I can still perfectly remember the first comment on my blog. It’s not about what the commentator said, it’s not about the fact that I was a great fan of the first person commenting, it was about receiving the first comment to something I had written and sparking a conversation. I was so thrilled!

Writing was a daily habit for me at the time. Be it novels, stories, essays, articles and projects for school, I have always enjoyed putting my thoughts on (real or electronic) paper. And I have always enjoyed having people read it and give me their feedback. So the part about having an outlet for my thoughts was not what hooked me to blogging. It was the comments, the conversation and the almost instant feedback. What kept the addiction going was the great number of friendships that resulted from my casual chat with fellow bloggers.

Some of the people I’ve met online have quit blogging, some just are in a different place right now, where we’re no longer able to connect. But what I’ve learned, the feeling of a geographically ignorant circle of friends stayed with me and are now stronger than ever.

Of my oldest friends, Sarah and Bart are still around. Bart has actually become one of my closest friends and a second father to me (if his daughters weren’t enough trouble :P) and has supported me through painful breakups, career issues, health issues and shared lots of fun and amazing times with me. When it comes to online friendships, a lot of people say that real life meetings are disappointing. Never my case! Not with Bart, whom I visited together with my fiance, not with my big sis Trisi, not with Zu, or any other person I’ve met through my blog.

Since that first comment, I started meeting amazing people. Powerful, inspirational, funny, supportive, innovative, extremely bright. Mig, Joanna, Bogdan, Deb, Ali, Haal, Mohammed, Liz, Lou, Brad, Karen, Alex and so many more it’s impossible to mention them all and not remembering a few more names every other five minutes. Some of them are listed here, others are listed in my Google Reader (I’ve got about 300 subscriptions). If I wanted to write a personal thanking note to all of them, it would probably take me weeks and I’d get lost in the forest of memories quite soon after starting.

People talk about networking, making connections, I like to say I try my very best to build meaningful relationships through my blog. I don’t care nearly as much about rss subscribers, daily visits and ranks, as I care about the number of people I can call my friends and the impressive number of memories and experiences we’ve shared. Investing in such relationships does entail impressive ROI. Probably not the kind of ROI you might think of at first, but definitely more than you could ever wish for!

This is my contribution to and the official launch of the “Blogging and Relationships – Write about the wonderful people you’ve met!” Group Writing Project. In case you’ve forgotten the rules and prizes, here they are:

  • Publish an original article on your blog before February 28
  • You may only have one entry per blog. If you have more than one blog, lucky you 🙂
  • Link to the post announcing the group writing project
  • Comment on the announcement post, just to make sure I don’t miss your entry, we can’t always rely on trackbacks!

And the prizes:

  1. A copy of IttyBiz’ SEO School
  2. Depeche Mode – The Singles 86-98 in mp3 format (I love them and this particular collection holds all my favorites)
  3. A copy of Lillie Ammann’s “Dream or Destiny”

Additionally, along with these prizes, you’ll get 2 hours of free PR consulting from yours truly.

As for the jury I’ve told you about, the parts have been given to: Loredana, Alex and little old me.

Good luck everyone!

P.S. If you’re not among the names I’ve mentioned in this entry and feel you should be, you probably should 🙂 And I did think of you when writting this post!

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