I can't tell you how touched I've been lately by the outpouring of response from Radical readers and members of my Twitter network, who have offered words of congratulations and advice on my recent adoption.
Literally dozens and dozens of people who I've never met have taken the time to send well-wishes, praise my potential as a parent, and recommend strategies for raising the perfect child.
It's been amazing, actually, and I'm truly grateful to all of you for taking the time to stop by and celebrate with me. Heck, I haven't even met most of you and yet you've shown a level of kindness that I could never forget.
I'd even go as far as to say that your attention has been as meaningful to me as any of the attention that I've gotten from coworkers and friends that I know "in real life." Each time my hip vibrates, I look forward to pulling out my Blackberry and seeing who has stopped by and to reading what they've chosen to write.
For me, the lesson in those emotions is a simple one:
Digital relationships CAN be powerful.
Somehow, I've grown connected to a group of people who I only know through user names—and they've grown connected to me. While our work together probably started with somewhat selfish interests—"If I can get some resources from those people in Twitter, my life will be easier"—it has moved into a shared commitment to one another—"If good things are happening in my life, I want to share it with those who I enjoy, and that includes the people I learn with each day."
Wild, isn't it?
And it's got me wondering whether these kinds of intellectual and emotional commitments to digital co-learners are possible for everyone, or am I—and the dozens of people who've stopped by this week—just wired a bit differently. Are there specific steps that people can take to nurture strong partnerships with electronic peers, or will these kinds of relationships only resonate with a small handful of hardcore RAM-heads?
These are some pretty important questions to explore, I think, because they hold great implications for tomorrow's learners. Access to a strong network of learners is important for anyone, but those who are comfortable online have immediate access to far more partners than their peers who depend only on face-to-face friends.
Does that automatically make electronic learners like me more powerful than our peers?