While the meetups have been happening for longer than I have known they existed (Steve mentioned last night that he had been attending them 6 years ago), the more formalized SGFBlogs is relatively new. Built last year by Sarah Jo Austin, it has served as a blogroll and central point of contact for bloggers in the greater Springfield area. We’ve come full-circle: those who wrote online began meeting in pubs, and those offline meetings are turning back into online connections.
What’s new is that Sarah is formalizing it a bit more. Tonight she presented us with a long list of duties she had been handling herself and, what with Mini Austin on the way, she is looking for help. There wasn’t even a moment of consideration: I really enjoy the community and I think it’s a good cause, so I have volunteered to handle web, email, and RSS stuff.
I’ve written before about my values. I want to write, and I want to be published, and ideally I’d make enough money doing all this to make it my full time job, but all of that is secondary to me. The overriding value for me is community. I’m an avowed introvert, but I love the Internet and the freedom it affords, and I like the nature of the relationships we forge through this magical thing.
The truth is, I don’t know anyone locally who is like me. I had a pretty screwed up youth, have developed a fairly specific taste in games and nerdery, and maintain a personality that befuddles most who know me well (including myself). Part of the teaching at church last Sunday was that we shouldn’t spend all our time around people who are just like us, but I don’t feel like I spend any time around people who are just like me.
Except when I’m online. If anyone from PAX is reading this, you know what I’m talking about 😛
The SGFBlogs community is pretty solid, though. They’re friendly, and nice, and we have a love of blogging in common. With some changes being made at the Association, that will become more pronounced as we become more exclusive. Not much more exclusive, but there will be some requirements for being part of the Association. Members will be expected to attend a couple of meetings a year, and will be expected to actually blog. I know that seems silly, but there are a lot of people signed up who don’t. There are some other stipulations, but the main emphasis of it all is to return focus to the community. That’s what we’re here for, and people who aren’t engaged in that aren’t part of it. That’s fine, it will just be a bit more formalized.
Are you a blogger in Springfield or the surrounding area? Check out SGFBlogs and feel free to comment here with any questions you might have. And if you have suggestions or thoughts, let me know! I’m kind of involved with it now, so they might expect me to bring something to the table eventually 😛