feel part of a community. For me, it is a communication from one person to me. Ditto when I visit a blog, even if I visit it regularly and participate occasionally in the comments. I'm curious, what makes you feel part of a community or a group in those situations?

People who write newsletters and blog posts often overrate the avidity with which people follow them. Writing as if everyone who follows them loves them and remembers the details of their lives presumes an intimacy that exists mainly in their own minds and just a few others', I believe.

Thanks for responding!

Marcia Yudkin

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Cathy and Marcia,

Thanks for starting the conversation. I have been teaching and traveling in Pennsylvania, and my Internet access has been limited. I have tried to post this comment twice and lost it; I am hoping I succeed this third time!

The conversation led me to think about my ezine subscribers. Some have been with me for more than 10 years, but about 15 percent subscribed in the past year. Some might remember the deaths of both my parents, and many would recognize Michael as my husband and business partner. But allusions to those events and people would lose the newer members of my audience.

Marcia, you mentioned to me that good radio commentators regularly restate their topic and the names of their guests, so listeners who join at any time will know what's going on. We need to do something similar to communicate with all members of our audiences.

Cathy, I understand why you resist the phrase "fake intimacy." It does not describe how you operate. You work hard to make readers feel welcome. Your comment about acronyms made me think of an abbreviation I saw last night. I was in a small town where most of the restaurants had "BYOB" in the window. Anyone new to that abbreviation would be curious about the byobs all the restaurants seemed to be featuring. Of course, the signs meant "Bring your own bottle" if you want alcohol with your meal.

Thanks again, Cathy and Marcia. I have enjoyed thinking about this topic with you. And that's not fake intimacy!

Cathy Miller

Marcia, I would agree for the most part. Few subscriptions to an ezine result in the feeling of being part of a community.

However, as a professional writer who began freelancing seven years ago, my subscriptions to a select number of blogs have definitely resulted in me feeling like I'm part of a community. I have developed a small circle of freelancing friends from that experience - some I've met in person - others I've never met. That doesn't make the relationship any less of a community (in my humble opinion).

I agree that there is the danger in believing your own press and an intimacy that does not exist. However, like most things in life, never say never. :-)

Thanks for allowing me to share my point of view. ;-)

Cathy Miller

Lynn, and I know you're a Notre Dame graduate. ;-)

Thank you for the opportunity for sharing ideas.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Cathy,

I appreciate your response to Marcia.

And thanks for my first laugh of the day, with your mention of my alma mater. Good memory!

Lynn

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