I recall much hand wringing in certain circles when social networking first started to take hold. The blossoming of virtual communities, the thinking went, would foster increased isolation and withdrawal from real world interactions.
I've always taken a different, more hopeful view of the phenomenon — believing that extending our connections can only help to expand our perspective and improve our outlook. As important as it is to maintain and nurture our ties to friends, family and partners physically close to us, it's equally rewarding to discover kinships that reach around the world, beyond the limits of our perceptual borders.
So it was that I fearlessly leaped into the new paradigm with both feet. The first step was to begin this little blogging experiment I've titled Caught in the Stream. The second, equally significant, was to explore the many faceted imaginings of the greater blogosphere through community-building sites such as My Blog Log and Blog Catalog.
Along the way I've met dozens of diversely creative, interesting, insightful, generous and supportive bloggers who have helped me to broaden my mind and deepen my spirit. Two of my dearest virtual friends have double tagged me with another honor — bestowing on me a new badge in recognition of our mutual esteem: The Colors of Friendship award.
Deborah at Climate of Future is always quick to acknowledge my kindness, and she's been equally ready to help me every way she can while indefatigably building awareness about global warming. Michelle at Binding Ink never spares a supportive word for my writing and uses her special ink to knit together more tightly our community of writers.
Now I have the hard task of singling out just five bloggers who have taught me valuable lessons about this very real new kind of friendship. They have wide networks of admirers and may have already received this award from one of them, but I'm giving each a shout-out nonetheless: