Web ideal venue for making connections

Steve Gammill
Steve Gammill

Don’t you just hate the Web? Well, no, as a matter of fact, I don’t hate the Web. I’m loving it more and more all the time even though it can frustrate the devil out of me when it doesn’t do what I want it to and won’t tell me why.

I recently read an article — on the Web, of course — by Seth Godin, an author and blogger. If you haven’t read Godin before, you should. You can follow him online at www.sethgodin.typepad.com.

Anyway, Godin titled this particular article “Unlimited Mileage.” He wrote: “When you rent a car with unlimited mileage and a full tank of gas, how far are you willing to go? You’re only limited by desire and time.

“The Web feels that way to me. You can share as many secrets, ask as many questions, write as many blog posts as you can dream up. You can invest the time and energy to connect with as many people as you have something to offer. … The opportunities for generous sharing and connection are unlimited by anyone (except us).”

This has been my take on the Web for quite some time now.

I even presented a 30-minute talk last year on the subject. It’s amazing the adventures you can experience and, believe it or not, the new friends you can make on the Web.

The most recent example for me occurred a couple of weeks ago when I discovered I was going  to teach a six-week course on charitable giving.

Teaching the legal and technical aspects of charitable giving isn’t much of a problem. I’ve been doing that for some years now. But, if a class is to be inviting, if it’s going to help people learn why they might want to engage in charitable giving, that’s a completely different story. That, I’ve learned, is almost entirely about the heart. The tax advantages attributed to charitable giving only appeal to some. So how do you reach the heart and help folks realize they really do, deep down, want to financially help others?

I’ve learned a few techniques I’ve used in the past with some moderate success and plan to use them again now. But as I was searching for something else on the Web, I ran across an advisor who specializes in counseling extremely wealthy families on giving. If his skills involve speaking well with and to wealthy folks, I reasoned he certainly has some inkling on reaching people with less than extreme wealth. So, I logged on to his blog, told him what I was doing and asked if he had any helpful thoughts.

He responded immediately with some insightful ideas and apparently genuine interest in me and my little project. He gave me a list of books, one authored by him, he suggested I check out. He ended by asking me to keep him posted as to my work. Since then, we’ve exchanged a couple of e-mails. I feel like I’ve found a new colleague.

That isn’t the only example I could describe that has involved finding new friends and colleagues and other people of interest with which to communicate on the Web. Like Godin wrote, the opportunities for connections are limited only by ourselves.

It’s been a pretty long time now since I looked at the Internet as the enemy of our society and children.