|Who knew one picture would start a friendship?!|
There has also been a surprisingly positive effect of exposing myself and my family online. In opening up, being more visible, we have actually made some new friends we likely wouldn't have had the chance to without being online. From fellow Vancouverites to people moving to or new to the city, it has been so great to meet people who have similar lifestyles to us. Just a month ago, my husband took a random photo for Vancouver Cycle Chic, and within hours he was connected with the subject on Facebook and Twitter, and was making plans to meet up. Turns out, this gentleman, his partner and their son had just recently moved to Vancouver, and after meeting up, it was discovered they had once lived in Guelph, ON, the city we left to move to Vancouver. We had likely come very close to meeting up various times in the past having frequented some of the exact same businesses during our years in Guelph. Because of one photo being shared online, we suddenly have new friends with whom we have much in common.
Outside of personal connections and friendships being forged, my husband and I are apparently quite recognizable when we're out and about in the city. Just last Saturday, while on a ride along the seawall to take out cat to the vet, we bumped into several people who recognized us from Twitter or the blog. It's always amusing when we're travelling along, and suddenly hear someone call out "Hey, Bruntletts!" More often than not, we've never met this person face to face before, and almost every time we end up having a spirited conversation about something bike related we've recently discussed online, the latest Whitecaps results (many of our followers are fellow Southsiders), or even the odd compliment regarding my recent piece in Momentum Magazine. I can't help but find this new way of meeting people rather fun and exciting, because each person has brought with them some new experiences and taught me a thing or two about their own lives.
While I'm no stranger to the fact that some anonymity on social media is important for online safety, the surprising unintended effect of being as visible as I am is something I am welcoming. I have heard time and again from other adults that once you reach a certain age, and/or become a parent, it's really hard to meet like-minded people, and I would not disagree with that just from my own experiences. With the digital world, we now have access to a wide spectrum of possibilities, including connecting with people like us, or at least close to. So while I made the decision to express myself online in order to share my family's story to help others see what is possible as a car-free family, I am excited that in doing so I have managed to hear other people's stories and meet a few of them along the way!