Events, features and things to do for families in New Hampshire
Get connected online
If there is one thing women know how to do, it’s knowing how to create a network. We are all about encouraging and taking care of each other. Women know how to nurture.
But with our busy lifestyles and the distance between us it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to communicate and give that much needed support. Not to worry, women are creative and have used the power of the Internet to create and maintain online networks with other women from all over. You just don’t have to be local anymore to offer up some advice.
Anyone can set up a Yahoo Group. A Yahoo group coordinates communication and acts as a docking station for all the group information. Files (like recipes) can be uploaded and all e-mail discussions are saved online so they can be referenced later. The nice thing about Yahoo groups is as the creator you can qualify and limit membership only to those who have a connection or something to offer.
Judy Blachek of Nashua is a member of an all-women Yahoo group dedicated to living a healthy life. The group focuses on diet, exercise and good habits. It includes members from all over the United States but has its biggest member base locally in the Nashua area.
“I have been working from home for the past nine years,” Blachek said. “Since I'm a very social person, I have always relied on occasional lunches out and exercising with friends to provide my social outlet.”
Blachek had found as she got older, it was harder to find "natural" meeting places to make new friends.
“You aren't in a new job and you aren't meeting other parents in your child's activities,” she said.
The Yahoo group has given her an outlet to find like-minded women. “It's been very fulfilling to be part of the social fabric of this group.”
Now through the use of the Yahoo group, she has another social outlet that includes daily e-mail messages from the members.
“I have found the e-mail to be helpful for many things besides the support for health itself. We often talk about many things -- how to find good organic vegetables, where to find really good jeans, how to handle parenting issues, just to name a few. In addition, we have members who share their joys, their challenges, and some heartbreaking stories. I have made some wonderful new friends, and have solidified old relationships. Many of us have met in person, and these relationships have enhanced my life.”
A group e-mail list is a great way to quickly shout out an announcement or a call for support or information. It’s not uncommon to see group emails with subject lines like “Does anyone have a solution for…”, “Up for a walk on Tuesday?” and yes, even, “Happy Birthday wishes”.
Dee Avery of Merrimack uses group e-mails to organize everything from hikes to donation coordination among friends.
“For some reason in this day and age it seems so hard to pick up the phone and make plans with someone. We are all so busy ourselves and we hate to interrupt someone else's day either.”
The virtual community allows her to make group plans and work around everyone’s schedule all at once without putting pressure on anyone to make a decision at a moment’s notice.
“What ordinarily would take 10 or more phone calls now only takes one e-mail. Want to set up a movie night? Send out a group email. Want to organize a fundraiser? One e-mail,” Avery said.
Facebook keeps you in touch with your family and friends by letting you post snippets about your life and allowing you to comment on what others are doing. If someone is sick and they post about it, they get lots of get better soon wishes. If someone writes about reading a good book, other people will go out and read the book.
There are some caveats to Facebook, the first being that it is not like e-mail. Everyone on your “friend” list can see your posts, and while that’s fine if you are reviewing a new movie, it may not be the best to let everyone know that you’re having a tough day due to killer period cramps. A little bit of common sense goes a long way on Facebook.
There are also local social networking sites like www.parentingnh.com where you can connect with parents through groups and messaging.
A word of caution: Most networks will allow you to post under a user name if you feel the need for anonymity. Unless the network has the policy of what is said here, remains here, just assume that whatever you contribute might be seen elsewhere and use a good dose of common sense when entering any comments.
Last updated by Morgen Thiboult Mar 31, 2011.