I graduated from high school in 1988 in Dallas. That same year, the hair band Cinderella released a song called “Don’t Know What You’ve Got (Till It’s Gone)”. The song didn’t make a particularly strong impression on me back then, but I heard it a lot during a memorable time in my life, so I haven’t forgotten it, either.
Where the heck am I going with this?
Well, over the past week or so, I was reminded of those 22-year old lyrics when I tried to get my daily ActiveRain fix. After weeks of proxy errors, intermission curtains, and rampant, free-flowing gossip on other networks about the AR server upgrade, I am happy to report that I’ve been completely error-free during my session of commenting and posting here this evening.
On a personal note, I like to think of myself as a loyal friend, sometimes to a fault. I can forgive an awful lot if I care about you. I tell my kids I love them unconditionally, and I mean it.
While ActiveRain itself is not a member of my family, some of the people here have become my closest friends. Additionally, the AR community is responsible for some amazing opportunities and sales that I’ve had over the past three years. I learned how to blog for business right here. Interestingly, I also got invited to check out Twitter and Facebook from my friends at AR and I learned what “social media” meant. Heck, John Novak of Las Vegas even took an hour out of his day to teach me all about the basics of Twitter back when I first started there. (Side note: Thanks, John)
My point is this: I have yet to find ANY other online space where people genuinely care about others as much as they do here. Sure, the point system is fun, but PEOPLE matter.
When I started, there were about 20,000 members here – now there are over 180,000 and counting. While this place has probably lost some of its small town charm, where everybody knows everyone else, it’s still filled with amazing information, breaking news, industry debates, and (perhaps most importantly) lots of solid friendships.
With that in mind, I am here for the long haul.
Getting back to the song I mentioned above, I always knew how special this place was, but having it taken away and being faced with the (imaginary) spectre of losing it altogether made me realize what an integral part of my life AR has become.
I sincerely never worried about the possibility of losing any of my blog content, even when I couldn’t see it, mainly because I sincerely trust that everything is backed up somewhere. Maybe I’m a little naive or too trusting, although I prefer to think of it as “faith”. That being said, I have a backup of most of my own content anyway, since I have plans to craft some of it into a book someday. 🙂
Speaking of trust, I read a post by Bob Stewart of ActiveRain yesterday called “Our Promise to You“. If you haven’t seen it, you should give it a look. I think it was one of the better examples of corporate transparency that I have witnessed. I have a few promises of my own, both for those of you reading this, and for AR as well:
- I promise not to abandon ActiveRain as a platform
- I promise not to leave behind the friends I’ve made here
- I promise to be available to help AR newbies as much as I can
- If you are thinking of leaving out of frustration, I promise you won’t find a ready-made audience for your content elsewhere without a lot of hard work
You get the point. This place is special, not because of the technology, which can hiccup no matter where you are, but because of the people.
And I happen to like the people here.
How about you? I welcome your input.
Thanks for reading!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/-cavin-/2366764272/