In a Word: FriendshipThe camaraderie among those in the Flannel Friday community always astounds me. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or blog comments, so many of the members are ready and willing to offer help, support, and ideas.
Professionally, knowing that I have such a vast network of librarians and early childhood workers with all kinds of experiences to draw upon is incredible. My staff here is very supportive of all the crazy things I do, but we each have our own duties to deal with. So while they are ready and willing to accept delegated tasks, or assist me with programs, I'm still the one using all my creative energy to come with with the ideas. After awhile, even finding a few, simple storytime extension activities started to feel overwhelming. Flannel Friday came into my life at just the right moment, when the excitement and newness of a position was wearing off and the daunting reality of coming up with all that content by myself threatened my confidence. Now I have Kay and Katie, Pinterest and lots of other blogs to check for ideas.
(Gonna get sappy here now, folks!) Personally, Flannel Friday has given me a tribe (see here and here). Future Librarian Superhero Anna and I were able to meet in person at our state's conference this year after a job move put her in the same metro area. Anne at So Tomorrow has been giving me first-time mom advice to pass along to my (currently pregnant! yay!) sister via Twitter. Kendra (Read Sing Play) and Mel (Mel's Desk) give me recipes, interpersonal relationship advice, and Sharon (Rain Makes Applesauce) is a great cheerleader. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm the kind of person who has friends, family, and acquaintances from different pieces of my lives scattered all over the country, but very few actually where I live now. Having such an active group of ladies on Twitter has helped meet my needs for friendship in a different way. Nothing substitutes with good, old-fashioned, face-to-face communication, but owning and recognizing my tribe gives me a place to belong. On days when I'm just not feeling my best, I know that I can count on my Flannel Friends to support me.
Friendship, in the US for sure, can be an imprecise, imperfect term. Some people use it for every person they meet. Others only for those they count as their closest confidants. Is is possible (or necessary) to differentiate between "online" friends and those we know "in real life?" Google "friendship in the digital age" and you get more than 3 million results. Is someone whom you know IRL more a friend than someone you interact with only online, even if you only see that person IRL once or twice a year or less? Beyond being a great resource, and source of personal support, being a part of this online community has really made me think in the last two years about what defines "community" and "friend," and how collaboration really works. I can't wait to see how Flannel Friday evolves and grows over the next two years, and beyond!
This week's round up is hosted by Sharon at Rain Makes Applesauce. We're in the process of building a map of Flannel Friday bloggers and readers to unveil NEXT WEEK! Add your info via this survey so we can build and connect with those in our areas! As always, check the Flannel Friday website, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts for more information and past Flannel Friday creations.