Yeah, you might have to get dressed for this one (photo via smurby at Photobucket)
Have you ever noticed that when people argue about the pros and cons of the internet, they’re often able to use the same facts to prove opposite points? For example, an internet lover might point out that the internet allows people from very niche interest groups – Trekkies Who Love Animals is my favorite example – to find peers and discover that they’re not alone. Anti-internet folks might point out that the internet allows people from dangerously niche interest groups to find peers and discover that they’re not alone, giving them a power and a voice that is disproportionate to their size.
The power of the internet to build communities is a double-edged sword, and that holds true for the GF community as well. On the one hand, it’s a beautiful thing to read all the informative, supportive comments that you all leave here on this blog. When we read through our comments every evening, we see little-known facts exchanged, myths debunked, even friendships born and cultivated. And because you are the reason we’re in business, we love being able to speak directly to you, to hear what you have to say, and to create services and products that fit your specific needs. None of that would really be possible if we didn’t have this virtual space in which to come together.
On the other hand, it’s possible that the greatness of this virtual space has made us a little…well, lazy. If you didn’t have this resource and these folks with whom to sympathize, empathize, debate, etc, what would you do? If you want to be pessimistic about it, you might say, “Well, I wouldn’t do anything. I would have no idea where to find the information I need and I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to about the specific challenges that come along with this diet.” And that may very well be true. But I might argue this: maybe you would be forced to create the community you needed. You might start a weekly GF get-together by posting notices all over your neighborhood, maybe even going door-to-door. And maybe that little get-together would morph into a cooking club, or even a book club. Your kids might meet each other and be able to have GF playdates. Your non-GF neighbors might smell the deliciousness coming from your house and pop in to ask for a sample. Maybe the little get-together you were forced to create would morph into a neighborhood-wide GF movement!
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